PORT ARTHUR, Tx. (WISH) – A Texas-based Coast Guard member with family in Indianapolis found herself stranded in her apartment complex Tuesday night as tropical storm Harvey pummeled the Beaumont area east of Houston.
Kristin Kaufmann described the rapidly rising floodwaters in Port Arthur as “crazy” early Wednesday morning in a phone call with 24-Hour News 8.
“I’ve been up all night just watching the water get higher,” she said. “It feels like there’s nothing we can do but wait it out.”
Relatives in Indiana scrolled through photos snapped by Kaufmann; as the sky grows darker in the shots, cars and street signs seem to disappear under more water.
“In the four years I’ve been in Texas, I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said. “In the past 12 hours or so, it’s risen about four feet.”
Kaufmann, a second-floor tenant in her apartment complex, welcomed downstairs neighbors – and their pets – as their ground-floor units quickly became uninhabitable. She had 11 people, two dogs and a cat seeking refuge in her apartment by Wednesday morning and said her door would remain open to others needing help.
“It’s the least I can do,” she said. “I’m lucky to be upstairs.”
Port Arthur officials said Wednesday the situation had become dire in the once-scenic coastal town, located on the bank of Sabine lake, with flooding affecting virtually every residence.
“Our whole city is underwater right now,” Derrick Freeman, the mayor of Port Arthur, wrote in a Facebook post.
Thousands of residents also took to social media in the wake of the historic flooding to share their distress.
#PortArthur was trending Wednesday morning on Twitter as people stranded in floodwaters tweeted their addresses and desperate pleas for help.
“I’m 35 weeks pregnant” one Port Arthur woman posted, along with her location. “Please keep calling for me… [The] water is waist deep.”
The post was retweeted more than 8,000 times by Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re all helping each other the best we can,” said Kaufmann. “We’re all in this together, just waiting it out.”