Curfew will exclude emergency responders, those seeking shelter
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner imposed a citywide curfew late Tuesday to prevent looting from homes evacuated amid rising floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.
"There are too many people from across our city, too many residents, that are out of their homes and they are in shelters," Turner announced at a press conference. "I don't want them to have to worry about someone breaking into their home or looting or doing anything of that nature while they are away."
Houston has been crippled by five consecutive days of rain from Hurricane Harvey, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane late Friday.
But the effects of widespread flooding prompted by nearly 50 inches (1.27 meters) of rainfall have overburdened search and rescue efforts.
Turner said the curfew will start at midnight and end at 5 in the morning with exceptions for flood relief volunteers, emergency responders, those commuting to work and those seeking shelter.
He first announced that it would begin at 10 p.m. [0200GMT] but subsequently said on Twitter that it would start later "to allow volunteers and others to do their great work."
"Quite frankly, no one needs to be on the road or out (before) 5," Turner added. "Curfew in force only to prevent potential criminal acts."
According to federal and local officials, more than 13,000 people have been rescued from floodwaters in the Houston area and transferred to surrounding cities and counties.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said his state is ready to take in and host hurricane victims after he was criticized on social media for not acting to help families displaced by the storm.
At least six people died due to the storm, which broke a state record for a tropical storm with 49.3 inches (1.25 meters) of rain dumped in an area just southeast of Houston. Nearly 9,000 residents filled shelters around the city.