A road in Beaumont, Texas, is still flooded, two weeks after Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain on parts of the state.
Houston CNN  — 

As Hurricane Irma heads toward Florida, the Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey hope they won’t be forgotten.

Exactly two weeks after Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, most of downtown Houston is dry and life is starting to return to normal. But the damage there and in surrounding cities is still being assessed.

Harvey came ashore August 25 as a Category 4 hurricane with high winds and a destructive storm surge. After it moved slightly inland, it swirled in place over southeast Texas for a few days, dropping record-shattering rain and flooding several areas.

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Parents reunite with NICU babies after Harvey
02:32 - Source: CNN

The storm and subsequent flooding left more than 70 people dead and ravaged nearly 300 miles of the Texas coast and parts of Louisiana, flooding homes and displacing more than a million people. More than 21,000 people remain in shelters Friday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s situation report.

All told, the storm caused an estimated $75 billion in damage, officials said, making it one of the most expensive natural disasters on record.

A home in Vidor, Texas, sits in floodwaters from nearby Smith Lake on September 6.

Some homes and buildings still sit underwater. In Harris and Fort Bend Counties, the US Army Corps of Engineers has begun releasing water from the Addicks and Barker dams to help the swollen Buffalo Bayou recede within its banks. If it rains again before the dams are empty, the Corps warns there’s still a threat of more flooding downstream.

In Beaumont, southeast of Houston, many residents wait in lines to get water, food and supplies such as diapers and baby wipes. The trail of cars stretches out for a couple of miles each day from several places distributing resources.

Still in ‘rescue, recovery’ mode

“We are still in a rescue/recovery. Probably a 25% rescue; 75% recovery,” said Maj. Roy Williams, the incident commander for the Salvation Army’s response team in Texas’ Golden Triangle – made up of hard-hit Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange. “There’s still people who – the water has not come down and they have either not gotten back to their house or they are still in their house.”

The Department of Public Safety reported that, as of Friday, 122,331 people were rescued or evacuated after Harvey, along with 5,234 pets.

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Widow determined to stay in hurricane-hit home
01:39 - Source: CNN

Beaumont has been under a boil-water mandate after its water treatment facilities were compromised by floodwaters. While the plants are being fixed, officials await new tests to make sure the water is safe to drink.

Interstate 10 is open in East Texas, but the evidence of Harvey’s passage can be seen from the highway just east of Beaumont. In Rose City at an RV park, several recreational vehicles appear to be parked in a lake at random angles, and one is tossed on its side. The water is still up to the roofs of some cars.

Trailers in an RV park sit in floodwaters from Tiger Creek in Rose City on September 6.

No place to stay, no work

Chris Jones and his wife drove his large pickup truck through the water to recover what they could from his RV. The vehicle is a total loss and while he has insurance, his hopes aren’t high. “I’ll never get what I paid for it,” Jones said, noting that over time he’d filled it with plenty of things that can’t be replaced.

The RV serves as his home away from his Dallas-area home while he works as a foreman at a refinery. Without any affordable hotels for two hours in either direction, he says he’ll have to buy another RV. But after rescuing his boat and kayaks from the floodwaters, he and his wife began the drive home. No RV means he can’t work – just one example of the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey.

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Harvey photographer: Victims were in disbelief
05:06 - Source: CNN

After the water, mildew and mold

Other residents have already emptied their once-flooded homes of all their contents, including the waterlogged drywall. The hope is to get in front of the mildew and mold already blooming and acrid in the humid Texas heat. Across the region, driveways, front lawns and curbs are covered with what was once inside homes. In Houston, the city has brought in large trucks and other equipment to begin clearing the streets of residential debris.

Debris from flooded homes is piled outside in Lakewood near the home of Daniela Alvarado and Leonardo Aguirre.