In harm’s way

Locals share impact of Hurricane Harvey

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Hurricane Harvey, now classified as a tropical storm, touched down on land near Corpus Christi, Texas this past Friday, classified then as a Category 4 hurricane. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) expects more than 450,000 people will file for some type of assistance from this storm, and so far, there have been eight confirmed fatalities. Marshalltonians have expressed concern for friends and loved ones being impacted by the storm’s devastation.

“I grew up in Houston, and I am following posts on friends’ Facebook pages whose parents are still in Houston. The situation is heartbreaking,” said Marshalltown Public Library Director Sarah Rosenblum.

Becky Merrill divides her time between Marshalltown and Rockport, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico, where she has a home and ranch. Harvey slammed directly into Rockport, with winds surging at 130 mph.

While she was in the Midwest at the time the hurricane hit, she said friends and neighbors have been keeping her informed of the situation, and took measures to safeguard her property.

“Our home is on a high elevation and our barn was made to sustain a hurricane, but the highway going through the area is completely flooded,” Merrill said. “Every building in Rockport has some damage. It’s going to be a number of years before the town comes back. Anything that wasn’t nailed down in gone; the storm is an equal-opportunity destroyer.”

Merrill said she is concerned about her sister’s safety.

“My sister just evacuated from north of Houston yesterday morning,” she said.

Merrill said she and her husband plan to travel to Texas once the storm has passed and the area has re-gained electricity.

Addie Bane of Marshalltown expressed worry for extended family living in the Houston and Corpus Christi areas. While many Texans are fleeing towards the north, some are heading to other regions of the state not in the path of the storm.

“My sister-in-law’s family has relocated to McAllen (a city in southern Texas) because of Harvey,” Bane said.

Houston, which is the fourth largest city in the United States, can expect to receive 50 inches of rain or more before the storm is set to pass in another few days.

Jason Colby, formerly of Marshalltown, is riding out the storm at his residence in Hempstead, Tex., which is part of the greater Houston metropolitan area. As of the printing of this article, he and his friends and neighbors are bracing for Harvey’s full impact.

“We’re not going to be able to leave our residence because the bridge that comes to the back of the subdivision is flooded and we’re cut off,” Colby said.

Last Friday, Colby stocked up on food, water and supplies in anticipation.

“We have people coming by looking for shelter and staying with us,” he said. “We’re just waiting it out. We lost water power and electricity is off and on.”

Colby noted that while the rains and flooding have been devastating, neighbors are banding together.

“With all the negative stuff going on in the world, it’s nice to see people taking care of each other,” he said.

Those wanting to aid in disaster relief, may send donations to the Red Cross at: www.redcross.org, or text HARVEY to 90999; the Salvation Army at: helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Donations can also be made to Feeding Texas, a network of the state’s food banks: www.feedingtexas.org

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com