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Houston Hammered by Harvey: 'Everything is Down'

Photo Credit: FEMA News Photo

Residents and business operators, including commercial laundries such as Alsco Inc., which operates five plants in metro Houston, are struggling with 20-30 inches of rain that began over the weekend when Hurricane Harvey made landfall late Friday, Aug. 25, on the Texas coast.

Many residents are without phone or Internet service as emergency crews stage rooftop rescues of scores of stranded residents. The storm is expected to temporarily displace 30,000 area residents, and some 450,000 are expected to apply for disaster assistance, according to news reports. Local authorities already have attributed eight deaths to the storm, and President Donald Trump has approved emergency aid for the state. He is expected to travel to Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 29, to see the storm damage and meet with state and local officials. 

Textile Services Weekly was able to reach Alsco Inc. Regional Manager Doug King by phone on Monday, Aug 28. All operations at the company’s five plants are suspended for now, as employees and managers wait for a break in the storm. “Everything is down,” King said. “It’s emergency vehicles only. Boat and helicopters doing these rooftop rescues. No there’s no business going on.”

Senior staff are keeping an eye on the plants, he said. So far, everything looks OK. However, that could change as rain is expected to continue for several more days. “It’s pouring. They’re projecting between 45-50 inches (of rain).”

For now, King said senior Alsco managers are conferring by phone to keep staff apprised of the situation. “We’re just going to take it day by day,” King said. “We’ll have a conference call every day and see what the weather brings and go from there. We’d like to think that we could be moving around and at least partially operational by … I’m thinking Wednesday at the earliest. You just have to pay attention to all the weather bulletins.”

King, a lifelong Houston resident, said the flooding wrought by Tropical Storm Harvey is unprecedented in his experience. “They’re calling it the 500-year flood, and I’m only 54 so, no, there’s nothing that remotely compares to this.” Click here for details.