Wednesday, August 30, 2017

'Your House Is Gone': Rockport Residents Survey Massive Damage from Harvey

Sean Breslin
Published: August 29,2017

Evacuees trickled back into Texas coastal towns Tuesday to survey the damage, and as they saw the remains of their damaged homes, it was too much for some to handle.
"Our neighbor called and he said, 'Christina, have you heard?' I said 'no.' He said, 'your house is gone,'" an emotional Christina Urdiales told ABC News as she cleaned up the remains of her destroyed home in Rockport, Texas.
Up and down the coast, the story was much the same. Residents compared what they saw to bomb blasts and worked to salvage whatever was still in one piece.
"I told [our 6-year-old son] that when we tell the people to build the next one, it will be as strong as his muscles," Christina Jellison, who lives in Austin full-time but lost her family's vacation home to the storm, told ABC News.

A damaged car sits outside a heavily damaged apartment complex in Rockport, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey struck the area, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017.
(Courtney Sacco/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

Thousands across the region remain without power. American Electric Power Texas told KIII-TV Sunday 95 percent of residents without power in Corpus Christi and the Sinton area will have power restored by Wednesday, although they caution that it might take longer in some areas. The company could not offer ETAs for power restoration for customers in the hardest hit areas of Rockport, Port Aransas, Fulton, Woodsboro, Port Lavaca, Lamar and Bayside.
In the town of Rockport, entire blocks are wiped out and crews are struggling to get in to search for those missing. Volunteer groups, churches and other organizations have begun mobilizing to help the victims and clear debris from littered roadways.
"It was dangerous," Rockport resident Ruben Nino, who rode out the storm with his family, told NPR. "There's sheet rock and glass breaking and all kinds of stuff. We survived in a little closet with four people until we called 911. And they came and rescued us. There was a lot of screaming and praying to Jesus and stuff like that."
The only known fatality along the coast occurred after a man was trapped inside a home that caught fire, Aransas County Judge C.H. "Burt" Mills, Jr. told the Associated Press.

(FORECAST: Harvey's Flood Threat to Continue For Days)
The storm has contributed to at least six deaths in addition to the one in Rockport. A woman died in Mongomery County Monday after a tree collapsed on top of her home while she slept, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.
City Manager Kevin Carruth told KIII the courthouse was hard-hit, with a cargo trailer ending up halfway in the building. He said several people were taken to a makeshift hospital at the county jail for treatment after the roof of a senior housing complex collapsed.
Mills told the AP that no fewer than 35 vehicles in the city's emergency vehicle fleet are now out of action due to broken windows and windshields.
A group of storm chasers who took shelter in Rockport reported one of the walls collapsing at their hotel, KIII reported, and the gym at Rockport Fulton High School is missing entire walls. The storm twisted the steel door frame of its auditorium and blew out windows all over campus.
Emergency and disaster relief crews from as far away as North Carolina and New York have arrived to help, according to the AP.

'Extreme' Damage Hampering Recovery Efforts in Port Aransas 

Port Aransas City Manager David Parsons said Sunday that most of the structures in the island city are compromised to some level, according to a release obtained by KIII.
"Some extreme. Some only shingles or siding or windows," Parsons said. "Others, like my home, suffered severe damage."
He added that cellphone service had been compromised and satellite phones have been hard to come by, causing a delay in updates, KIII reports. The town was hit very hard and crews are working to repair numerous gas leaks and clear debris from roads.
"Please be patient and know our primary objective is to at least get folks back in here to check on their homes," said Parsons. "We are trying our best. Many local and state resources are pouring in. We have a massive police presence patrolling your homes and businesses.
"I will try and get more information out as it comes in. We'll get through this. We all have a long road ahead of us, but I know this community has the the guts," he added.
Mayor Charles Bujan said Saturday afternoon that no injuries or fatalities had been found in Port Aransas.

'Devastating' Impact on Victoria, Texas

"At least God let us live, that's the important part," resident Delia Garza told the Victoria Advocate.
Garza, who lived in a trailer with her niece and her 6-year-old daughter weathered the storm in her father's home across the street. Sunday the family picked through the debris of trailers owned by Garza and her sister.
"My sister was looking out the door and watched her trailer get torn apart," she told the Advocate.

Corpus Christi Mostly Dodges Harvey Impacts

Corpus Christi International Airport reopened Monday, resuming service to and from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, according to the terminal's Facebook page. The airport sustained only minor damage during the storm.
Sunday, city officials said evacuees may return but they warned that there is a water boil advisory in place and that wastewater usage is limited due to outages at a treatment plant.
Even before Harvey made landfall late Friday, dozens of oil and gas platforms had been evacuated, at least three refineries had closed and at least two petrochemical plants had suspended operations.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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