Harvey sets new continental US rainfall record

More than 50 inches reported in SE Texas

HOUSTON - Harvey has gained a bit of strength Tuesday but stayed a tropical storm. Its winds increased from 45 mph.

Forecasters said heavy rains are continuing to spread over southeastern Texas and southern Louisiana.

The rains in Cedar Bayou, near Mont Belvieu, Texas, reached 51.88 inches as of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. That's a record for both Texas and the continental United States but it doesn't quite pass the 52 inches from tropical cyclone Hiki in Kauai, Hawaii, in 1950 (before Hawaii became a state).

The rain has left numerous communities vulnerable.

RELATED: Donations, volunteer efforts: How you can help victims of Hurricane Harvey

An official says that a levee protecting a subdivision of homes in a county south of Houston has been fortified after being breached but warns the threat is far from over.

Brazoria County spokeswoman Sharon Trower said Tuesday afternoon that the levee had been fortified. Earlier in the day the county had posted on Twitter: "NOTICE: The levee at Columbia Lakes has been breached!! GET OUT NOW!!"

MORE: Houston teams and athletes step up for hurricane relief

She said that some water did get through but it wasn't substantial. She warns that authorities don't know how long the fortification will hold. She also notes the breach happened due to rainwater but that the nearby Brazos River continues to spill out of its banks.

The mandatory evacuation ordered Sunday morning still stands.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.