Authorities have lifted an evacuation order for the area surrounding a once- burning chemical plant and a major fuel pipeline has reopened in signs that Texas was edging toward recovery from the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.
The storm dumped some 1.27 metres of rain on the low-lying Gulf coastal region after coming ashore on August 25, killing about 50 people and causing what the Texas governor said could be up to $180 billion (NZ$251) in damage.
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Flooding led to a series of fires at the Arkema SA chemical plant in Crosby, a town of about 2300 people some 40 km northeast of Houston. Containers of the chemicals, which are unstable if not kept refrigerated, started igniting on Thursday after power outages cut off cooling systems.
Local firefighters under the watch of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality performed a controlled burn of the organic peroxides on Sunday in order to eliminate any vestiges and reduce the danger.
On Monday, the company said the Crosby Fire Department had lifted an evacuation zone around the plant, allowing neighbours to return to their homes, and that the company had opened an assistance centre to help those affected find temporary housing.
Some 190,000 homes were damaged and another 13,500 were destroyed, the Texas Department of Public Safety said on Monday.
At least 33,000 people sought refuge in Texas shelters overnight, with another 1300 doing so in Louisiana, the American Red Cross said.