A Northern Ireland man caught up in the catastrophic flooding in the US city of Houston has described it as “a disaster of biblical proportions”.
America’s fourth-largest city remains largely paralysed by one of the worst downpours in the country’s history.
Floodwaters are expected to rise still further in the inundated Texan city, where tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee from their homes in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Harvey has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, but the devastation it has left behind in Houston is unprecedented.
Streets have become rivers, neighbourhoods have been cut off and many residents are feared to have perished as a result of the historic deluge.
Chris Bohill, originally from Downpatrick in Co Down, said his neighbourhood in the flood-hit city has effectively been transformed into an island.
Mr Bohill, who has lived in Houston for the past 12 years, told the News Letter yesterday: “My wife and I have been trapped in our house since last Thursday.
“I have been through hurricanes and floods before but the scale of this is on a completely different level. I just can’t wrap my head around what has happened here.
“Whole areas of downtown are submerged and will be underwater for months.
“The interstates are closed, the airports are closed, it is just unbelievable.”
Mr Bohill said he and his wife had been fortunate that their house survived the rising floodwaters.
“Our neighbourhood is basically an island now,” he added.
“Where I live there was a park and a baseball field but that is now all under water.
“We live a couple of miles north of the city centre in an area called Houston Heights, which ironically is only about three feet higher than everywhere else as this city’s geography is basically as flat as a pancake.
“But I think that extra couple of feet was enough to save us from the worst of the flooding.
“We have been very lucky, as there are many other parts of the city that have been completely devastated.”
The 40-year-old said that the public were well prepared for the hurricane with shops picked clean of supplies in the run up.
He added that he and his wife they had spent the past few days watching the water inch closer to their home.
“We are just thankful we didn’t have to leave our home,” Mr Bohill added.
“I have been able to keep in touch with my family back home and let them know that we are ok.”
Mr Bohill said his thoughts were with the tens of thousands of people who have been left homeless by the historic flooding.
“Some people have lost everything and their lives will never be the same again,” he added.
“This flooding will impact people for generations and parts of the city will be changed forever.
“What has happened is nothing less than a disaster of biblical proportions.”