Water rescues are underway at two senior care facilities in Port Arthur – Cypress Glen and Lake Arthur Place – that took in water overnight.
Earlier Wednesday the nursing home posted on Facebook that residents were trapped as the buildings were "inaccessible."
"No one can get in and no one can get out," a staff member at Lake Arthur Place told weather.com. "We can't see the fire hydrants, and we can barely see our sign."
Video from KFDM Wednesday afternoon showed water at least ankle-deep in one of the homes, with residents standing or sitting in wheelchairs partially submerged but also showed residents being loaded into boats.
Senior Care Centers, which manages both of the homes, announced via Facebook that they are still in the process of evacuating patients and residents with help from the Coast Guard and other organizations.
The City of Port Arthur tweeted a plea for boats to help with evacuations Wednesday morning and followed up with another message asking those who needed rescue to "display a white towel, sheet, shirt or anything to let volunteer rescuers know."
"We need to get them out of here," a worker at Lake Arthur Place told KFDM.com. "They need health care. ... We don't have much food. We've got water but we need the right foods to feed them and medication administration."
Water started entering a shelter at the Bob Bower Civic Center Wednesday morning. Pictures posted on social media showed floodwaters surrounding sleeping evacuees. Cots and other emergency supplies bobbed in the water-logged Civic Center floor. Evacuees fled to the bleachers in the Civic Center to escape the water, 12News reported.
The evacuees are reportedly going to be evacuated to the Carl Parker Center about five miles south of the Civic Center. But as of Wednesday morning, the Carl Parker Center was not yet ready to receive an influx of evacuees. According to the Port Arthur Police, there are "no supplies at the facility at this time."
KHOU.com said the water started entering the Bower Civic Center shelter at around 8 p.m. local time and it took just 20 minutes for water to rise high enough in the civic center to flood the floor.
Harvey battered Port Arthur Tuesday, dumping more than 26 inches of rain in 24 hours, an all-time daily record for rainfall. More than three and a half feet of rain has fallen on Port Arthur since Saturday.
Widespread, disastrous flooding is ongoing in Port Arthur and nearby Beaumont.
The largest oil refinery in the country, located in Port Arthur, began operations to shut down on Wednesday "in response to increasing local flood conditions," CNN reported. Parent company Motiva had been steadily reducing production at the plant for days. Late Tuesday it was running at only 40 percent capacity.
"Our whole city is underwater right now," Port Arthur Mayor Derrick Freeman said. Freeman urged residents to get to higher ground and stay out of attics while emergency officials struggled to reach them.
Jefferson County Sherriff Zena Stephens told KFDM that they couldn't get into Port Arthur to rescue people due to the severity of the flooding.
Numerous house fires were reported, feet of water was entering homes and most roads were "impassable," according to the Jefferson County Sherriff's Department.
Emergency officials were so overloaded with 911 calls that the Jefferson County Emergency Management Office said they couldn't answer them all.
The EOM said they had to suspend water rescue operations until daylight, even while water continued to rise.
Jefferson County Commissioner and Port Arthur representative Michael Sinegal told KFDM that with so many residents in need of rescue and emergency responders overloaded, residents were entering "survival mode."
"We need boats. We need whatever it takes," Sinegal told the station. "I think we need to get into a crisis mode here and if we have to go get people at night, we got to go get people at night. I don't know how. We need air boats. We need any type of boat we can get and get people out of their house."
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