'I've never seen anything like that:' Lifelong Texan flees Harvey's floodwaters

Posted August 28, 2017 4:26 p.m. EDT
Updated August 16, 2021 10:37 a.m. EDT

— Thousands of volunteers are heading to Texas to help people displaced from their homes by Hurricane Harvey as residents continue to cope with the disaster.

Residents of Conroe, Texas, which is just north of Houston, were caught off guard by the storm when places that have never flooded before began flooding during the storm. With the rain continuing to fall, the levels of bodies of water and the threat are continuing to rise.

Many families fled their homes as water started to rise Sunday. People had to drive hours from Houston, the nation’s fourth-most populous city, with children and pets to find hotel rooms. Now, they’re stuck, not knowing what they will return to when the water recedes.

Given the level of danger posed by the storm, those who fled said they know they made the right choice.

“The water was coming toward us, coming out of the bayou behind our house,” said Jessica Chatterton, who was displaced by the flooding. “We have a lot of family in the area, and we’re leaving a lot behind.”

Chatterton and her husband fled their Houston neighborhood in the middle of the night with 4-month-old Piper, their three dogs and a bird.

“You can’t exactly swim in sewer water with a 4-month old baby,” said Chatterton said “We had to go. We got ready in like 15 minutes.”

Due to road closures, the family could not make it to a relative’s home.

“The roads were impassable, so we had to find a place with an open room,” Chatterton said.

Unable to find a place that could take them and their pets, the family holed up in the car. Chatterton, who is a lifelong Texan, is simply thankful that every member of her family is safe.

“I feel like this is extremely catastrophic flooding. I’ve never seen anything like that,” she said.

Volunteers from North Carolina were expected to arrive in Texas on Monday to help with recovery, but because the storm is still ongoing and so many roads are closed, a lot of volunteers we having trouble getting to Houston.