Reservoirs overflow and levee fails, sending more water into neighborhoods

HOUSTON -- Houston's flood control system has been stretched to the breaking point.

On Tuesday, two reservoirs overflowed and a levee failed -- sending more water into neighborhoods where people were still trying to escape.

Hundreds of residents in a neighborhood bordering Lake Houston weren't given much time to evacuate after being inundated with water from five nearby creeks, a river and a dam.

Dozens of civilian Samaritans waded in chest-high water as boats arrived one after another carrying residents escaping the rising floodwaters.

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Nick Hawk

CBS News

Nick Hawk, from Dallas, rescued countless people he doesn't even know -- but was cut short.

"My 19-foot boat capsized and the next thing I know it was me and the sheriff underneath the boat," Hawk said. "We both had the look like we were going to die."

Many left with just the clothes on their back and their animals.

Adelaida Stano and her husband Matt took pictures of their apartment complex that has been ground zero for rescues.

"There is no power … alarm ringing all night long ... so it was just bad," Stano said.

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A view of the flooded apartment complex where Adelaida Stano and her husband Matt live.

CBS News

In west Houston we were live on CBSN when water started rising quickly. Officials warned that water was flowing uncontrollably, from the nearby Barker reservoir. Also, a second reservoir north of there left homes submerged in 3 feet of water.

Back in Kingwood, Camille Gandara confirmed what we've all seen.

"There's no words to say how bad it is. There's no video that's going to say how bad. I mean ... We lost everything," she said.

Rescues took place for more than 10 hours Tuesday. Some people told us their neighbors on the third story of the apartment complex decided not to leave, but everybody who wanted to get out has been rescued.