Texas governor, senator get up-close look at Harvey's destruction, promise help

People in Rockport, Texas, still reeling from Hurricane Harvey’s destruction, were greeted by Gov. Greg Abbott Monday afternoon. Abbott surveyed the damage in some of the town’s hardest hit areas along with Sen. John Cornyn, Rep. Blake Farenthold and FEMA Administrator Brock Long. 

“What this is, is like a series of one or two hundred tornadoes ripping through section after section,” Abbott said as he surveyed the damage. 

Abbott pointed out that while many buildings were crushed, others were spared. He said the winds, which topped 100 mph, caused major damage. 

Describing the houses and businesses that crumbled, Abbott said the wind “just mows it down like tinker toys.”

Cornyn met with a man whose roof was torn straight off his house.

“We have to help them out by providing the essential services food, water, sewage, electricity. And in the long run there’s going to be a lot of rebuilding that’s going to take some time,” said Cornyn. 

He also said he was grateful for first responders from states all over the country who volunteered to come to Texas and help them out. 

Abbott was presented with an American flag by a veteran who salvaged it during a lull in the storm. The flag was flying at City Hall, and despite one hole, was in pretty good shape. 

“That’s the American resilience. We can be knocked down but we’ll always get right back up and there’s no greater symbol of that than our American flag,” said Abbott, speaking about the many American flags that have been flown in the area.

Rockport is a beach and boat town with a marina, surf shop and palm trees. But as a result of Harvey, the community will now lose one of the most important and lucrative weekends of the year for a tourist destination, the Labor Day weekend. 

“It’s a tragedy for especially our small businesses. Especially in regions like this, money from tourists and people coming down here, visiting them and patronizing them. We just got to help them rebuild and reopen as soon as possible,” said Abbott. 

“My hope is that once the roads are clear and the power is restored that people will come back to the coast for Labor Day and enjoy these wonderful Texas beaches,” said Cornyn. “But for right now, until local law enforcement and local government gives that go ahead, I think people are well advised to stay away.” 

But Cornyn added spending money on a vacation at the Gulf Coast may be one of the best things people can do to help them in the long run, but once the time is right. 

Ray Bogan is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in El Paso, Texas. Follow him on twitter: @RayBogan