Harvey's Aftereffects Continue To Pelt Texas And Take Aim At Louisiana

Aug 29, 2017
Originally published on August 29, 2017 9:25 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene in Houston, Texas, where this weather event has this city - and really an entire region - in crisis right now. Tropical Storm Harvey has edged back over the Gulf of Mexico. But it is dragging in moisture, so there has been even more rain here in Houston and the surrounding areas. That is expected to last through the middle of the week, and the storm now could have its sights set on Louisiana, bringing floodwaters with it.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced so far. And we've seen these rescues - helicopters plucking people from rooftops, fishing boats grabbing families from in front of and on top of their homes. And of course later in the day, Ailsa, we're expecting President Trump to fly into the region to take a look at the damage himself.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

That's right. The federal government has sent in almost 8,500 workers to assist with rescue and relief throughout Texas and Louisiana. Just ahead, we're going to hear about the situation in Lake Charles, La. But David, you've been in Houston, and it sounds like it just has not let up at all there.

GREENE: Not at all. I mean, the rain just keeps coming. It fell all night and into this morning, and they say there could be an additional 10 or maybe even 20 inches of rain...

CHANG: Wow.

GREENE: ...Through the end of Wednesday. Right now, about 100,000 people are without electricity. The death toll is unclear, and agencies have been overwhelmed responding to, you know, the immediate needs.

CHANG: Yeah. Where exactly are you right now?

GREENE: Well, we're in north Houston. We're along a street that runs under the interstate, under Interstate 45. There are a couple hotels here. A few people have tried to walk along that street to reach the only restaurant we hear is open. And they've - you just see them wading in this waist-deep water holding the food they've purchased above their heads to try and make it. And there's also this single white car submerged in the water on the street. The driver, he escaped yesterday and made his way to the hotel.

And really, this hotel has become, I would say, an evacuation center. But it's for people who are lucky enough to get here and afford a room.

CHANG: Right.

GREENE: They might have the money, or maybe family will help them. And people were just milling about the lobby, smoking cigarettes outside, waiting to see how high the water's going to come up in the parking lot.

CAROLYN WILSON: We're a little bit worried. But we're on the third floor, so at least we're dry.

GREENE: That's one of the people here. It's Carolyn Wilson (ph). She came here with her daughter, her three cats and also her dog.

WILSON: It was, like, 9. And a friend of my daughter's called us and she said, you need to get up and look outside. And I really thought my car was flooded when I went out. And I got in and hit the gas and the brake at the same time, and it started. I was able to drive my car through the water somehow. I don't know how (laughter). A hand of God was on it.

GREENE: So she gathered up her four pets, her bag of possessions, made her way to this hotel. And we also met someone else, Ailsa, a 21-year-old named Jared Combs (ph). And we were talking to him in the lobby between all these flash flood alerts. And he was told, you know, that - to evacuate by some people. It was very confusing. He was waiting out the storm until the Army Corps of Engineers decided to release water from one of these reservoirs. And that's when his house just began to flood. He got out. He said just a neighbor came, got him into a boat, delivered him to a drugstore that was on higher ground. A stranger in a truck got him to this hotel. And, you know, he told me, Ailsa, he still regrets not asking for the name of the guy who helped him in that truck, which is something he was really sad about.

CHANG: Yeah.

GREENE: So we're really just waiting it out - things in this hotel together.

CHANG: All right. Well, thank you so much, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.