'Indescribable' Toll After Harvey Heavily Damages Port Aransas, Texas

Image: A boat sits on a dock after Hurricane Harvey passed through Port Aransas,
A boat sits on a dock Sunday after Hurricane Harvey passed through Port Aransas, Texas.Nick Wagner / Austin-American Statesman via AP

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By Phil Helsel

A Texas city near where Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm has suffered damage to nearly all of its businesses and is without power, water and telephone service, officials said Sunday.

"The emotional toll of what's happened to our friends and families is indescribable," Port Aransas Police Chief Scott Burroughs said at a news conference, according to NBC affiliate KRIS of Corpus Christi.

At least two deaths have been blamed on Harvey, which roared ashore between Port Aransas and Port O'Connor at 11 p.m. ET Friday. The storm has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but the major threat was the flooding produced by torrential rains — more than 20 inches in Houston, which experienced major flooding.

A boat sits on a dock Sunday after Hurricane Harvey passed through Port Aransas, Texas.Nick Wagner / Austin-American Statesman via AP

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A mandatory evacuation order was issued for Port Aransas, a city of about 3,400 people in Nueces County near Corpus Christi, ahead of Harvey's landfall.

Mayor Charles Bujan said residents of the city were not being allowed to return, according to KRIS. No deaths have been reported in the city.

"OK, Harvey. You can batter our town," Bujan said Sunday. "But you can't have our people."

In nearby Aransas County, a man died in a house fire late Friday or early Saturday as the hurricane made landfall, after rescuers were not able to get to him, the county judge said.

Rockport, a city of about 10,000 people northeast of Port Aransas across Aransas Bay, also suffered major damage. About 40 percent of its residents did not evacuate, officials said.

The mayor said his community took a blow "right on the nose" that left "widespread devastation," including heavy damage to homes, businesses and schools. Some structures were destroyed.

The entire Texas coast region and parts of middle Texas were bracing for even more rain. Forecasters said an additional 15 to 25 inches could fall on the upper Texas coast, including the Houston area, through Friday. The National Hurricane Center warned of "catastrophic flooding," and in Houston police said they rescued more than 1,200 people as of Sunday afternoon.

Emily Zurawski cries while inspecting her home Sunday in Port Aransas, Texas.Nick Wagner / Austin American-Statesman via AP

In inland Victoria, north of Port Aransas and Rockport, buildings were damaged and trees fell on homes.

"This hurricane is something else. One minute you don't know if you're going to live through it or your house is going to fall on you or whatever," Victoria resident Roger Saski said Sunday.

"The main thing is that we all made it through the storm," he said. "You know, material things don't mean nothing when you go through this."

Associated Press contributed.