‘There could be snakes in there’: Port Aransas residents return to shattered, flooded town – World

Annetta Adams looks down from her second-floor stoop onto the destruction below. It looks as though the contents of her home on the Texas coast were churned by a giant washing machine. 

“It’s pretty heartbreaking to come home and find this,” she says, hands clasped, lips pursed.

Her family has lived in Port Aransas for five generations. Almost 150 years in this small community on Mustang Island, and they’ve never seen anything like this. She has lived through three hurricanes and Harvey, she says, has been the worst.

She points to a spot on the first floor wall where the water hit its high point.

“Up to my neck,” she says. She’s five feet nine inches tall. Her massive freezer floated through the water like a bathtub toy.

Swaths of homes have been reduced to carpets of wood. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“When you walk in and look at it, it was shocking, like how did that happen? The power of water is pretty amazing.”

Port Aransas, nearly 280 kilometres southeast of San Antonio, is near the spot Harvey made landfall as a hurricane late on Aug. 25.

Port Aransas police say eight in 10 homes and businesses on the island were damaged or destroyed. 

It may take weeks for these crews to restore electricity. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

Driving around the island of 3,500 residents, you get a true sense of the destruction.

On one block, a swath of homes has been reduced to a carpet of wood. The island is lined with downed poles. Workers on so-called “swamp machines” try to raise them one by one.

Weeks of work

They have weeks of work ahead of them to get all the power back. The sides of buildings are peeling off. Mobile homes have been disembowelled, their contents spilling into piles on the ground.

Some buildings look as though they’ve been squashed. A metal roof lies on the ground, folded like a napkin. 

A church looks untouched until you walk inside. Sunlight pours through a giant hole in the roof. The only congregants here: a pile of stuffed animals.

This Port Aransas church may look intact from the outside, but inside tells a different story. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

Down the street, a man tries to figure out how his trailer took off without him.

With “130-mile-an-hour winds, things are going to fly,” he says. “Unfortunately.”

David Iacono ascends the pile in search of anything that can still be saved, like his flag. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

David Iacono squelches through the mud towards what can only be described as a…

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