Dramatic Houston, Texas rescues were underway as catastrophic floods hit the city due to Hurricane Harvey, which has now downgraded to a tropical storm. The dire nature at the scene was illustrated by trapped people climbing on rooftops to get help, turning to social media, and sharing shocking photos and videos.
Thankfully, that woman and her family were later rescued.
There were many, many such stories, though. Horrifically, one woman wrote on the Houston Emergency Management Facebook page, “My mom is 76 years old she is alone at home having a heart attack right now, I was told by 911 to put this post up on this site” and then provided her personal information. Similar posts flooded social media. A man wrote, “SOS in need of water boat rescue for Sagemont area elderly woman and daughter with grandchildren chest high water in home.”
Hundreds of people had been rescued. One man wrote, “My sister, Diana Battista NEEDS RESCUE!!! She is already on her kitchen table and water still rising!” including her phone number and address, but later wrote that the Coast Guard had airlifted her to safety. Others, though, were still in dire need of assistance. For example, one man wrote the following (it’s not yet clear whether some of the people have been rescued): “Jerry Sledge and family are trapped in their attic w a 2 year old child. Wife wears o2. House is flooded. 9345 Talton, 77078.”
A woman wrote on Facebook, “City of Houston Office of Emergency Management SOS!!! Please save families who are in attic and need immediate rescue! 9615 Cederhurst Houston 77096 also 4930 Loch Lamond 77096.”
People flooded the Houston Emergency Management Facebook page with pleas for help. “My father is 80 years old and our house is flooded. My son called to get fire & rescue dispatched to come get us. I’ve seen two police cars at the main intersection near our home, but they can’t get thru. We are by Hobby Airport. Do you know when airboats will be sent?” wrote one woman.
At the airport, though, runways were completely flooded.
It was so bad that Houston’s Emergency Management was seeking help from anyone with a high-water vehicle or boat.
The City of Houston Emergency Management advised, “The City’s 9-1-1 center is being inundated with calls. Please reserve calls to life/death emergencies only. If you are stranded in your vehicle due to rising flood water, get out and seek higher ground. If you can drive your vehicle to a safe, high, dry spot, please do so and wait it out. We know this is a tough situation. Please do not travel at this time.” However, people’s homes and apartments were also flooding.
One man, Aaron Herridge, pleaded for help for his parents. He wrote on Facebook on August 27: “My mom and stepdad remain unrescued. They have called all of the suggested phone numbers and were told 11 hours ago that they were listed for water rescue but the system is overwhelmed. My mom is trying to protect her cancer treatment feeding tube from contamination, but water in the house has gotten higher. Please pray, and if you know ANYONE with a boat, please send them to: 12323 Flushing Meadow Dr
Houston, TX 77089. The other side of their back fence is the baseball field for the Lutheran School at Dixie Farm Road and I-45 S. We urgently need a boat for them.”
Social media flooded with such calls for help.
A dramatic photo circulated of elderly people in a Dickinson, Texas nursing home sitting in chairs and wheelchairs with water up to their waists as they waited to be rescued. Dickinson is located about a half hour from Houston.
You can learn more about that rescue effort here.
In Houston, a truck driver was dramatically rescued from his cab.
Here’s important rescue information:
Others also posted that families were stuck on roofs. “Family stuck on roof in Meyerland area of Houston,” read one tweet. People who were in ill health were in particular danger. “My dad need to be rescued asap!! He’s sick & just had surgery, his cut can get contaminated,” a woman pleaded.
The KHOU-TV newsroom flooded.
Here’s another view:
The flooding was so bad that one man was videotaped catching fish in his submerged living room.
See up-to-the-minute information on Tropical Storm Harvey from the National Weather Service here.
Get the latest Houston/Galveston forecast information here from the National Weather Service, which wrote, “Catastrophic Flooding across Fort Bend, Harris, Brazoria and Galveston Counties. Life threatening conditions. Emergency services impacted. Water in homes.” Houston was bracing for as much as 50 inches of rain.
See updated radar for Houston/Galveston here.
This is how the radar looked just before 2 p.m. on August 27:
The local statement from the National Weather Service for Houston read, “A catastrophic and life-threatening flash flooding event is unfolding across Southeast Texas this morning. Many Flash Flood Emergencies have already been issued for the Houston Metro area overnight, some of which remain in effect this morning. Bands of heavy rainfall will continue to drop devastating amounts of ADDITIONAL rainfall across the area over the next several days. Tornadoes have also been occurring across Southeast Texas over the last day or so and will continue through the next several days. Coastal flooding may be an ongoing issue along the coast where winds will continue to push water onshore, particularly south of Sargent. Elevated tides will cause the recession of coastal flood waters to be slow, likely lasting into the first part of the week. Wind gusts to tropical storm force are still ongoing, primarily in the southwestern portions of the area towards Matagorda Bay. Though there are currently multiple hazards present across the area, the greatest threat to life and property remains the ongoing extreme rainfall and subsequent prolonged and catastrophic flash flooding.””
Unfortunately, the heavy rains are not expected to let up soon in Houston. See hourly forecasts for Houston here. Here’s the detailed upcoming forecast from the National Weather Service as of 2 p.m. on August 27.
There was a flash flood warning issued at 1:30 p.m. for Houston, Pasadena, and the Woodlands, TX, until evening. There were also flash flood warnings for Conroe, Galveston and Huntsville.
Major river flooding was forecast for Houston.
People were advised that it’s dangerous to drive through flood waters.
Updated rainfall totals on August 27 showed more than 20 inches of rain had already fallen in some areas.