Passengers making way through ABIA on way to Houston

Americorp team members, Red Cross, federal officials and Houstonians flew in to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Monday, with the intent of getting to Houston.

With flight cancellations in place until at least Thursday due to Harvey, many passengers have turned their sights on Austin to try and make their way to Houston.

"Had a flight back on Sunday, stayed an extra day in Las Vegas. And then re-routed back to Phoenix, and then from Phoenix to here," said Randall Hale.

The Houston-native has been in close contact with his family, including his 12-year-old sister. While his family's home hasn't flooded, he knows of others that have not been as fortunate.

"I know of about five or six people who were on their roofs, houses completely flooded, completely damaged, cars are flooded - totaled. And got rescued by the Salvation Army," Hale said.

After landing back in Austin late Monday afternoon, Hale went to rent a car to try and drive back home to Houston.

"(My family's) stranded and it's hard to get out cause all the major freeways, like I-10, 610, 59, 288 and 45 are all pretty bad flooded," he said.

Such road closures have made it difficult for many to get in or out of the city. Off-camera, volunteers from several aid agencies told KVUE they were figuring out their next step as organizations assessed ways to assist those in need.

It's made citizens and locals - many using their personal watercrafts - so vitally important.

"People (who have) boats and have kayaks, and they're going and they're helping. It's not just the Red Cross, it's not just the National Guard. So everybody's kind of going out, stepping up, and any donations (to flood victims) would be greatly appreciated," said Hale.

Among the large contingency of volunteers, more than 50 Americorp NCCC members landed in Austin, with another group touching down in Dallas.

"This trip for me was finalized today. We're really working on our feet right now," said Joseph Sewall, a Baltimore-based Americorp NCCC team leader.

The organization is working with the Red Cross in flood-relief efforts.

"The situation's not getting better for a lot of people. There's just going to be a need for extra hands at a lot of these places like shelters and for community outreach and a variety things that just need some extra labor," said Sewall.

As airline officials monitor the upcoming weather reports, it's wreaked havoc on travel schedules.

Bush Intercontinental Airport is closed until at least 12 p.m. Thursday - with an exception for humanitarian and first responder support. Hobby Airport is closed indefinitely.

Derick Hackett, Public Information Specialist Senior at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, said 80 flights were cancelled on Sunday, and 30 more on Monday.

So far, there have been no diversions from other airports to ABIA.

"We do recommend that all passengers please stay in contact with your airline, and if you have any connecting flights, please check the status of your flight all the way through your connection to your final destination. And for people who are waiting for someone to arrive, get their flight information, the city that they're coming from, and check the status of those flights so they can limit their time of waiting at the airport," Hackett said.

Once leaving the airport, Hackett urged drivers to check for road closures.

"We do advise to pay attention to the local traffic authorities, TxDOT and those folks, especially in the Houston area that operate and maintain. And pay attention to the status of the roads that they're on," he said.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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