Hurricane Harvey: Central Texans with coastal property await word

Road closures and spotty conditions frustrate the anxious.

Frustrated by spotty reports on the ground and closed roads, Central Texans remained mostly in the dark about their Gulf Coast property Saturday afternoon after Hurricane Harvey made its catastrophic landfall Friday night as a Category 4 storm.

Port Aransas is often destination No. 1 for Austinites as they head to the sea.

“My family has property at the Beachhead Condominiums in Port A,” said Nicole Chism Griffin, director of communications for the Contemporary Austin. “(We are) having trouble getting any info at all due to all the road closures.”

Earl Maxwell, CEO of the St. David’s Foundation, owns a house on the bay side of the barrier island.

“Concerned, but no reports on our house,” he posted on Facebook. “Other pictures from PA are devastating.”

Elaine Garza, founder of Giant Noise public relations firm, shares a house at Port Aransas with friends.

“Still waiting to hear about Port A,” she said. “Early reports don’t sound good.”

Central Texas resident Tiffany Clark owns a house in Rockport in the Sailhouse community on Fulton Beach Road. She said she hasn’t heard from anyone about its condition, although Rockport Mayor C.J. Wax has announced that much of the nearby historic district was heavily damaged.

“I don’t have any resources at this moment,” Clark said. “I’m just reaching out to anyone and everyone to see if anyone can give me information.”

Images of damage from Port Aransas and Rockport filtered through social media regularly on Saturday, some of them unsourced and unconfirmed.

One digital lifeline for property owners is the Facebook page of Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan.

“Our police force is currently conducting recon on Hwy 361,” he posted. “We were able to get to (Mayan) Princess before the debris stopped them. I have heavy equip moving to clear the fields so we can get to town, have also dispatched two brush fire trucks with crews — we lost two of our trucks and all communication with the city or anyone for that matter.”

Other updates were being posted on the Facebook page of the Port Aransas South Jetty.

“I can’t find a working webcam on the Port Aransas beach, and I know most of them,” Rich Oppel, former American-Statesman editor, posted on Facebook. His family owns a condo at the Dunes there. “At the Aransas ferry, the car lanes are empty and quiet. No cars waiting. Mustang Island (Port Aransas) is eerily still for late August.”

“No electricity or way in/out yet but there are some pictures and from those it looks like Port A weathered the storm pretty well,” Austin resident Sharon Arnoult said. “Much better than Rockport.”

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