HOUSTON -- Fort Bend Kia, in the Houston suburb of Rosenberg, Texas, closed last Friday afternoon just hours ahead of Hurricane Harvey's slamming onto land and beginning its days-long run of destruction.
Owner Virgil Skinner, the immediate past chairman of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association, said his small store suffered only minor damage. But he was well aware that many others didn't get off so lightly.
"Five miles south of me, there are neighborhoods completely submerged," Skinner told Automotive News. "All over the city there are areas that are high and dry, yet within a few miles there are places with water up to the second floor.
"I've got a couple of employees we can't even reach right now. There are employees that work for other dealerships who are on their roofs, waiting to be rescued.
"My department managers and I have been keeping in contact with most of my employees through group text messaging. But several employees have been evacuated from the Houston area. We are under a voluntary evacuation. The rain has stopped in my particular part of the city but rivers are rising rapidly and are expected to crest at an all-time record level Thursday. The water could even top the levees that protect the homes in Sugar Land [a suburb southwest of Houston]. Some residents have been asked to leave even though they may not be experiencing any difficulties now. If the Brazos River were to top the levee system, it would be a disaster."