ORANGE, Texas (AP) — A weaker Harvey replicated its devastating roll Wednesday, returning to shore with a deluge of rain that inundated homes and highways and left police and government officials struggling to pluck people from the water.
The Texas-Louisiana border bore the brunt of Harvey’s second coming, this time as a tropical storm before it was downgraded Wednesday night to a tropical depression. It caused a repeat of the flooding endured by Houston, its suburbs and nearby beach towns when it made first landfall last week as a Category 4 hurricane before meandering back to the Gulf of Mexico. It has dumped up to 50 inches of rain in spots, leaving more than 20 dead.
But as Houston got its first glimpses of sunlight in days, areas to the east that had already seen rain were waking up to even more — and to waterlogged homes.
Orange, Texas, resident Mike Henry said he went to bed Tuesday with water only in his yard. He woke up to rain falling so hard it sounded like a “power washer.” And then it quickly started seeping into his house.
“I kept marking it on the wall, every 15 minutes,” Henry said. It leveled off at 1 foot (30 cm).
A neighbor delivered him, his longtime girlfriend, Rose Marie Carpenter, and her dog, Maggie May, to dry ground — first in a truck, and then in a boat. They were trying to figure out what to do next as they waited along Interstate 10, where ambulances were taking the medically fragile to Louisiana. But many on the freeway didn’t want to head there because they wouldn’t take dogs. Carpenter uses a wheelchair, and Henry said he wasn’t sure where they would go.
Some motorists were stranded along elevated I-10 for nearly 24 hours after they pulled off the freeway, but couldn’t re-enter when the ramps flooded. In Orange, more than two dozen vehicles —including a news truck — clustered around a closed convenience store when they could not return to the freeway.
Erin Gaudet of nearby Beaumont, Texas, said she went home to pick up her kitten, then they spent the night in her SUV. She said she plans to name the kitten Harvey.
Police in Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, were recruiting anyone with boats to help check neighborhoods for potential rescues, with one meeting point for available vessels at a Walmart. Authorities said that instead of calling 911, many people were trying to seek help via social media, adding to the chaos.
But Anna McKay, of Orange, said she tried calling 911 for help, and nobody answered. Neighbors helped…