Lindsay Wilson of Hawkins posted the following on her Facebook page Monday afternoon at 3:45pm: “The flooding in Houston area is no joke. People are drowning. We can’t get there quick enough to help. Jay, Kaci, Blake,& myself are in route. Brent Ellison & Joey Barber are going to be with us as well. We are about an hour away. Please say a prayer. We have a boat & supplies. Many thanks to everyone who brought items to JRW Trucking, and Century 21 First Group. We are taking blankets, formula, toiletries, clothing, water, and more. We fueled up at Flint Brookshires in route. They were able to donate some items as well. It’s heart wrenching knowing there are people in desperate need of help. We pray we’re able to help and rescue as many people as we possibly can! If you know of anyone needing assistance please call or message us.”
It was posted on Social Media that Houston officials were asking anyone with a boat or means to help evacuate flood victims go to Houston to assist in rescue efforts. Linda Baggett of Big Sandy reported seeing rescue vehicles and boats with markings from Miami-Dade, Florida on I-20. Others posted relief efforts from collecting donations to donating money to relief efforts.
Tropical Storm Harvey strengthened into a category 4 hurricane before making landfall northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, around 9:45 p.m. on Friday. Winds of 130 miles per hour beat the coast line before it moved offshore before making landfall again on the shore of Copano Bay as a Category 3 hurricane.
Patrick Rios, a senior city councilor and Mayor Pro Tem in Rockport, said “All the advice we can give is get out. Get out now.” “Those that are going to stay, it’s unfortunate but they should make some type of preparations. Mark their arm with a Sharpie pen. Put their Social Security number on it and their name.”
Along with the 130 mile per hour winds, it brought devastating amounts of rainfall as it stretched along the state’s Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi to Houston, and inland to Austin and San Antonio and into parts of Louisiana. The storm stalled over Houston dumping more than 20 inches of rain and flooding much of the fourth-largest city in the United States. With much of Houston, an area larger than the state of Delaware, already under water, the rain fall promised in the next few days will likely result in more flooding.
At least five people have been killed and dozens injured. Unlike many other cities in the hurricane’s path, Houston did not order mandatory evacuations before the storm, and countless residents were trapped in flooding homes. Houston Residents speculate that the disaster would have been worse if a mandatory evacuation was ordered, as it was in 2005 when the evacuation ordered in preparation for Hurricane Rita where dozens died in the heat and traffic. “You literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road,” Houston’s Mayor Turner said Sunday, explaining his decision not to call for evacuations. “If you think the situation right now is bad, you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare.” The city is focusing on “critical” rescues and advising everyone to remain off the roads.
Chief Art Acevedo of the Houston Police Department warned residents not to take shelter in their attics “unless you have an ax or means to break through onto your roof.” Emergency responders were quickly overwhelmed with calls for rescue. When people couldn’t get through to 911 for help, they turned to social media.
The Houston Police Department tweeted that people should not seek help by directing Twitter posts to the department’s accounts. “If you have a life-threatening emergency, 911 is the best way to capture your request and make sure it is properly dispatched,” the department said.
Friday, August 25th, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted Governor Greg Abbott’s Request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration in response to Hurricane Harvey.
Saturday, August 26th, Governor Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott visited with Texans and helped serve dinner to those seeking refuge from Hurricane Harvey at a Red Cross Shelter in Austin, Texas.
As of Sunday, August 27th, Governor Greg Abbott has expanded his State Disaster Declaration for damage caused by Hurricane Harvey to include 54 counties and US Coast Guard air and ground teams had rescued more than 1450 people.
If you’d like to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, there are several local, regional and national organizations coordinating rescue and relief efforts including the Red Cross, Church Organizations and even businesses like Camping World who are accepting goods and monetary donations with the ability to match funds up to millions of dollars.