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Harvey Pummels Texas, Brings Catastrophic Flooding; Harvey Causing Life Threatening Flooding In Houston; Houston Hobby Airport Closed, Bush Intercontinental At Limited Capacity. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 27, 2017 - 06:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers early this morning. More than a thousand people have been rescued in Houston overnight. Consider that as Tropical Storm Harvey continues to pummel the city with rains.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, we want to show you some of the images that we are just getting into CNN here within the last hour. Look how high this water is. There are people trapped in their cars almost up to the window where they would crawl out of if they could. The entire area is under a flash flood emergency. Not a warning but an emergency. Multiple tornado warnings throughout the state.

BLACKWELL: Right now, there are teams of first responders across Texas now trying to trek through this catastrophic flooding. Ryan Korsgard(ph) is with our affiliate KPRC is alongside the Houston Fire Department and they are trying to rescue people stranded in these high floodwaters and load them on to buses.


RYAN KORSGARD, REPORTER, KPRC: You have people who went to bed last night and, in fact, if we look over here they are still loading up more and more people and bringing in off of the people movers there and loading them up and taking them to safety. Good work from the Houston Fire Department. Metro is here. Houston police as well.

Loading these people up. You're right. You know, going to bed last night and then they wake up to rising water and trying to figure out what to do next. That is the predicament these folks find themselves in.

It looks like this bus is full and about to pull it out. Again, about seven others lined up right behind it as they continue to bring people out.

Let's go over here, Xavier, we can see how they are bringing the people out of the neighborhood since, obviously, the SUVs can't make it around. Pickups can't make it around. People are coming out even with dogs. Some have life jackets on, whatever they can. Children, carrying them to safety getting them in the bus and hopefully to safety. Long night for these folks. The city and county did not put down their guard. They kept these vehicles, metro buses and the highwater rescue folks from the Houston fire in place.

Yes, what originally brought us down here, Rachel, a phone call to our assignments desk at Channel 2. The call was the rising water, (inaudible) even more people brought off now. The call was people climbed into the attic to safety.

We can't make into the neighborhood as you can imagine. These folks are being brought in. We are trying to not to bother them because we are trying to get them to safety and out of the rain as quickly as possible but you can see a child being carried in mom's arms to safety to get out of here and hopefully safer place than where they came from, that's for sure.


BLACKWELL: Wow. Imagine what is going through that mother's mind as she is running off with her child in this disaster. Our thanks to Ryan Korsgard with the affiliate KPRC.

Want to take a look at some of the new video too that we have just coming in, driving through floodwaters, look. This is never a good idea. The police chief there, Art Azebido (ph), tweeted out, "Cannot emphasize enough how much flooding there is on roadways. You're endangering yourself and our first responders by being out. Stay put."

Authorities are really warning people, look, please don't attempt to do this. Just stay where you are. Don't venture into these high waters because at the end of the day, you don't know how high they are.

BLACKWELL: We are going to be getting in new video and reports from our CNN reporters. Also, our CNN affiliates as quickly as we can get that up on air for you and turn it around. We will share that with you.

We have with us now Houston Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and he's been live tweeting throughout the night with so many people trapped by the flooding, organizing the rescue. He's on the phone with us.

Sheriff, thanks so much for being with us. I first want to get to the numbers of people who have been rescued. You told our producer more than a thousand. Are your teams able to keep up with those or are there hundreds maybe even a thousand more who are waiting to be rescued?

SHERIFF ED GONZALEZ, HARRIS COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Well, we are definitely giving it our best to continue to keep up with it. It's hard to kind of track the number specifically just because we have a lot of jurisdictions, a lot of municipalities in our area.

But just in our area of the county, we have at least over 500 just amongst us that include other municipalities like the fire department, but the demand is still out there.

[06:05:01] A lot of folks are reaching out and different hardship situations. We have elderly folks that are caught up in their attic and unable to get around and situations where children may also be involved so we are working very diligently help coordinate some that.

Everybody are surely strapped right now with the resources being utilized to the max, but we are going to give it our best shot and try to make sure we get to everybody as soon as possible.

PAUL: Sheriff, what have been some of the most difficult phone calls and rescue attempts that have had to have been made overnight?

GONZALEZ: Well, our rescue vehicle had to assist in transporting someone that was cardiac arrest in progress. That has been -- was difficult, and then also we have had a few incidents where some women were giving labor and trying to coordinate those as quickly as possible as well.

Obviously, you have small infants, we just assisted a family with a 3- year-old and an 8-month-old and got them to safety as well. I heard a report of a possibly submerged vehicle where a mother and child may be deceased in the vehicle. We don't know. It's still unconfirmed.

But those are some of the harder situations. Actually, all of them are because we know it's an extreme situation for them and our heart goes out to them and we wish we could get to everybody quickly, but we have to navigate through the same challenging weather terrain.

BLACKWELL: Yes. One of the more recent rescues that you tweeted out was a pregnant woman in labor who was stranded has been rescued, thank God.

Let me ask you about the severity of what we are watching. You have lived in Houston your entire life and lived through Tropical Storm Allison a little more than 15 years ago.

There are some reports from some city officials there who say that this is worse than that when there were 35 inches of rain dumped on Houston in some communities. Is it that bad?

GONZALEZ: I would definitely say so. You know, we are receiving information that the rainfall totals over several hours, this is outdated a little bit but had already eclipsed the 500-year rain level mark and so that's pretty severe, over 20 inches of water in some places and still rising.

A few hours ago, we are hearing of six feet of water going into some homes and some of the other part of our area. With it happening overnight, it's kind of difficult to really put eyes on everything and assess the damage.

Whenever possible we'll try to do some aerial assessment to really get a better lay of the land, but it definitely seems catastrophic and, unfortunately, sad to say that we may be getting some more rain coming our way. So, this was very difficult tonight and it's not going to help with more rain coming and taxing our system, our infrastructure even more.

PAUL: Sheriff, you've been praised on Twitter by a lot of people because you've been so available there. There was one tweet in particular, Brian, who wrote really strong smell of chemicals in the air. Any reports how the refineries are holding up in Houston. You then sent that to Houston Emergency Management. What is the situation of the refineries? Is there a threat?

GONZALEZ: We hadn't received any concerns, other than that information that Brian tweeted to us. Became concerning to me simply because I received another tweet unrelated to that one also reporting something similar and I'm just familiar with the geography out there, the locations were pretty close to each other from where these individuals were reporting from.

And so, I wanted to make sure we got that to our Office Emergency Management and do an excellent job of getting on top of those things and, obviously, have different equipment in place to assess that, so hopefully, you know, we were able to connect them and they could get that information and verify.

PAUL: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris County there, which includes Houston. Thanks so much for being with us. We'll let you get back to work and back to Twitter. Thanks so much for the work that you and your team are doing for us.

GONZALEZ: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you for everything you're doing. Do stay safe. We are all thinking about you. We do have a team of reporters on the ground in some of the most impacted areas. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is standing by in the CNN Severe Weather Center and has new information for us as well. But first, to Rosa Flores in Houston.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We just heard from the sheriff more than a thousand rescues. What are you seeing where you are? I understand the water is rising fast.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's difficult to fathom how quickly this water is rising. We were here yesterday, Christi and Victor, and we can't even walk to where we were doing our lives yesterday.

Now, I want to show you around me because it is unbelievable just how quickly this water is rising and how it's overwhelming the system.

[06:10:09] I'm at the corner of Commerce and Travis Streets, but these streets have turned into rivers. You see the street lights there? Cars can't come through this area right now because they are rivers.

Believe me, we have seen cars today, this morning, trying to get through here and you also see a police officer here behind me who is trying to stop people from coming to this area because the water is rising very quickly.

This street that takes you to I-45 is completely submerged. Yesterday, we saw that public works employees were setting up barricades. Those barricades have been taken out by the current because the system is so overwhelmed.

If you look in this direction, for people who are familiar with Houston, we are near the spaghetti warehouse. So, what you're looking at now is the parking lot, except that parking lot isn't there anymore. That is how overwhelming this is.

I can tell you my crew and I were standing where that camera is looking at right now but probably about 20, 30 feet under into the banks of the bayou -- of Buffalo bayou. Right now, it's a raging river.

We probably have been here an hour and a half and we have seen the water rise during that time. I just got off the phone with the sheriff like you guys did and he was telling me that their biggest worry is just the system is so overwhelmed. You can see that it's still raining and the system has to drain.

That's what it's designed to, but while it's still raining, it's nearly impossible to do that. I used to live in Houston. I've never seen the water this high and rise this quickly. So, it's really difficult to fathom.

You can see it's a little difficult to see right now because it's dark and it's so early in the morning but take a look. This used to be a street. It's a raging river now this morning.

So, Christi and Victor, as you were mentioning, about 500 to a thousand rescues overnight is the estimate that Sheriff Ed Gonzalez was estimating this morning. It's difficult to count, he was telling me, of course, because there are so many agencies involved.

There are so many calls coming in all over the Houston and metro area that the system is just overwhelmed and they are very thin in resources right now because they are trying to get to everybody but it's also very, very dangerous.

Our crew and I were trying to get to one of those locations where they are staging command centers for rescues. We couldn't get there because it was too dangerous. We would run into streets that were packed with water and it was just not safe for us to head to any area outside of where we were.

BLACKWELL: That has been the challenge for the first responders. Rosa, if we could take her shot full. Viewers are wondering what is off to your left? Is that a man hole gushing water? Is that water hitting a curb or something? What is the source of that water, if you know?

FLORES: Yes. That is a man hole. The past hour and a half, we have seen the force of that water increase. Right now, it's at its highest. The more it rains, the higher water is gushing out of that hole.

It's difficult to explain just how much water is running through this historic downtown Houston area -- probably as Travis and historic district but it's under water. These used to be streets and, right now, it's just completely covered in water.

What you see to my left those were banks to a bayou that is no longer there. The area where we were doing our live shots yesterday, we can't get there. It doesn't exist right now because it's completely covered water.

That water is rushing toward the Gulf of Mexico. I can see because of the direction of the water. But until it stops raining, the system is too overwhelmed for it to do its job. It's designed to drain the city of Houston but, right now, it's just too overwhelmed.

PAUL: Rosa, thank you so much. Look, you and the screw stay safe there because it's not just the rising water, it is the power of that water when it's rushing the way that it is. It's the movement of that water too that makes it so dangerous.

So, do stay safe, Rosa, and to the crew there. Thank you so much for helping us understand what is happening there. We will have more for you on the other side of the break. Stay close

[06:15:00] BLACKWELL: And take a look at these pictures as we are getting some video of the rescues again. These videos coming in from our affiliates there and this is Houston with people being loaded on to buses in some cases. More than a thousand rescues in that city overnight. We will bring you the latest as we continue the coverage of what is left of Hurricane Harvey.


PAUL: Well, parts of Houston waking up under water. Look at these pictures. The drainage system is overwhelmed. Airports in the area are feeling the effects as well. We do want to point out that what you are looking at is where Rosa Flores is. You might have seen her report. They are scrambling now to go get to higher ground because that water is just starting to overtake where they are.

BLACKWELL: All right. On the phone now is Bill Begley, the spokesman for all three Houston airports. We are talking Bush Intercontinental, Hobby Airport and Ellington Airport.

Mr. Begley, thanks for being with us. First, tell us the condition of these airports. Are the runways under water? Give us an update.

[06:20:05] BILL BEGLEY, SPOKESMAN, BUSH INTERCONTINENTAL, HOBBY, AND ELLINGTON AIRPORTS (via telephone): Well, right now, as of a couple of hours ago, there was (inaudible) water on the runways, taxiways at Hobby Airport and so because of that that airfield is closed until the water can be removed and we can safely have air operations at that airport.

Bush is not closed because of the -- of water in any of the facility. It will be seeing far less air traffic than you would usually see on a typical Sunday. United Airlines, earlier Saturday, announced that it would be cutting back on a number of its air operations.

So, we are going to be seeing considerably less traffic there probably through Monday, today at the very least. We are not seeing the issues at Ellington Airport, but that is general aviation.

One of the big things about it is we have a number of military tenants there, including the Coast Guard, and so that -- most of that field was battened down before the storm hit, and was prepared so that the Coast Guards could respond from the location to help or go to spots before the storm hitting this part of the country.

PAUL: So Ellington is running for regular purposes, but also for military and rescue purposes?

BEGLEY: Yes, well, we have a number of military wings there. Texas International Guard and Army International Guard and the Coast Guard have a station there and they are response of the team here in Houston area.

Hobby is one of our two commercial airports in Houston. It does about 13 million passengers a year. About 150 to 170 air operations per day. So right now, those are on hold until the water issues with the airfield are addressed.

Really not sure how long that will be. I guess it depends on how long Harvey plans to stay in the Houston area.

BLACKWELL: Hey, Bill, I asked this question, fully aware that you may not have an answer for me, but I know that Houston has been through something like this before with feet of rain coming down. How long after the storm will it take to get the airports back up and running to get Hubby back to a place where you get to normal traffic?

BEGLEY: I will tell you this. This is not the first time that Houston and Houston airport system has had to address issues from weather. As you know, there has been, in the past couple of years, some flooding issues.

We have had Hurricane Ike in the past, Tropical Storm Allison in the past. So we have spent the last four or five days preparing our facilities as much as possible to be able to handle the impacts to do what we could to maintain operations, to work with our air carrier partners and all partners of the Air Force that we have to be prepared as possible.

That said, you can be as prepared as you can be, as prepared as you possible can be and still, in the end, the consideration is the safety for the people who are utilizing the airport and for the people who work there.

So, while we were as prepared as possible, we are going to make the decisions on how the airport operates based on what shapes this decision and working closely with the FAA and the airlines there, the people who decide whether or not conditions are optimal for safe operations where they are ready to support them as much as possible.

Right now, obviously, the air field in Hobby's case with water on the runways we can't operate so that air field is closed. We will be ready if there are flights that can take off and are scheduled to continue to take off from Bush. We are there ready to support those air operations.

BLACKWELL: Bill, beyond the standing water at Hobby, was there any damage as a result of the tropical storm and I guess category one storm speed wind when they came in yesterday and into today?

BEGLEY: I don't know of any damage as part what have we did in preparations is making sure that any equipment or any facilities were secured to obtain any wind areas. This has been mostly a water event. This has mostly been a rain and water event.

Again, we are experienced and prepared for those here, but you can only be so prepared when you're talking about the volumes of rain that we are seeing here today. There's not really been damage. It's just been more or less the impact of water and the rain on the possibility of operating the airport.

BLACKWELL: No one stranded at the airport that you know of?

BEGLEY: We do have a number of people stranded at Bush Airport. Yesterday, we had about 50 or so.

[06:25:07] The last update that I had was probably somewhere north of 200 at the airport.

BLACKWELL: Two hundred stranded at the Bush intercontinental?

BEGLEY: -- and doing everything we can to try help those passengers while they get rebooked and while they are there at the airport.

BLACKWELL: All right. Bill Begley who is speaking on behalf of the three airports there in Houston, Harris County area, Ellington Airport and Hobby Airport which is closed, and Bush Intercontinental. Thanks so much for giving us an update and we'll check back a little later.

PAUL: We appreciate it so much. Do take good care. We want to share some new video with you that we are just getting in as well. Somebody else who is attempting to drive through water. You don't have any idea how deep this is, let alone how powerful it is once that water is rushing the way it is through Houston streets right now.

Don't even look like streets any more. They look like rivers. As you saw from Rosa Flores' piece when she was out there live. Again, the police chief has tweeted out "Cannot emphasize enough how much flooding is there on roadways. You're endangering yourself and our first responders by being out. Stay put."

With that said, Keith Smith, is on the phone with us. He is a public information officer with Houston Police at the Houston Emergency Center. Thank you so much. We appreciate, Mr. Smith, you being with us. Help us understand what is happening there right now. KEITH SMITH, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, HOUSTON POLICE (via telephone): As my colleague Bill Begley said this is a primarily a rain event so we are seeing very heavy rainfalls overnight. As a result, as of about 2:00 this morning, we have collectively, between the fire department and the police department, affected more than 300 high water rescues.

That is 300 people who needed high water vehicle to come in and take them from whatever situation they were in. Initially, those were people who had chosen to drive on the roadways and found themselves --

PAUL: I'm so sorry.

BLACKWELL: We lost Keith Smith there with the police department. We have Rosa Flores on the phone for us. We know that just a few moments ago we had her shot and she had to move quickly to get out of the way of the rising water because where she was just yesterday was unreachable.

She couldn't access it. Now the water is moving so quickly that where she was standing about 15 minutes ago, she had to get away from that spot. Give us an idea of where you are and how quickly this is moving -- Rosa.

FLORES (via telephone): You mentioned, in the past 15 minutes, the water has risen very, very quickly. We were at the corner of Commerce and Travis in the historic district in Houston and you saw the pictures of that manhole erupting in water. It hasn't stopped.

The water has been creeping closer and closer where we had our vehicles in the high ground so the high ground is no longer. We are just moving closer to higher ground to be in a safer position so we can bring you those pictures.

As you mentioned, the areas where we were doing our live shots yesterday don't exist right now. They are completely submerged in water. The banks of Buffalo bayou where we were at yesterday don't exist because they have been overwhelmed by water. The water is running.

As it continues to rain and Houston continues to get pummeled, the system is overwhelmed. The water doesn't have anywhere else to go other than up. Now in Houston, city leaders were expecting 15 to 25 inches of rain, 30 inches of rain, 35 inches of rain in some isolated areas.

And the last time that I looked at the flood on control district gauges, some areas had about 9, 10 feet in the past 24 hours. So, the fear here it's going to continue to rain.

These waters are going to continue to rise, and it's putting lives in danger. There has been no evacuation order in the area. People were asked to have plenty of food and water for four or five days because this is supposed to be a marathon. This is not supposed to be a sprint. But the situation really took a turn for the worse last night as these bands of rain came over Houston and just covered over the city. Again, as you've been mentioning earlier this morning, authorities here saying that there has been between 500 and 1,000 rescues overnight.

There are (inaudible) because -



ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): -- earlier this morning, authorities here saying that there has been between 500 and 1,000 rescues overnight.

Now those numbers aren't exact, of course, because this involves a lot of different agencies. They are out trying to do their best but it's still dark here at Houston and so it's difficult to assess the damage. They are getting a lot of calls that they really can't go check on because it's so dangerous for first responders to be out on the street on.

We tried to go to one of those command centers earlier this morning (INAUDIBLE) to try to get (INAUDIBLE) and a better picture of the rescues that are happening but we couldn't get there because the roads were submerged in water, and so we decided to stay in a safer location and bring you the pictures that we were bringing you just now. But again we are having to move locations because the water is rising so quickly.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Well, Rosa, do take good care and get to that higher location. We are going to check in with you a little later but certainly wishing you and the crew the best.

As we see from these pictures how fast that water is moving.


PAUL: That can pick up a car and move it.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So which is --

PAUL: Within a matter of inches.

BLACKWELL: Which is why authorities there in Houston are saying do not drive.

Let's head about 200 miles down the coast here to Nick Valencia in Rockport. Nick, this is the city that really had the worst of the winds and now they are still dealing with the rain.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what a community looks like after being hit by a Category 4 hurricane.

I'm Nick Valencia in Rockport, Texas. We will have an update here after the break. You're watching CNN NEW DAY.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

PAUL: We are following what is happening in Houston this morning. Primary with the excessive amount of rain that in talking to Allison Chinchar earlier this morning she said, we expected them to have a lot of rain but not this much this soon and thought it would be more spread out and it has been absolutely devastating for that community. Almost a thousand rescues we are being told.

Then listen to this coming from the sheriff's department. They say nonlife-threatening water inside the home is safer than going outside. Difficult and scary but we will get to you. Please shelter in safe -- in place. Be safe.

BLACKWELL: We know that at least two people are dead. First responders scrambling to get to others stranded in high water.

We had the sheriff on. Ed Gonzalez, a few moments ago, he told us that responders have been working all night. Listen to a part of that conversation.


SHERIFF ED GONZALES, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS (on the phone): A lot of folks are still reaching out, different hardship situations. We have elderly folks that are people elderly caught up in the attic and unable to get around, and situations where children may also be involved so we are working very diligently to try to help coordinate some of that. Everybody is really strapped right now with the resources being utilized to the max.

But we're going to give it our best shot and try to make sure we get to everybody as soon as possible.


BLACKWELL: And get some people in their homes also in their cars. And we are told that the flooding is so severe in Houston that people are just leaving their car on the road because the water is coming up so quickly.

PAUL: Yes and they have to. There are people who are trapped by the high waters that had to be rescued by boat.

Ryan Korsgard with KPRC is going to join us in just a moment. But this is a report that he filed just a couple of minutes ago.


RYAN KORSGARD, KPRC CORRESPONDENT: So many of the people have abandoned their cars before they got down off of the access road and into this neighborhood.

If we look over here you can see the pickup we just showed you on live television a minute ago trying to make it through there. It's going to be interesting to see how far he can make it. Hopefully, for his sake it will go up a little bit.

That's not worth. It's not worth it for your vehicle and certainly not worth it for your life and where you're going to get. We can tell you from our drive in on the Gulf Freeway, several car lots along the bayous here, some cars were high and dry but many of them you can imagine were sitting down there in the water.

This is the last in the line here. Trying to get people out of their vehicles, out of the neighborhood and hopefully loaded up into safety. This is kind of the last in the line here with the fire and rescue operations down here.

Again, three boats that we know of from this location in the water. Told by firefighters that they are having the same problem the rest of us are and that is trying to get around.

If you don't have to get out, I wouldn't. And there is, frankly, no reason to be out at 3:00 in the morning.


PAUL: All right. Thank you to Ryan Korsgard there with KPRC.

But we want to get to an area we didn't expect necessarily to talk about.


PAUL: Everybody's eyes were so focused on Corpus Christi but Rockport, Texas, is where things were devastated by the hurricane itself as it came on shore.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The Houston is getting the worst of the rain. Rockport got the worst of the wind.

Let's go now to Nick Valencia who's there. Show us what you're seeing, Nick.

VALENCIA: Well, block after block here in of Rockport, this community of about 10,000 people just has been hit so hard. It took a direct hit from the Category 4 hurricane Hurricane Harvey here coming through with winds of estimated 120, 130 miles per hour.

I'm standing at what was once a local eatery and craft store and somehow the velocity of that wind brought someone's mattress here to the front entrance. Behind me here another store, a jewelry store owned by a local resident here, Ruben Sazon. He has been here for about 15 years and told me that he doesn't have insurance and somehow yesterday while we were interviewing him he was able to keep a smile -- and you get the sense from talking to the people here, Victor and Christi, that they are going to be OK. [06:40:04]

This is a community that is, without question, a very tight-knit community, a generational community. People here have lived here six, seven generations. And they say that they wanted to stay.

Sixty percent -- an estimated 50 to 60 percent of the town decided to stick out the storm despite a mandatory evacuation. Such an ominous warning here by the local leadership. In fact at one point before the storm hit, they told local residents who decided to stay to write their name on their forearm and their Social Security in case first responders had to recover their body.

But they decided to stay anyway because they said they wanted to help out their neighbors. They wanted to be in a position in case people needed them to help out.

There is some nominal signs of progress this morning. However small, they are inching towards getting back to normal.

On our way in this morning we didn't notice any road blocks. The road were cleared and they were not flooded like they were yesterday. As a matter of fact as I'm talking, something we should speak to, there is no rain, there is no wind here today.

All of that seems has moved a little bit north towards Houston. That seems to be the most hard-hit area right now.

This area though it will take some time to recover. Obviously, no time line but you can only imagine block after block as I mentioned, Victor and Christi, looks exactly like this. So you could only assume that it's going to take weeks, if not months, for things to get back to a sense of normalcy -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Quite a long time. Nick Valencia for us there in Rockport. Nick, thank you so much.

PAUL: We appreciate it.

And do stay with us. We've got some new pictures coming in of what is happening in Houston. A very difficult situation there this morning.

More than a thousand rescues. Three hundred of them we are told by the police department there just water -- high vehicle water rescues from people who were choosing to try to drive through this.

See more in a moment. Stay close.



BLACKWELL: All right. A live look here. This is our affiliate KTRK. We just kind of bumping (ph) in using their live shot here to show you just the amount of water there. You see a car that has been stranded. I'm told this is alongside a river.

And that is a hotel parking lot. If this times out well, she will swing around and show you all of the traffic that is on that overpass there.

Some cars parked there and some with their emergency lights on. They should be able to -- or there at least being asked to stay off the roads. Again that's KTRK.

Let's look to the (INAUDIBLE) came here. This is the airport in Houston. One of them at least.

George Bush Intercontinental -- we know that this airport is still open but there is reduced air traffic. We spoke with the spokesman for the three airports there intercontinental -- the Bush Intercontinental, Hobby Airport and Ellington Airport and says that Hobby is closed, Ellington has no issues, but there are about 200 people stranded at Bush Intercontinental and they are working to try to get them some assistance and hopefully get them home soon.

PAUL: Yes. And what you're seeing outside the sheriff's department is saying, look, that is much dangerous than what you might be seeing inside.

They consider inside flooding non-life threatening but tell that to one Houston resident who took a video after water flooded his house. Take a look here at the video that he is posting.

Let's see if we can get it. There it is. His dogs apparently, I don't know if we can drop the banner.

There they are. Just running around. They're confused by all the rising water.

As they are you can imagine what their senses are thinking. But we do want to point out, that Jesus was rescued soon after this. We're happy to report.

BLACKWELL: Jesus Reyna is on the phone with us right now.

Jesus, give us an idea of how bad it got and how quickly the water came up.

JESUS REYNA, STRANDED HOUSTON TEXAS RESIDENT: Pretty bad. The bayou that I live by eventually is pretty full. Got to my house and got into my garage.

The cars are out there. Over halfway full. They are literally flooded up.

PAUL: Is everybody OK at your house? And when you were rescued, where did you go?

REYNA: Everybody is fine. We are actually not rescued. We are still stranded out here.

Luckily, everybody is OK and my whole family is inside. The water actually went down in my house.

It was up to six inches but went down all the way to one inch right now. But the streets out here are still like waist deep.

We can't get out. We are still stranded out here in the house.

BLACKWELL: All right. So a feet of water there where you are. What part of Houston are you in?

REYNA: Right now, we are in south Houston next to Beltway and 45, right close to AMC 30. Over here down in south Houston it's pretty full.

We are all stranded over here. The whole neighborhood, the whole block is over here full.

PAUL: I was going to say are your neighbors out and what conversations are you having? Are you helping each other?

REYNA: My neighbors -- I actually talked to them. They said they're OK. They are safe, but I mean like I said the whole block is just full of water.

We are all stranded over here.

BLACKWELL: So, Jesus, have you had any communications with the sheriff's department, with first responders and have they given you any estimate of when they would be able to come and help you and your neighbors get out of this?

REYNA: Yes. I called all types of numbers. Emergencies, 311 and all that for Houston. They said that everybody is actually calling them so they are kind of busy.


I understand. I mean, we are safe. Luckily, we are safe.

You know, there is a lot of other people out there that are in a lot more worse conditions than I am. And I just pray to God we are, you know, OK on (ph) that (ph).

I just pray to God that everybody else is out there safe. I just really wish the best for everybody.

PAUL: We are wishing the best for you, Jesus. Thank you for helping us understand what is happening in your neighborhood and showing us what is going on there. We do hope that you can get to higher ground soon.

But thank you again and do take care, you and your family.

BLACKWELL: Again, more than a thousand rescues overnight. And the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood emergency for catastrophic life-threatening flooding.

We are getting live pictures again from our affiliate KTRK. And you're seeing just over the overpass here. On the left side of the screen you can see all of those -- many parked vehicles along this overpass.

And on the right side in the center of your screen you see again some people who are driving or trying to drive through the standing water and end up stranded. The water is rising so quickly. And you never really know what is under the water.

You think on just a normal day you know where the road is, where the curb is but there's no guarantee that the road is still there with this much water and the water moving so fast.

PAUL: And meteorologist telling us this is just the beginning. This rain event is something they anticipate is going to last for several more days. They just didn't expect to be as inundated as they have been in the last 24 hours right out of the gate.

They thought it would be a more elongated rain event that wouldn't dump so much right away. So it makes you wonder what is going to happen from this point on.

We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back you in a minute.



PAUL: It has been a really rough night for the people of Houston. Take a look here at some of this video we are getting in.

Those are people scrambling to get on a bus after they were rescued. You see a dog there. You see a couple of women carrying babies.

Look at this woman as they apparently, I think, one report said tried to hide in an attic. People are hiding in attics to try to get over the flooded waters or the water that's rising inside their homes. But these are some of the folks who have been rescued. More than a thousand or up to a thousand rescues overnight and it's only 6:00 a.m. there right now.

BLACKWELL: And these people are being rushed on to city buses where they will be taken to some shelter.

This video is courtesy of our affiliate KPRC. And we are getting new video in throughout the morning showing really this disaster that's happening in Houston. The water coming down and coming up from these manholes as they have shown you very quickly and creating an emergency for hundreds of thousands of people there.

And the danger is not over. This will go on for days and could become even more life-threatening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BLACKWELL (voice-over): As the storm lingers over Texas, the attention now turns to the dangerous rain. Remnants of Harvey are dumping up to six inches of rain an hour and it will not be over any time soon.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON, TEXAS: This is a serious storm. It's going to last four or five days and, quite frankly, this is day one.

BLACKWELL: The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood emergency for catastrophic life-threatening flooding for portions of Brazoria, Fort Bend and Harris Counties, including the city of Houston.

KORSGARD: It's going to be interesting to how far he can make it. Hopefully, for his sake, it will go up a little bit.

That is not worth it. It's not worth it for your vehicle and certainly not worth it for your life.

BLACKWELL: The Harris County sheriff says hundreds of people have been rescued overnight. Houston police have confirmed one woman's death when she drove her car into high water.

TURNER: The streets are treacherous. It makes absolutely no sense for anyone to be out on the road.

BLACKWELL: Hurricane Harvey slammed ashore Friday night near Corpus Christi as a Category 4.

In Rockport, one person died and at least a dozen others were injured. As many as 5,000 people stayed as the storm came ashore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard this big thump. Well we have a very big chimney out of brick that had fell over on the roof and collapsed some part of the roof there. And then 45 minutes later, the garage had lifted up and slammed against the house.

BLACKWELL: There is a lot of damage across Rockport. This is a before and after picture of a huge boat storage facility demolished by winds and more than 130 miles per hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to try to see what we can salvage from the wreck. And hope for the best, I guess.

BLACKWELL: The storm also spawned tornadoes. At least 12 have been reported by the National Weather Service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One resident reported seeing the tornado coming towards him. He ran inside. He said it felt like his house (ph) expanded out and then kind of contracted back in.

So it's pretty terrifying.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

PAUL: So grateful to have you with us as we watch this morning what is happening in Houston. And it's tough to see.

BLACKWELL: More than a thousand people have been rescued in Houston. Tropical Storm Harvey now pummeling the city with rain and hundreds more of rescues are happening right now.

PAUL: Take a look at some of the video we are getting in here how high this water is.

People we understand trapped in their cars, trapped in their homes. This entire area is under a flash flood emergency. Not a warning, an emergency.

And there are multiple tornado warnings through the state as well.

BLACKWELL: Again these rescues are happening right now. They are trying to get people through this rising water.

Let's go first with Ryan Korsgard with our affiliate KPRC. He's alongside the Houston Fire Department.

They are rescuing people stranded by these flood waters and loading them on to buses.


KORSGARD: You have people who went to -- who went to bed, you know, last night.


And, in fact, if we look over here they are still loading up more and more people. They are bringing in off of the people movers there, loading them up, taking them to safety.