Hurricane Harvey has claimed 11 lives.
They include six members of the same family who drowned in their van as they tried to escape the rising water.
Five casualties were reported on Sunday.
President Donald Trump has however lauded state and federal officials for their response to Harvey this afternoon during his first of several stops in storm-stricken Texas.
The U.S. president said it was too early for “congratulations” be passed around – “we’ll congratulate each other when it’s all finished,” he said – but he told Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott that he has “been terrific” in the face of historic floods and he hopes the joint efforts will become example of how to manage a storm.
“We want to do it better than ever before. We want to be looked at in five years, in ten years from now as, this is the way to do it,” Trump told Abbott during a Corpus Christi briefing. “This was of epic proportion. Nobody’s ever seen anything like this.”
The president and first lady arrived in Corpus Christi earlier this afternoon on the first leg of their trip to survey the storm-ravaged Gulf and meet with relief providers.
They deplaned Air Force One at 11:30 am local time with an entourage that included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon.
They are expected to fly to Austin for further assessment before their return to Washington.
The death toll is likely to grow higher as the flood water recedes but emergency services, already pushed to their limit with the scores of people still awaiting rescue, have so far been unable to devote time to recovering victims’ bodies.
On Tuesday afternoon, 17,000 people were taking refuge in shelters across the state as hundreds more were rescued from rising flood waters.
Forecasters say up to 20 inches of additional rain could fall on parts of Texas and Louisiana by Thursday
About 2,000 people had been brought to safety with more still in need of help.
Yet even with several deaths attributed to the storm, the full toll of Harvey’s destruction remained unclear in Houston and across Texas and Louisiana, with officials warning that the flooding would linger and saying more than 30,000 people would be forced from their homes
“We are not out of the woods yet,” Elaine Duke, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said during a Monday morning briefing in Washington. “Harvey is still a dangerous and historic storm.
Fears also grew beyond Texas, where the floodwater pounding this city and others was measured in feet, not inches.
An unprecedented 50 inches of rain is due to fall on Texas by Thursday, crippling cities including Houston which is now, in parts, almost underwater.
The hurricane was reduced to a tropical storm on Sunday but the destruction it is causing is still beyond anything the state has ever seen before, with some authorities referring to it as the largest flooding event in US history.
The end is not yet in sight and flood levels continue to rise as the US Army Corps of Engineers pumps water out of two major dams on the outskirts of Houston before they overflow.
Louisiana, which took years to recover from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is on high alert as the storm barrels towards it, bringing with thrashing rain.
After wreaking havoc in Texas where thousands are now homeless, the tropical storm is set to continue off the coast for another two days before it peaks on Thursday.