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After call from Houston coach, Marquette basketball team sends shoes, gear to Texas

HOUSTON -- Marquette University Athletics officials are donating shoes and shirts from the school to the victims of Tropical Storm Harvey. This, after the University of Houston's basketball coach reached out to fellow coaches with the idea.

"It's something when you watch the news, and you see what's going on in the city of Houston and the devastation, you want to help out, but you don't always know how. This gave us the opportunity for our program to get involved and to do something to help the people in Houston who are going through so much," Wojciechowski said.

Coach Sampson's tweet has gone viral. It's been re-tweeted more than 5,000 times -- and teams from across the country are sending items.

Houston officials planned to open more mega-shelters to accommodate people who continued to arrive at the overflowing George R. Brown Convention Center seeking refuge from Harvey's record-breaking flooding, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday.

The center already held more than 9,000 people, almost twice the number officials originally planned to house there, Turner said.

"We are not turning anyone away. But it does mean we need to expand our capabilities and our capacity," Turner said. "Relief is coming."

More than 17,000 people have sought refuge in Texas shelters and that number seemed certain to increase, the American Red Cross said.

The mayor said the city has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for more supplies, including cots and food, for additional 10,000 people, which he hopes to get no later than Wednesday.

President Donald Trump visited Texas on Tuesday, and the White House said his stops in Corpus Christi and Austin were meant to highlight coordination at all levels of government and lay the groundwork for what is expected to be a lengthy recovery after the storm.

On Tuesday, the storm continued to take a toll even as the weather outlook improved slightly.

A pair of 70-year-old reservoir dams that protect downtown Houston and a levee in a suburban subdivision began overflowing Tuesday, adding to the rising floodwaters from Harvey that have crippled the area after five consecutive days of rain that set a new continental U.S. record for rainfall for a tropical system.

A weather station southeast of Houston reported 49.32 inches of rain as of Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. That breaks the previous record of 48 inches set in 1978 in Medina, Texas, by Tropical Storm Amelia.

Already 14 sites in Houston have recorded more than 40 inches of rain and 36 different locations have recorded more than 3 feet.

Although forecasters had feared that another 2 feet could fall in some places, it appeared that the outlook had improved somewhat on Tuesday. The weather service said the amount of rain falling in the Houston area would be 2 to 3 inches, perhaps a little less in Houston proper, as the storm moved east.

But southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana still would see "relentless torrential rains," with another 6 to 12 inches of rain across the upper Texas coast through Friday as Harvey continues to move slowly east over the Gulf of Mexico maintaining tropical storm force winds of 45 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

It is expected to make landfall again Wednesday morning, probably in southwestern Louisiana

Calls for rescue have so overwhelmed emergency teams that they have had little time to search for bodies. And officials acknowledge that fatalities from Harvey could soar once the floodwaters start to recede from one of America's most sprawling metropolitan centers.

More than four days after the storm ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane, authorities had confirmed only three deaths — including a woman killed Monday when heavy rains dislodged a large oak tree onto her trailer home in the small town of Porter. But unconfirmed reports of others missing or presumed dead were growing.

The disaster is unfolding on an epic scale, with the nation's fourth-largest city mostly paralyzed by the storm that arrived as a Category 4 hurricane and then parked over the Gulf Coast. The Houston metro area covers about 10,000 square miles (25,900 square kilometers), an area slightly bigger than New Jersey.

Harvey kept drenching Houston and the surrounding area. Rain fell Tuesday at about half an inch (1 centimeter) per hour over Harris County — home to Houston — and up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) per hour to the east.

Forecasters expect the storm to linger over the Gulf before heading back inland east of Houston sometime Wednesday. The system will then head north and lose its tropical strength.

It could creep as far east as Mississippi by Thursday, meaning New Orleans, where Hurricane Katrina unleashed its full wrath in 2005, is in Harvey's path. Foreboding images of Harvey lit up weather radar screens early Tuesday, the 12th anniversary of the day Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish.