Former Valley resident describes devastation left by Tropical Storm Harvey

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It's a catastrophe Stephanie Harris could never have imagined when she and her family packed their bags and left Visalia for Rockport, Texas last September. Now she says they are forever changed. (KFSN)

As Tropical Storm Harvey continues flooding Texas, loved ones back here in the Valley are fearful for their family members and friends in the midst of the storm.

WATCH LIVE: Ongoing coverage of Tropical Storm Harvey from ABC sister station KTRK in Houston

It's a catastrophe Stephanie Harris could never have imagined when she and her family packed their bags and left Visalia for Rockport, Texas last September. Now she says they are forever changed.

"Our town is no longer Rockport," she said. "No longer the Rockport we remember. It's devastation."

A former Visalia family, they're now looking at a long road ahead of them to restore their community after the hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey ripped through their new city.


Harris says through word of mouth, she's hearing her home is still there along with her and her husband's workplaces. And she says if this is all true, it's a blessing

"We've heard from a friend our home is still standing, a couple of broken windows, maybe some damage to the roof," she said.

Harris and her family are staying with family members hours away and doesn't know what to expect when they return.

"There's no water, there's no power, there's no cell service, there's nothing, it's a dead zone," she said.

But she's trying to prepare herself for what they're going to see.

"My husband's uncle called and said the same thing, it looks like a bomb went off," she said. "There's a lot of damage - a lot of damage."

Fresno resident David Bentzen is from Houston, and he now lives in Fresno with his wife and kids but says these last few days have been nerve wracking. Most of his family and friends still live there.

"One of my friends lived in one of the most heavily flooded areas," he said. "Got almost five feet of water in his house, said the Coast Guard was doing rescues off rooftops in their neighborhoods."

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So far, he's happy to hear his family is safe, but he says Texas will always hold a special place in his heart. He's going back for Thanksgiving with his family and says he's expecting to see damage then.

"It makes me feel almost a little remorseful I'm not there with them," Bentzen said.

Related Topics:
hurricane harveytulare countydisasterVisalia
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