Philadelphia News & Search
Four days after Harvey first slammed into Texas, residents and visitors are wading through flood and rain water to seek whatever shelter they can find. Highways have turned into rivers. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power. Countless residents have lost their homes.
Those impacted by the hurricane turned tropical storm include East Coast natives who were vacationing in Texas or have relocated there permanently. As they continue to cope, they’re now sharing their stories.
All Packed With Nowhere To Go
South Philadelphia resident Amy Kurzban waited all year for her one vacation this summer. She would fly from Philadelphia through Houston and to a beach oasis on the small Caribbean island of Curacao, near Aruba.
Her plans did not include being stranded at a Best Western hotel near the Houston airport subsisting on eggs, wine and whatever she could grab from a nearby gas station.
“I made some friends last night,” Kurzban said via text message Monday morning. “We had some drinks, played cards and used the wifi while it was still working.”
Kurzban called NBC10 earlier in the day, but her phone service became unreliable in the hours following her initial conversation. Several calls dropped or went straight to voicemail.
“People seem frustrated and aggravated,” she said. “There is nothing to be done.”
Kurzban spent Monday driving through the area surrounding her hotel in a Best Western shuttle. She was accompanied by one driver and the owner of the hotel. A lone employee stayed behind to clean up water that poured into the lobby.
During her voyage outside, Kurzban saw a truck drive through a “pond” that collected in the hotel’s parking lot. She went to a nearby gas station for cash, snacks and beverages, but could only find two of the three.
“They were all out of cash,” she said.
About 50 guests were also marooned at Kurzban’s hotel. They had been moved up to the second and third floors as water poured in through the lobby and reception area. Power remained, but no one knew for how much longer.
Kurzban hoped to continue her journey to the Caribbean Tuesday morning. But just one hour after speaking with NBC10, the Houston airport declared it would close until Thursday.
“That’s not great news,” she said.
Welcome to Texas
Matthew Ruggle recently moved to Bellaire, Texas, a small community within the greater Houston area. While his new home has remained above water, neighbors just one mile away are still waiting for water rescues.
But these water levels are rapidly fluctuating.
“Just this morning water receded and my street is completely dry,” he said. “Yesterday the water was more than knee deep.”
Ruggles saw trucks ferrying victims out of the worst-hit areas in his immediate vicinity, including from the Braeswood Place neighborhood that houses the badly flooded Brays Bayou. On Sunday, two kayakers were pictured attempting to cross an urban river with nothing more than one paddle.
When Ruggles took his dog outside for a quick walk, he could hear helicopters overhead. It wasn’t until later that the former Philadelphia resident realized they were airlifting Harvey victims from their rooftops and other flooded locations.
“All that being said, we’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “Water was up to our front steps, our driveway was totally covered.”
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.
Philadelphia News & Search