No one could have imagined the area of devastation that Hurricane Harvey caused.
Homes, property and roads that have never flooded before did flood.
Livestock across the county went missing and many did not survive the high flood waters from the rising Colorado and San Bernard rivers.
The destruction of homes, vehicles and personnel property was devastating and overwhelming throughout our county. Schools closed, businesses closed and life as Wharton County knew it stopped for several days to undertake a survival mode.
Even with all the destruction and sadness, loss of human life in Wharton County did not occur in regard to Hurricane Harvey and the flood event.
On behalf of the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to say thank you to all local law enforcement, fire departments, EMS, Texas Game Wardens, National Guard, emergency management teams, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Public Safety, Wharton County precinct workers and especially thank you to all the volunteers who lent a helping hand during Hurricane Harvey. Thank you to the men and women who assisted Wharton County in our time of need.
A time line of events started with Hurricane Harvey threatening the Texas Coast with a landfall date of Friday, Aug. 25. Estimates of 40 inches of rain began to surface with the possibility of the Colorado River cresting at 52 foot.
At 52 foot, the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office would be at great risk of having water inside the building. On Friday morning, Wharton County inmates were shipped to Fort Bend.
Plans were being implemented if the WCSO were to be evacuated. Everything from where the employees would go to transferring 9-1-1 to another law enforcement agency. Employees started to work around the clock and the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office became a home for many. The county jail became home for many Texas Game Wardens and other law enforcement personnel.
Food from so many great people in our community arrived to feed the men and women during this event.
By Sunday, at least 50 roads in Wharton County were recorded to be impassible with the number growing by the minute. Rescues were being conducted around the clock. Law enforcement and all emergency personnel, along with volunteers were working countless hours to ensure public safety.
The Colorado River reached 50.5 feet which made the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office inaccessible. The fuel tank at the sheriff’s office was unreachable by patrol vehicles. Fuel was being carried by 5-gallon containers to higher ground to fill patrol units.
During the seven-day event, the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office completed 1,187 calls for service.
Hundreds of rescues were completed by boat. First responders pulled resources together and did an excellent job during the event.
Wharton County will begin to rebuild and it will be better than ever.
The community effort in lending a helping hand to one another has been both inspiring and contagious. Great job Wharton County!