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Science & Environment

High Floods Trap Houston Residents In Home

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We are continuing to follow the catastrophic flooding in Houston, where rising flood waters have trapped many people in their homes. But 911 dispatchers are being swamped with calls, so some people have taken to Twitter to ask for help. That's where we saw a message from 19-year-old Jada Wilson. We reached her in northeast Houston, where she is stuck in her grandmother's home in waist-deep water.

JADA WILSON: I'm with my six other family members. My four siblings are here with me and my dad and my grandma.

MARTIN: When did all this start?

WILSON: Well, the rain and the winds probably started, like, yesterday afternoon - not even afternoon - probably a little later than that, but then it picked up really quickly. And around 4:30 a.m., our house started to flood.

MARTIN: Were you awake?

WILSON: Yes. We - well, most of us didn't really steep through the storm. And we were awake. But by then, once the water started seeping into the house, there was no way we could leave.

MARTIN: Where are you right now in the house? I hear water. I can hear water. So where are you?

WILSON: Oh, yeah. We're waist-deep in it. And we are - well, right now, we're just like kind of wandering around the house, looking for other things that we can pick up that might be valuable. We mainly just stay in the kitchen because it's the one room in the house that has a light on - that was able to use a light.

MARTIN: Yeah. Do you have any water, anything to drink? Have you had anything to eat?

WILSON: We have not had anything at all to eat. We have been up for more than 15 hours probably, and our water supply is not low. It's just that we don't have much access to it. Some of it's just floating around. Others of it is stuck in our fridge, which is currently floating in our kitchen.

MARTIN: And have you called for help? I mean, what are you being told to do right now?

WILSON: We've been told to get on the roof, which we tried. And it's just too dangerous with all the rain that's still continuing to go and that we could possibly slip off because we don't very have easy access to our roof. And we've called so many numbers. We've tried every number that we possibly can, any number that was handed to me on social media, any number that's been advertised.

We can't get ahold of anyone. There was one person - our friend that got ahold of 911 for us. And he lives on the opposite side of town. They said they're sending in the Coast Guard, but we're on a waitlist and we just have to wait to be rescued, which we don't know when that would be. It could be tonight. It could be tomorrow.

MARTIN: So you're just standing in this water right now.

WILSON: Yes.

MARTIN: Everybody's just kind of standing and kind of - how is your grandmother?

WILSON: Oh, she's not well. We've all been panicking. She's been panicking the most since this is her house. She and my grandfather built this house.

MARTIN: Do you feel - I know this isn't, like, your main preoccupation right now. It's, like, getting out of there. But do you feel you should have been told to leave? I mean, if you had been ordered to leave, would you have left? Do you think you could have safely left?

WILSON: I don't think, at the time, we could have safely left. If we had been told to leave earlier in the week, if we didn't have jobs and schools to go to, we probably would've left way sooner. But we were pretty much given a false hope that things wouldn't be so bad for Houston, in particular.

MARTIN: How is the rest of the family holding up?

WILSON: Not too well. We're extremely cold. This water - it just gets colder and colder.

MARTIN: Well, Jada, thank you so much for speaking with us. I'm very sorry that, you know, we're meeting under these circumstances, and we're all thinking about you and your family. And, you know, we're hoping for the best. And we certainly are glad to, at least, know where you are, and we'll keep checking in with you as long as the power holds out. And, you know, we hope that someone comes to get you soon.

WILSON: All right. Thank you so much.

MARTIN: All right. Take care. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.