NJ continues to help with Harvey relief
HOUSTON — New Jersey continues to help with relief efforts in Texas, as former residents continue to tough it out as the rain keeps falling.
The New Jersey chapter of the American Red Cross sent 19 volunteers to Texas to help with shelters. Four more will join them on Tuesday, when they leave from the Red Cross offices in Fairfield with two response vehicles.
"We are grateful to all of the Red Cross disaster workers from right here in New Jersey who are leaving their families and heading to Texas to help. Our heartfelt thanks to those who have made a contribution to support relief efforts. We hope everyone will consider making a donation to support this massive disaster operation," Ana Montero, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region said.
An estimated 6,000 people have sought refuge in dozens of shelters in Texas as of Sunday night. Shelters are also open in Louisiana as bands from the storm move to the east.
The National Hurricane Center says heavy rain from Harvey is expected to worsen flooding in southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana. Flooded roadways continue to make travel difficult, and people continue to be advised to take shelter.
The storm was expected to make a slow turn to the northeast on Tuesday, placing the center just off the middle and upper Texas Gulf coast through Tuesday night before moving inland. Harvey is expected to produce 10 to 20 additional inches of rain over the upper Texas coast and southwestern Louisiana through Thursday, with isolated storm totals maybe reaching 50 inches over the Houston-Galveston area and the upper Texas coast.
The Salvation Army's entire Emergency Disaster Services team is on stand-by to head west, according to Major Ivan K. Rock, State Commander of The Salvation Army New Jersey Division. The New Jersey chapter has three field kitchens available that can each serve 10,000.
The 20 members of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management's Task Force 1 water rescue unit arrived in Texas late Monday and are headed to San Antonio. Their final destination changed three times as they made the 1,700-mile trip to Texas.
Texas animal shelters continued to empty out so they could accept pets rescued from flooding. The Monmouth County SPCA received 10 dogs from a Houston-area shelter on Monday, according to executive director Ross Licitra, with more on the way.
St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison will take in 100 dogs expected to land at Morristown Airport on Tuesday.
RIDERS ON THE STORM
Luck ran out for former East Windsor resident Gina Dubin, whose home lost power late Monday afternoon. She said a small lake near her home in the western part of Houston overflowed and her local supermarket had three-hour-long lines.
"All things considered, I feel very fortunate, because we haven't had water yet in our home," Dubin told New Jersey 101.5.
A 60-foot oak tree fell on Dubin's East Windsor home during Superstorm Sandy as she was pregnant with her son. She and her husband moved to Houston shortly after the storm.
Cody Ryan, who expected to spend this week with his mother in Linden, found shelter in an unlikely place: a furniture store. The Gallery Furniture stores opened two of its three Houston stores as shelters, which by Monday afternoon were near capacity.
"We have food, beds and clean restrooms for anyone in need who comes to those locations," owner, Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale, wrote on the store's website.
Ryan said many of the problems Houston is having because of the flooding could have been avoided with mandatory evacuation.
"I understand that you can't evacuate a city like Houston, but a lot of people here are from Dickinson, which is completely under water. It was just madness over there," Ryan said.
Are you originally from New Jersey and now in East Texas or Louisiana? Please contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.