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National

Tropical Storm Harvey Causes Catastrophic Flooding In Texas

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

We return to our main story, the catastrophic flooding in Texas, where rains from Tropical Storm Harvey are pouring down. We've reached Andrew Schneider, reporter with Houston Public Media. He's trapped in a building in Houston. Andrew, welcome.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER, BYLINE: Thanks.

MARTINEZ: First off, how are you doing? Are you in any danger? What's your situation?

SCHNEIDER: I'm holding my own at the moment. I'm about four stories up. I'm actually at home.

MARTINEZ: OK.

SCHNEIDER: And as long as I stay put, I'm probably in a good position. It's pretty solid construction here. But, you know, they are advising people to stay indoors and keep as high up as possible. And yet I'm still seeing some people waiting around in the streets, which is rather unsettling because they're taking their life in their hands.

MARTINEZ: Yeah, you got a pretty unique view. You said you were a few stories up. I mean, what else are you seeing out there? I - yeah.

SCHNEIDER: Well, I mean, I'm actually near the center of the city, so I can see the skyline from here. But looking straight down, midtown Houston is essentially turned into a swamp. In fact, pretty much since late last night, it's actually sounded like a swamp.

MARTINEZ: Wow.

SCHNEIDER: There's been an ongoing chorus - nonstop chorus of frogs going on. More seriously, though, I mean, the street is several inches deep underwater. The water is actually moving. The last time I saw any kind of vehicle that was able to make it through, it was a tow truck. And it looked very much like it was going to get stuck for a while.

More dramatically, though, the position that I'm at overlooks U.S. 59, also known as the Southwest Freeway, which is one of the main arteries going through the city. And it is completely underwater. It's basically turned into a river, which is really not that much of a surprise because the way that this highway is slanted, it goes down towards Brays Bayou, one of the main rivers that actually runs through the city.

And NOAA listed that as being in a major flood stage several hours ago. So every time there's a major flooding event, it goes straight up this highway - never this far as long as I've lived here, though.

MARTINEZ: Now, last time we checked in Houston with someone else, they said that the rain had stopped. Is it still stopped, or is it starting to rain again?

SCHNEIDER: No it's started raining again.

MARTINEZ: OK.

SCHNEIDER: And in fact, we're expected to have it intermittently throughout the day and probably for the next few days, which is the real worry because, you know, you can manage like this for maybe a day or two. But already, there's really no place for the water to go at this point. So the longer the rain keeps falling, the more it's going to back up and the higher it's going to get.

MARTINEZ: Are you able to get out of your building? Are you stuck there? And what have you heard about when you might be able to leave?

SCHNEIDER: I'm stuck. I tried walking out early this morning, before I was really able to see just how bad it was. And what I realized is - I took a few steps outside the front door, and I was already about several inches deep in my galoshes, and the water was moving. So it was pretty clear to me that trying to get any farther would be rather dangerous.

The parking lot, which is actually an interior parking lot to my building, is also flooding at this point. So it could be, if this keeps up for much longer, that I'm not (laughter) going to be able to move my car at all.

MARTINEZ: Well, Andrew, stay safe. It's just - I can't believe you're in that situation. Andrew Schneider is a reporter with Houston Public Media. Andrew, thank you very much for joining us.

SCHNEIDER: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.