BEAUMONT, Texas – 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. 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. It has dumped up to 50 inches of rain on parts of the 6-million-plus Houston metro area, leaving at least 21 dead.
But as Houston got its first glimpses of sunlight, areas to the east were waking up to waterlogged homes.
Orange, Texas, resident Mike Henry said he went to bed Tuesday with only water in his yard. He woke up to rain 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.
Police in nearby Beaumont, Texas, were recruiting anyone with boats Wednesday to help check neighborhoods for potential rescues. Police 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, but nobody answered. Neighbors helped bring her and 12 other people who had sought refuge in her home to a Baptist church on higher ground. There, people were planning to cook food they salvaged from their freezers after homeowners shut off their own power to avoid fires.
Entities from other states were in East Texas to offer assistance to overwhelmed state and local authorities.
Agents from the Florida Wildlife Commission and two trucks from the Louisiana Army National Guard are evacuating the Golden Years Retirement home in Orange.
Water in the parking lot was thigh deep Wednesday afternoon as guardsmen entered the building and carried residents from the second floor where they had been sheltering in a dry area of the small facility.
Wildlife agents then floated the residents, one-by-one, in an airboat to the truck. About six residents had been rescued as of 3 p.m. and it was unclear how many more were sheltering on the second floor.
The storm came ashore before dawn Wednesday just west of Cameron, Louisiana, bringing maximum sustained winds near 45 mph (72 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Harvey had lingered over Texas for days before meandering back into the Gulf of Mexico.
Low-lying east Texas and southwest Louisiana are far more rural than the 6-million-plus Houston area and are home to many of the nation's oil refineries, including the biggest in the U.S. in Port Arthur, Texas. Motiva Enterprises closed the refinery because of flooding. Port Arthur found itself increasingly isolated as floodwaters swamped most major roads out of the city and spilled into a storm shelter with about 100 people inside.
Causey reported in Dallas. Associated Press writers Josh Replogle in Beaumont; Michael Kunzleman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Emily Schmall and Claudia Lauer in Dallas.
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