Shortly before 2 p.m. Monday, Dickinson police officials called for a mandatory evacuation of the city of about 20,000 after more than 24 hours of rain and catastrophic flooding. Heavy rainfall was expected throughout Monday evening.
The city was in a state of emergency Monday, particularly as rain picked up again in the afternoon. City, state and federal officials rolled along badly flooded streets, such as Deats Road and FM 517, in massive trucks and high-water vehicles.
Texas Game Wardens in airboats and residents in paddle boats ferried down Deats Road, surveying damage and offering rides to stranded people unable to get out by car.
Rescues continued throughout the day, although some private boat owners who showed up to a Dickinson Bayou boat ramp were told there were already enough boats on the water to collect remaining people, and some residents complained about so many boats making wakes sending floodwater back into homes.
“This evacuation order is being established because of a combination of several factors, including the fragile infrastructure within the city due to the storm flooding, the limited utilities available at this time and current continued forecast track of Hurricane Harvey,” Dickinson Police Sgt. Tim Cromie said in the notice.
“The city of Dickinson is extremely concerned for the safety of citizens who are still residing within the city.”
The police did not have an estimate of how many people remained — either by choice or necessity — in Dickinson on Monday, he said.
“We got calls overnight and we’ve seen people posting on Facebook that they need to be rescued,” county spokeswoman Brittany Viegas said Monday morning.
Early Monday morning, the county sent out a request, asking remaining residents who needed rescue to get on their roofs if possible or get somewhere high to be visible to U.S. Coast Guard helicopters passing by.
The coast guard operators would then notify a boat or high-water vehicle to pick up the stranded residents.
John and Jeanine Bachelorder, who live on Bayou Drive, said they’d attempted to evacuate Sunday and a boat had stopped by about 4 p.m.
But at that time, they were trying to pack up keepsakes and weren’t ready to go, so they sent their daughter and stayed at the house.
The water got as high as their kitchen counter and the two slept on the backrest of their couch, Jeanine Bachelorder said.
“It was terrifying,” she said.
On Monday, the two waded down the street to the house of a neighbor, who owns a large truck and were able to catch a ride to Dickinson City Hall, where emergency managers had two buses waiting to take people to the George R. Brown Convention Center shelter in Houston.
The Bachelorders eventually planned to get to a relative’s house in Webster, but didn’t have transportation out of Dickinson because both the car and truck they own were flooded, they said.
“It’s all so devastating,” she said. “We keep hearing stories. If there’s any high point, people we didn’t know are now friends and family.”
Weather forecasters predicted rains would continue swamping the area throughout the night.