A small city nestled on the Texas coast has been hit hard by Hurricane Harvey's wrath of torrential rain and high wind, and the potentially life-threatening weather has prevented emergency crews from responding to calls for help, officials said.
Rockport Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Sims told ABC News early Saturday that about 22 firefighters were still hunkered down at the local fire station. The department has about 25 to 30 pending calls, and firefighters are anxious to help, Sims said, but they aren't able to respond until weather conditions improve and it's safe for them to travel.
Sims said search and rescue missions, as well as an assessment of the damage to the city of about 10,000 people, won't likely launch until later Saturday morning.
"We're unable to get out on the streets yet," Sims told ABC News. "As soon as the weather permits us, the winds get anywhere reasonable. We have been working on lists trying to prioritize the calls that we have waiting."
Fortunately, Sims said, the firehouse has fared well in the storm thus far.
"It rattled, it shook, but made it through it," he said.
Rockport City Manager Kevin Carruth told ABC News that multiple buildings have been damaged in the coastal community, including the courthouse and the public high school.
Harvey made landfall around 10 p.m. local time Friday over the northern end of San Jose Island between Port Aransas and Port O'Connor. The storm's eye was 30 miles away from the coastal city of Corpus Christi.
Rockport, located about 31 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, experienced peak wind surges of more than 125 mph overnight, according to the National Weather Service.
The city was among a handful of Texas locales that had issued mandatory evacuations prior to Hurricane Harvey's anticipated arrival Friday night. Rockport Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios advised residents who were not evacuating ahead of the massive storm to mark their identities on their bodies.
"We’re suggesting if people are going to stay here, mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and Social Security number," Rios said at a news conference Friday morning.
He said that grim step is necessary to prepare for the worst in case of deaths among people who remain in the area.
"We hate to talk about things like that," he added. "It's not something we like to do but it’s the reality, people don’t listen."