Port Arthur, Texas has received more than 40 inches of rain during Hurricane Harvey, and many residents are still stranded in their homes.
The city of a little more than 55,000 people lies just South and East of Houston, and was pummeled by several feet of rain over the last 72 hours. However, unlike Houston, Port Arthur residents haven’t had access to the same level of resources that Houstonians have gotten, and the number of requests for water rescues is apparently piling up, according to local media. Port Arthur Mayor Derrick Freeman told residents on his Facebook page that rescues have not stopped, just slowed, and that residents should wait for rescue on the roof of their home, not the attic.
Officials in Jefferson County, which houses Port Arthur, told Fox 4 Beaumont that some county resources are unable to be mobilized for Port Arthur residents stranded in their homes due to the continuously climbing floodwaters. Sheriff Zena Stephens said that some people in the city were “standing in water,” and that many residents were “in survival mode” as the situation continued to worsen.
“We’re getting 911 and rescue calls but there’s nothing we can do,” Stephens told local media. “We can’t take the boats out right now. The water is rising and it’s coming there and it’s no way to get to them.”
A fire recently broke out in the 4300 block of Kylewood Court in Port Arthur, and spread to three houses. However, rising waters have made the fire department unable to put out the flames. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office posted several emergency phone numbers to its Facebook page, saying “our heart is breaking for our community” and gave residents several numbers to call if they couldn’t get through to a 911 dispatcher:
Hurricane Harvey briefly retreated to the Gulf of Mexico, where it picked up in strength, and recently made landfall again near the Texas-Louisiana border, putting cities like Orange, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana directly in its path.
Michael Boone is a freelance journalist and columnist writing about politics, government, race, and media. He graduated from Texas Southern University’s School of Communication, and lives in Houston’s Third Ward.