(Mark Ralston/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

Houston, Texas, got a bit of a break from the relentless rain brought by Hurricane Harvey, with only two to three additional inches expected in the Houston area on Tuesday.

But two dams protecting the city and a levee in a suburb began overflowing Tuesday, adding to the rising floodwaters from Harvey that have crippled the city after five days of rain.

Harvey is the fiercest hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans 12 years ago this week. On Tuesday, it was drifting over the Gulf of Mexico but was expected to turn back onto land Wednesday morning, probably in southwestern Louisiana. The storm could creep eastward as far as Mississippi by Thursday, which means that New Orleans is in Harvey’s path.

Harvey has dumped at least 30 inches of rain on Houston and the surrounding area, with about 20 inches expected in the next few days.

More than 17,000 people have fled their homes and have gathered in several dozen shelters, the American Red Cross said. That number is expected to grow as police continue rescues.

People who fled their homes in carry their belongings outside of Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, where more than 9,000 people have taken shelter. (Nick Oxford/Reuters)

— Associated Press