Constable Ray Meyers (left) and Chief Deputy, Mike Nettles assess whether they can get their truck down Bird Road to help evacuate flooded residents.
County Leaders Rise to the Occasion When They're Needed Most, SOUTH POLK COUNTY, August 28, 2017 - When Tropical Storm Harvey was floating around in the Gulf not very many people were paying attention to it. Then almost overnight Harvey balooned into a major category 4 hurricane. When it slammed into the Southeast Texas coast, in coincided with two high pressure systems that forced it to sit stationary, therein lied the biggest problem. Harvey dumped over NINE TRILLION GALLONS of water (so far) in the southeastern half of Texas. Polk County is in the area of major precipitation. By the 28th, the Trinity River, Lake Livingston, and local creeks swole to maximum proportions. Low lying areas in Polk County like Bird Road, Holiday Lake Estates, Taylor Lake Estates, Goodrich and many roads and bridges are experiencing flooding. Many roads are impassible. Many houses and subdivisions are flooded. In light of this disaster, county leaders from the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Constables, Livingston Police Department, Local Volunteer Fire Departments, Office of Emergency Management and lots of volunteers have stepped up to help people evacuate. Even school districts Livingston and Corrigan ISDs have volunteered busses and drivers to help people evacuate to higher ground and county designated shelters where they'll be out of the rain and have food and a place to sleep until they can go back home and begin to rebuild. Our first responders are mentally prepared for the long haul in this disaster and are ready, and already going into the flood zones and rescuing trapped residents. So far there's no reported deaths, but there is lots of damage to homes and businesses. "When residents see that they're possibly going to flood, then they need to start planning. Get any needed medicines, clothing and other things that's they're going to need and get out as soon, and as quickly as possible" Livingston Fire Chief, Corky Cochran said, "Do not wait, because waiting may be too late" he said. Polk County Emergency Management Coordinator, Larry Pitts stated that his team is coordinating with first responders, fire departments, EMS, law enforcement and other groups involved in relief efforts. County Judge, Sydney Murphy and officials have issued a voluntary evacuation for certain parts of Polk County. "Red Cross is in the process of setting up a shelter for the people who are affected by this evacuation", said Emergency Management Coordinator, Larry Pitts. "We just want to help get people through this as healthy as possible, with as little property damage as possible" Pitts said. When asked how he's holding up working almost 24/7 due to the flooding Pitts stated "I've got lots of help from law enforcement, Americare Ambulance Service, various volunteer fire departments, lots of county employees and officials helping me. It's certainly not anything that I'm doing on my own", he said. The Trinity River Authority has no choice but to release hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per second to avoid even more flooding. In the lower lying areas of Polk County, the flooding and ongoing relief efforts will continue in the coming days. County officials and leaders are prepared and are in this for the long haul.
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Interview With Livingston Fire Chief, Corky Cochran and Polk County Emergency Management Coordinator, Larry Pitts
Matthew Duff (standing) volunteered his time and his boat as he brings people to higher ground on Bird Road. The folks being rescued will be provided transportation to shelters.
Volunteer firemen from Livingston help more people to higher ground.
People loaded necessary belongings into the back of Constable Meyers' truck to take with them to relief shelters.
Constable Chief Deputy, Mike Nettles gives some safety basics to passengers in the back of a rescue truck before transporting them to a bus off US-146.
Volunteer Fireman, Brandon Prescott emptys his rubber boot of water. Prescott spent his entire day helping others.
Gokey's Grocery off FM-1988 West is flooded.
The nerve center of Livingston Volunteer Fire Department remains manned at Station 1 in Livingston.
Bird Road (of US-146) remains flooded as waters continue to rise. Most of the road is completely under water.
(L - R) Livingston Fire Marshall, Josh Mohler, Constable Cheif Deputy, Mike Nettles, and Volunteer Fireman, Brandon Prescott (Constable Ray Meyers is pictured in background).
A TxDOT truck blocks FM-1988 South from being used due to water over topping (near Thomas Supply).
FM-1988 South was rendered too dangerous to drive on.
Even railroad tracks are being flooded.
FM-1988 East at Long King Creek
Livingston VFD is using a 2 1/2 ton military truck to get so flooded and impassible areas to rescue trapped people.
Constables Ray Meyers and Mike Nettles drive through deep waters on Bird Road enroute to helping flooded residents.
The Trinity River Authority had no choice but to begin releasing full throttle, hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per second to prevent further flooding. The dam is designed to emulate nature and what the Trinity River would naturally do on its own.
Constable Chief Deputy Mike Nettles helps residents load belongings onto a bus volunteered by Livingston ISD.
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