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Floodwaters are receding, revealing the staggering breadth of destruction from Harvey. Close to 40,000 homes are heavily damaged, and 7,000 were destroyed, in the latest figures from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The mucking out has begun in Houston, even as rescuers continue a grim search for bodies inside cars and homes. More than $57 million in assistance has been paid out, said FEMA officials — the beginning of what will total billions in aid after the worst rainfall ever to hit the United States.

Here’s a guide to continuing and comprehensive coverage by Washington Post journalists — from Texas and Louisiana as the catastrophe unfolds and from Washington as President Trump faces his first major natural disaster. We’re also reporting on the economic and environmental impact and the deepening human misery.

The death toll from Harvey, which struck the Texas coastline Friday night as a Category 4, has risen to 42. One of those was a veteran Houston police officer who died on a flooded highway while trying to report for duty on Sunday. Another was a clockmaker, trying to save his clocks. Six relatives died in a van that plunged into a bayou. Two volunteer rescue workers drowned after carrying families to safety. Officials are scrambling to open shelters.  Food supplies are growing short.

“Unfathomable” rain

  • “Life-threatening flooding” will continue around Beaumont and Port Arthur, in eastern Texas, and Southern Louisiana for the rest of the week, warns the National Weather Service. Remnants of Harvey are lashing Kentucky, where flash food warnings have been issued.
  • Two new tropical storm systems are developing that threaten the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast.
  • The storm turned part of Interstate 10 into a roaring river — with whitecaps.
  • Another wet, dark night, another adrenaline-fueled rescue mission, this time in Port Arthur.

The latest

The images are indelible — and reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans 12 years ago this week. The Post is updating its photo galleries and graphics each day. 

In Washington

  • Vice President Pence visited Rockport Thursday, the coastal town decimated when Harvey roared ashore Friday as a Cat 4 hurricane. He stopped in a badly damaged church and hugged volunteers there.
  • His trip is a contrast to that of President Trump’s on Tuesday. In Austin and Corpus Christi, Trump praised the hurricane response in meetings with officials — and kept the focus on himself.
  • He tweeted that he saw the destruction “first-hand.” The White House now has redefined what first-hand means.
  • The president’s press secretary said Thursday he plans to donate $1 million of his own money for hurricane aid.
  • Trump may ask for billions in relief funds as soon as next week. That could test the principles of some Texas lawmakers who balked at paying Hurricane Sandy’s costs.
  • Our fact-checker on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and his opposition to the Hurricane Sandy relief bill.

Amid the misery, points of light — and lightness

  • Flooding trapped workers in a Mexican bakery for two days. They used the time to bake for Harvey victims.
  • My home town is not the kind of place that strangers immediately fall in love with. But I know its secret treasures. I know what is being lost under the rushing waters.” Staff writer Krissah Thompson writes a love letter to Houston.
  • “We’re all in the same boat here in Houston, regardless of who you are.” Former mayor Bill White welcomed Katrina evacuees to his city. This week he became a flood victim himself.
  • Play ball! The Astros return home to start a weekend series with a Saturday double-header. Mayor Sylvester Turner said the games would “provide a much-needed boost.”
  • A college admissions counselor belted out some gospel to cheer up residents of a shelter, and her praise music is a viral daily devotional.
  • What Harvey can’t stop: Babies who want to be born. An expectant father flagged down a dump truck, and neighbors formed a human chain to help his wife, in labor, through the floodwaters to catch a ride.

Moved to help? Here’s a link to several organizations and efforts.