Late Friday, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Southeast Texas. The storm was clocked as a Category 4 before slowing down to a Category 1. The rainfall and subsequent flooding, however, have been devastating.
As the eye of the storm ripped its way through the Lone Star State, residents were inundated with feet of water, and a worried nation watched as homes, boats, and cars were destroyed.
— CNN (@CNN) August 26, 2017
Some areas did evacuate, but with such severe flooding, it became nearly impossible for locals to stay safe. Thousands of people were forced onto rooftops and higher ground.
It wasn’t long before rescuers became overwhelmed with calls for help and could no longer immediately respond to each.
At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, the son-in-law of a Texas nursing home owner tweeted a photo of the home’s wheelchair-bound residents stuck in waist-high water:
“La vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson Texas is almost underwater with nursing home patients.”
He then sent the picture a second time, writing:
“Need help asap emergency services please RETWEET”
Some Twitter users voiced concerns over whether the photo was legitimate, but another user shot down doubters with a photo of similar flooding nearby the nursing home:
This is taken from the second floor of a home that is less than a mile away. And Dickinson Bayou is between them. Very plausible pic.twitter.com/1U6mahjdK2
— Donna Joy (@djoy_326) August 27, 2017
“This is taken from the second floor of a home that is less than a mile away. And Dickinson Bayou is between them. Very plausible.”
It then wasn’t long before the tweet went viral.
Within hours, the nursing home was upgraded to “purple” on the Coast Guard’s list of priorities:
And soon its residents were visited by a team of very welcome rescuers.
The residents were saved:
Dickinson emergency management coordinator David Popoff told Galveston County’s Daily News authorities airlifted 15 senior citizens from the nursing home and rescued an additional three people:
“We were airlifting grandmothers and grandfathers.”
According to the New York Daily News, the Kim McIntosh, the daughter of the home’s owner, said they were instructed to not evacuate because flooding has never affected the area where the nursing home sits:
“It’s never even flooded past the sidewalk. No one asked her to evacuate, but she has evacuation plans to leave.”
However, that clearly wasn’t the case this weekend. McIntosh told Galveston County’s Daily News:
“[My mom] said it was a disaster and they were hoping the National Guard would come.”
Popoff, again, confirmed that the women in the photo were rescued by authorities, and, thankfully, no one sustained any reported injuries.