Port Arthur’s Mayor Says The “Whole City Is Underwater”

by Chris Tognotti

For the past week, the greater Houston area and the southeast Texas coast have been suffering through one of the worst storms in modern memory. Namely, Hurricane Harvey, which is still wreaking an unthinkable amount of havoc across the Lone Star State. And on Wednesday, Harvey reached into yet another area, bringing surging floods with it ― here are some updates on Port Arthur, Texas, the latest Lone Star city suffering from massive flooding thanks to Harvey's torrential rain.

According to The New York Times, Port Arthur ― a city in Jefferson County, about 100 miles to the east of Houston ― was struck by a massive amount of rainfall on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, leaving broad swaths of the area largely submerged.

In fact, Port Arthur mayor Derrick Freeman said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the "whole city is underwater right now," although he also trumpeted the work of emergency responders, and promised that they're coming to help the residents who've called.

Part of our rescue team is now fighting an apartment fire and rescuing folks from the complex. And the lightning has slowed up some rescues, but they have NOT stopped. Our whole city is underwater right now but we are coming! If you called, we are coming. Please get to higher ground if you can, but please try stay out of attics.

In the hours since Freeman's post, however, many residents of Port Arthur have taken to social media to seek rescue, in much the same manner Houston residents have throughout the storm. Some of the included photographs really lay bare just how bad things are out there right now, with once-normal suburban streets turned into what look like sprawling, snaking rivers.

The City of Port Arthur sent out a tweet on Wednesday morning requesting that any individuals with boats head to Port Arthur to assist in rescues. From the looks of the scenes there, it's not hard to see why. Harvey has already racked up a reported death toll of 20, though until the flooding fully recedes and the downpours stop, that number is likely to creep higher.

The city of Beaumont, also in Jefferson County about 20 miles northwest of Port Arthur, is also facing severe flooding. The city's mayor, Becky Ames, described the state of affairs to NBC's TODAY early Wednesday morning.

It's nothing I've ever seen before. I've lived in this area my entire life, and we're seeing things that we've never seen. As you heard earlier from the fire chief, every single body of water around us is at capacity and overflowing, and the rain is still coming down.

According to NBC News, both Port Arthur and Beaumont were hit with a staggering 30 inches of water as Harvey made its way east towards Louisiana. While it's too early to say how long it'll be before conditions normalize, the National Hurricane Center has warned that the life-threatening storm and flooding conditions are likely to last through the week.