Tropical Storm Harvey wrecked havoc throughout southeast Texas, causing major flooding, property damage and 14 causalities, including a family of six and a Houston Police Officer. Houston’s Addicks Reservoir overflowed as the levee was breached, causing an uncontrollable release of floodwaters that may cover nearby towns for “weeks.” Meanwhile, a different levee south of the city was also breached, causing the city to urge residents to evacuate.
“It was scary — the water was up to here,” Houston resident Yee Seng said, motioning to the middle of her chest.
The Houston’s Addicks Reservoir was breached for the first time in history. A meteorologist with the Harris County (Texas) Flood Control District, Jay Linder, called this breach “something we’ve never seen before.” And as the reservoirs continues to rise, so will the water flowing into the communities. Linder added, “This is not going to happen fast, this is a slow rise.”
— Jeff Lindner (@JeffLindner1) August 29, 2017
Meanwhile, in Columbia Lakes, just south of Houston, another levee was breached. Brazoria County officials urged residents who had not already evacuated, to do so immediately. The Twitter pages urged residents to “GET OUT NOW!!” because “The levee at Columbia Lakes has been breached!!”
— Brazoria County (@BrazoriaCounty) August 29, 2017
By the way, Mary’s Creek at Winding Road just broke a new record! The town received the most recorded rainfall in a tropical storm with 49.20 inches of rain overall. The previous record was 48 inches.
Tropical Storm Harvey has already claimed 14 lives, including Sgt. Steve Perez of the Houston Police Department. His body was recovered earlier Tuesday. The 60-year-old police officer had been missing since Sunday after going to work at 4 A.M. in the dark and “spent about 2½ hours driving around trying to get to his duty station,” according to police Chief Art Acevedo.
On Monday, the police went out searching for Sgt. Perez. “Once our dive team got there, it was too treacherous to go under and look for him, Acevedo said. “So, we made a decision to leave officers there waiting until the morning, because as much as we wanted to recover him last night, we could not put more officers at risk. For we knew in our hearts it was going to be a recovery mission.”
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the tragic in the line of duty death of Sergeant Steve Perez. pic.twitter.com/cHJxjnFgII
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) August 29, 2017
A family of six also died after trying to escape the flood. Four children and two grandparents went inside a van driven by Samuel Saldivar, who attempted to rescue these people and bring them to safety. However, a strong wind pushed the van into the Greens Bayou. His sister-in-law Virginia Saldivar reported the whole scene to the Associated Press
“Sam calls my husband and tells him, ‘they’re gone,'” Saldivar said. “That’s when my husband dropped the phone and started screaming.”
The driver was able to escape, and apparently motioned for the others to exit through the back, but it was too late as the vehicle sunk into the Bayou.
The victims include Manuel Saldivar, 84, and his wife Belia, 81; Daisy Saldivar, 6; Xavier Saldivar, 8; Dominic Saldivar, 14; Devy Saldivar, 16.
The driver of the van is the great-uncle of the deceased. He said, “I’m just hoping we find the bodies.”
The bodies were discovered Monday night. Harris County sheriff’s officials said “the 14 reported dead include a family of six who were lost when their van sunk after crossing a bridge and hitting high water.”