Shelter dogs arrive from Texas as NJ sends more Harvey help
TRENTON — More help from New Jersey is headed to Texas, as flood waters continue to rise because of heavy rain that hasn't stopped falling for six days.
"Harvey is finally on the move, slowly pushing to the northeast and away from the hardest-hit areas of eastern Texas. I'm sure those residents are overjoyed to see the heavy rain come to an end, after some places experienced staggering rainfall totals exceeding 50 inches. The storm will make one more landfall along the Louisiana Gulf coast before continuing to slide inland," Townsquare New Jersey Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. (Ed. note: The National Hurricane Center confirmed that Harvey, now a tropical storm, did make that second landfall early Wednesday morning.)
Gov. Chris Christie sent 12 members of the New Jersey National Guard to Texas as part of an Emergency Management Assistance Compact request. Two UH-60 Blackhawks, one outfitted with rescue hoist and equipment, will be sent from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to report by Friday. The deployment includes four pilots, four crew chiefs, and four Air National Guard rescue personnel.
"With real-life experience and top-notch training, the emergency response members from our Joint Base and our State Police are invaluable resources that will help lift Texas out of the devastation and despair caused by Hurricane Harvey," Gov. Christie said in a statement.
A member of Hopewell Valley Emergency Services is headed to Dallas to help with the medical needs of those affected by the floods, according to NJ.com. Ashley Coble was sent as a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Disaster Medical System Disaster Medical Assistance Team 4, and will help local medical resources.
Meanwhile, 78 dogs from a San Antonio shelter finally arrived in New Jersey, getting off the plane at Morristown Airport late Tuesday night. The dogs will be sent to several New Jersey and New England shelters for adoption, in an effort coordinated by St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison.
Former Freehold resident Sara Weinstein, who now works at the University of Houston's Victoria campus, returned to the city southwest of Houston after evacuating to Austin with her dogs and boyfriend.
"There was a lot of flooding. A lot of trees had fallen, a lot of houses had collapsed, a lot of long lines at the gas stations. It was like a totally different place from when I left," Weinstein said.
The university campus took some water damage, but fared well overall. A common room in the school's Jaguar Hall flooded when some windows broke. The school will not open until next week, Weinstein said.
"We didn't get quite as much rain as they thought we would. There's still a lot of people who don't have power. We all have water, but it's not usable and has to be boiled," she said.
Weinstein praised a local supermarket called HEB that has provided food and water to residents at no cost. She also said a barbecue restaurant is serving free meals.
"Three times a day (HEB) set up a food truck in the parking lot where they are serving free meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and giving away cases of water to anyone who needs it," Weinstein said.
Gina Dubin, who lived through Superstorm Sandy while living in East Windsor, left her house on Tuesday and is staying with a friend after water started pooling on the street of her Houston neighborhood.
"A lot of my neighbors are doing the same, but still not the same as others. Power may take up to two weeks to be restored," Dubin said, adding that one of her elderly neighbors had to use a canoe to rescue her cat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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