Thousands rescued from flooded homes, autos
Evacuees must now turn to rebuilding
By Gilbert Hoffman
Harris County and much of Southeast Texas is trying to recover from the most horrendous hurricane and subsequent flooding in the state’s history.
Hurricane Harvey approached the Texas coast slowly the last week of August, and then on Saturday September 2nd torrential rains started and continued for two days. After that, the fun-off and release of damed water brought severe flooding to a number of Houston and Harris County neighborhoods.
The total numbers are staggering, if not complete. The deaths from the floods are now above 40, and the total number of houses affected by flood water will exceed 100,000. Mayor Sylvester Turner said that about 5% of the houses and Houston have been damaged by high water. Another major casualty is vehicles that were stranded in the water as it rose quickly, and this number is estimated to be above 80,000.
Total rainfall for the last week is above 50 inches in most areas of Harris County and southeast Texas.
First responders, such as the Houston police and fire departments, and Harris County Sheriff’s office, have made over 1000 deep water rescues, and a total of over 6000 responses to all types of calls.
It is reported that as resources came into the city from other parts of Texas and the nation, the number of Coast Guard helicopters involved in rescues was 22, airplanes 3, and boats 28. In addition, Governor Abbott declared a state of emergency in 11 counties, and later added more.
The hurricane first made landfall at the city of Rockport, some 150 miles west of Houston. It then proceeded on to Victoria, and then returned south, heading up the coast to Houston, and eventually Baytown, Beaumont, and Arkansas. Reports from Rockport were of heavy structure damage, with tornadoes accompanying the hurricane along its path.
The governor also sent Task Force 1 and 2, specialized military units trained in storm rescues. One of these went to San Antonio, and the other was housed at NRG stadium in Houston, with a number of high water vehicles and boats.