"It's very terrible down here": Harvey slams southeast Texas

One hundred miles east of Houston, Tropical Storm Harvey unleashed high winds, rain and flash floods on Beaumont and Port Arthur Tuesday night, CBS News' Anna Werner reports. 

"Every highway is closed so we can't get out, we can't evacuate," one resident said.

The Coast Guard plucked people like a mother and baby off their rooftop in College Station, Texas. In Pine Island Bayou, civilians threw a lifeline to two men who clung to a tree in floodwaters for five hours. 

Residents flee the rising floodwaters from Harvey.  CBS News

"He hollered out and grabbed some vines on a tree," said one man. "We just got the boat as fast as we could up on to the trees, well as far as we could because the current had the boat sideway."

Rising waters forced staffers at a Port Arthur nursing home to evacuate more than 70 patients.

Residents are evacuated from a Port Arthur nursing home after Harvey slammed southeast Texas. CBS News

"I saw this on TV and I couldn't believe it that they were still here, so I wade through the water and somebody gave me a ride on the boat down here. It just breaks my heart," one woman said. 

Officials were pleading for help from anyone with a boat. People like Mark Wyatt and Zach Mormon, from Dallas, responded to the call.

"We just want to help get people out," Wyatt said. "It's very terrible down here."

In Orange, Texas, just 23 miles north of Port Arthur, the North Orange Baptist Church-turned-makeshift shelter is one of the last options in the entire town, reports Michelle Miller. 

Two other shelters flooded out overnight, and nearly 400 were crowding at the church. The elderly and sick, and young families like Craig Barefield's, woke up with water in their bedrooms.

"I'm just happy I got my family here. As long as we smiling we'll be okay, God got us!" Barefield said. 

As Tropical Storm Harvey came back ashore just 80 miles east of Orange in Louisiana, we saw the predawn desperation first hand.

Vehicles searched for high ground as Harvey made its second landfall.  CBS News

High vehicles searched for safe ground. 

It was unbelievable how many cars were stranded along I-10, but by sunrise, you could see why: Some two feet of rain fell in just 24 hours. 

Assisted-living residents had to be rescued by boat and driven to Orange Baptist by truck. Nurse Teresa Shipp, who was wheeling residents, said they had no choice.

"We've been working since 5:30 this morning" to get them out, she said. 

Don Flannery used his boat to get them to safety.

"It's just total devastation and my heart -- I just got to hand it together to help these people," Flannery said. 

This is the reason boats are vital. Just a mile down the road from the shelter, the surrounding neighborhoods had streets flowing like bayous.