Thousands of Port Aransas homeowners returned home for the first time since Harvey to find their houses destroyed.
A line of Port Aransas residents waiting in vehicles to cross a checkpoint stretched more than 10 miles down Highway 361.
PORT ARANSAS -
As the impact of Hurricane Harvey in the Coastal Bend now switches to recovery mode, for many, the first step is just getting to their property so they can see what damage has been done firsthand.
Port Aransas residents were allowed to do that today for a limited amount of time. Unfortunately, many were heartbroken after seeing what the storm did to their homes and businesses.
Many came ho...to find water damage, wind damage, or worse: entire walls ripped from their houses. Now, they face months of repairs.
"I've been coming to Port A since I was a twinkle in my dad's eye," homeowner Lance Jameson said. "Just to see this community over the years, just being hit this hard, it's really heartbreaking."
Broken hearts, and broken homes for Port Aransas residents.
"I cried, I cried. I don't think it's liveable," said Debora Newton, when she returned to Port Aransas Monday to find her home damaged. "I think I'm kind of numb. I saw pictures. But the pictures don't look as bad as til you come and step in it."
These homeowners put their lives on hold to evacuate and steer clear of Hurricane Harvey's path.
"I never figured it was going to be this bad," said Constable Bobby Sherwood.
Many did not expect to come back to total destruction.
"It's the worst thing I've ever seen. And I've lived on this Coast my entire life," Sherwood said.
Now, they are facing months of repairs.
"I've got water damage. Wind damage," Newton said. "My husband is a paraplegic, and we lost everything in the handicapped bedroom and bathroom."
Thousands have similar stories to tell, making the journey to see Port Aransas with their own eyes. They waited for hours to pass a checkpoint, in a line that stretched more than ten miles down Highway 361.
"We were waiting two hours," Matthew Bridge said.
"We're pretty worried about what we left behind," David Trevino added. "We're kind of expecting the worst."
However in the face of devastation, homeowners are already focused on rebuilding,
"Lives cannot be replaced. This stuff can," Jameson said.
They are grateful that for them, it had not been worse.
"You know my house is here and it's just a material thing," Sherwood said. "I'm alive and my friends are alive. That's about all I can say. You know we could have been killed over there, but we weren't."
City officials say they will try to let the 3,400 permanent residents keep coming back to Port Aransas. They hope to let residents in again throughout the week.
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