Epic Houston Floods Evoke Painful Memories of Katrina - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Harvey Aftermath

Harvey Aftermath

Harvey was a category 4 hurricane then became a flooding event on the Texas Gulf Coast

Epic Houston Floods Evoke Painful Memories of Katrina

The nation's fourth-largest city won applause for its efforts in helping Katrina survivors

    Diamond Ketchens, a Hurricane Katrina survivor who is in Philadelphia to prepare for her freshman year at the University of the Arts, is monitoring Tropical Storm Harvey and the storm's impact on Baton Rouge, Louisiana where her parents live. NBC10's Aundrea Cline-Thomas has the details.

    (Published Monday, Aug. 28, 2017)

    As people waded in chest-high floodwaters, Houston turned its main convention center into a shelter Sunday, evoking memories of Hurricane Katrina, when breached levees in New Orleans stranded tens of thousands of people in squalid conditions at that city's football stadium and convention center.

    Elected officials have vowed to heed the lessons from Katrina in 2005, when about 30,000 evacuees spent days packed inside the sweltering Superdome with limited power and water and a roof that was shredded in the howling wind.

    The fiasco exposed the failure of both the city and federal government to prepare adequately for the storm.

    Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa told President Donald Trump on Twitter to "keep on top of hurricane Harvey" and not repeat the mistakes that President George W. Bush made with Katrina. Bush was heavily criticized for a slow federal government response to the storm, which left more than 1,800 people dead and caused $151 billion dollars in damage.

    "Got your message loud and clear. We have fantastic people on the ground, got there long before #Harvey. So far, so good!" Trump tweeted back.

    Later, the White House announced Trump would go to Texas on Tuesday.

    There is no doubt the challenge will be huge for Houston, a city of 2.3 million residents.

    Forecasters predict the remnants of Harvey could dump as much as 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain in parts. "The breadth and intensity of this rainfall is beyond anything experienced before and is resulting in catastrophic flooding," the National Weather Service said in a statement.

    Harvey made landfall Friday as a Category 4 hurricane. It has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

    In New Orleans, almost 80 percent of residents were evacuated days ahead of Katrina's arrival. In contrast, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner advised people to stay in their homes, saying it was not feasible to completely evacuate the nation's fourth-largest city.

    'Unprecedented Flooding' Hammers Houston

    [NATL] 'Unprecedented Flooding' Hammers Houston

    The National Weather Service says the floods hitting Houston, Texas, are unprecedented. See some of the flooding and hear from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on why he did not order mandatory evacuations.

    (Published Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017)

    Houston authorities urged people to escape to the roofs of their homes to avoid becoming trapped in attics, which caused more than a dozen deaths in Katrina's aftermath.

    Rescue workers were so overwhelmed with calls for help Sunday that they initially were responding only to life-or-death situations.

    The number of shelters was expected to increase dramatically.

    Dallas also opened its convention center to shelter 5,000 people from the southern part of the state.

    In Houston, the George R. Brown Convention Center received hundreds of people as authorities scrambled to ready the building with 1.8 million square feet (0.17 million sq. meters) of space. Officials asked for help from restaurants to feed the growing population.

    In 2005, Houston hosted Katrina survivors, with the convention center and the Astrodome receiving thousands of people fleeing the horrific conditions of New Orleans' shelters.

    Among them was Raeann Barber, who came to Houston with nothing but the nightgown on her back.

    The 37-year-old woman, who rebuilt her life in Houston, found herself again fleeing her home when she woke up to knee-high water in her apartment. A Coast Guard boat helped her escape.

    "One way or another, guess what?" she said as she looked for a cot at the convention center. "To me, the Lord will make the way, one way or another."

    The Texas city won applause for its efforts in helping Katrina survivors. But some people Sunday were questioning city officials' decisions so far in this storm.

    Desiree Mallard, who escaped her apartment complex by using an inflated air mattress to float her nearly 2-year-old son through chest-high floodwaters, said she wished she had left before Hurricane Harvey approached the Texas Gulf Coast. But she saw on the news to stay in place.

    "And then when it got bad, they said it's too late to evacuate," she said.

    Good Samaritans Rescue Woman, Dogs From Truck Stuck in Water

    [NATL] Good Samaritans Rescue Woman and Her Dogs From Truck Stuck in Flood Waters

    A woman and her two dogs were rescued by three good Samaritans in Rockport, Texas, when her pickup truck was stuck in flood waters.

    (Published Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017)

    Asked if this storm could become Houston's Hurricane Katrina, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who had contradicted the mayor's advice and urged people to flee from Harvey's path, ducked the question.

    "As far as the evacuations, now is not the time to second-guess the decisions that were made," Abbott told reporters in Austin. "What's important is that everybody work together to ensure that we are going to, first, save lives and, second, help people across the state rebuild. And because of the effort that we've been able to put together, I think and believe we will be very successful."

    Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant and Will Weissert contributed to this report.

    NBC 5 and Kroger are teaming up to get help with the relief effort for the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Visit your neighborhood Kroger and make a monetary donation to the American Red Cross at Kroger's check-out registers. All of the money will go to the Red Cross Disaster Relief. The American Red Cross is working around the clock to help those in need by providing food, shelter and emotional support for the people whose lives have been disrupted. Visit RedCross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS for more information on the relief efforts.

     

    Other ways to help the victims of Hurricane/TS Harvey:

     

    DONATE MONEY

    The Salvation Army is also accepting financial donations. Salvation Army 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769) HelpSalvArmy.org

     

    DONATE BLOOD
    Carter BloodCare will send blood donations to its partners affected by Hurricane Harvey. 1-877-571-1000. Text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999

     

    HELP PETS
    SPCA of Texas is expecting 300 cats and dogs to come to North Texas. The agendy is asking for donations of cat litter, litter boxes, towels, blankets, treats, toys and newspaper. Donations can be dropped off at the following two locations: SPCA of Texas Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center at 2400 Lone Star Drive in Dallas and the SPCA of Texas at 8411 Stacy Road in McKinney. Monetary donations can be made online at SPCA.org/gift