The biggest rainstorm in U.S. mainland history made a second landfall on the Gulf Coast on Wednesday, cutting a devastating path across southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana — even as the sun began to emerge in Houston and some residents returned to their waterlogged homes.
A string of coastal Texas cities were engulfed in water as Harvey came ashore once again at 5 a.m. Wednesday just west of Cameron, La., with heavy rain and winds near 45 mph.
“Yep, we got some water, y’all,” Port Arthur, Texas, Mayor Derrick Freeman of said in a live Facebook video Wednesday morning as he sloshed through knee-deep water inside his home. “Harvey wasn’t playing.”
Mayor Pro Tem Cal Jones estimated that at least 80% of the city, 90 miles east of Houston on the Gulf Coast, was underwater.
“I’m helpless as the rest of them,” said Jones, who was trying to get to a store to pick up supplies for several residents with diabetes. “We got caught by surprise. We weren’t expecting this kind of flood. We didn’t even get a command center because we weren’t expecting this kind of outcome.”
“Right now, we’re at God’s mercy,” he said.
Fields and roads were flooded around nearby Beaumont, Texas, and heavy rains continued to douse the region.
Colette Sulcer, 41, and her 3-year-old daughter were swept away by high floodwaters there Tuesday after getting out of their car near a flooded freeway. The girl clung to her mother for half a mile before police officers and fire rescue divers spotted them in a canal and plucked them out of the water just before they went under a trestle. The mother died, but the child was in stable condition.
The storm produced at least one tornado, which touched down Wednesday in the southern Mississippi town of Petal, near Hattiesburg. Local news outlets broadcast images of knocked-down trees and damaged roofs, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.