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Houston opens more shelters as evacuees pour in

Abbott interview
Gov. Abbott: Scope of demand for shelter in Houston was "unanticipated" 06:54

Two more shelters were cleared to open Tuesday in Houston as the George R. Brown Convention Center reached nearly double its capacity, Gov. Greg Abbott told CBS News.

Abbott said the Toyota Center -- located just one block from the George R. Brown Convention Center -- and the NRG Center, also known as the Astrodome, were given the go-ahead to take in evacuees. 

"We don't know how large it will grow, but we are prepared to provide all of the accommodation that is needed," Abbott told CBS News' Elaine Quijano.

The NRG Center opened Tuesday night. At least 10 buses pulled up just before midnight. Those in wheelchairs entered first, followed by the first of what officials said could be up to 2,000 people by sunrise Wednesday. The evacuees brought to the NRG Center came from other parts of the metro area than the ones in the convention center.

The Toyota Center opened, as well.

Abbott said the accommodations were not open right away because he "would assume" the need wasn't anticipated, as the storm grew faster than expected.

The official capacity of the George R. Brown Convention Center is 5,000, but more than 9,000 evacuees were there Tuesday night.

Houston shelters overcrowded 03:23

The number of evacuees is expected to rise with the town of Dickinson issuing a mandatory evacuation order Monday afternoon. Officials from Brazoria County, to the south and southwest of Houston city center, also told residents near Columbia Lakes to leave immediately on Tuesday morning because a levee had been breached.

As for relief from the federal government, Abbott said he hopes to work with Congress.

"We've seen the help that has come after Katrina, after Sandy, after other, immense tragedies like that -- and so, there is the hope that we will see similar relief because we need to understand the magnitude of what has happened," Abbott said.

Abbott defended the elected officials from Texas who voted against relief for Superstorm Sandy, saying their state delegation will be "very strongly supportive" in voting for relief, but said they would avoid any "pork-barrel spending."

In a press conference Tuesday, Texas Sen. John Cornyn defended his vote against the Superstom Sandy relief, saying "the reason I voted against larger bill is because it included things that weren't Sandy-related. Supplemental appropriations are exception."

Cornyn also said President Trump called him and offered "whatever you need, whatever state of Texas needs, we're here."

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