Port Aransas residents are just beginning to get a firsthand look at what happened to their homes and businesses after Harvey came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Friday.
People are allowed to visit their properties from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no power and no water. (Optimistic estimates for their return are mid-September.) Officials are telling residents that if they do return right now, they are on their own. There are no medical facilities for the city, population 3,800, and the storm has caused a malfunction with the sewer system, creating a noticeable odor over half the city.
James Pate, who has lived in Port Aransas for most of his life, says he’s never seen anything like this.
“No matter what you've seen on TV or Facebook … if you haven’t seen this town for yourself, it does no justice," he said, "because when you get here, you really see the damage, and it is devastating.”
Everywhere you look, there are things out of place: RV parks tossed, fishing boats blown from their marinas into driveways. One larger boat, a drilling ship used to set up offshore oil rigs, was blown from its shipyard mooring across the channel and has now beached itself on a jetty, next to homes.
The Texas Department of Transportation says ferry service between Aransas Pass and Port Aransas is closed until further notice, leaving just one way in and out of the city for the public.