DICKINSON, Texas (KTRK) -- Hurricane Harvey sat over Dickinson for days, but the rebuilding efforts have gone on five years later.
Fifty-five inches of rain caused massive destruction to Dickinson as Harvey sat over southeast Texas. Bayous turned into oceans swallowing homes, and roads became rivers.
Harvey was a storm that flooded 80% of Dickinson and impacted 7,000 structures, including Margaret and Darrell Carney's home.
"When we were cleaning up, we had kayaks inside the house," Margaret Carney recalled. "It was kind of interesting."
ABC13 Town Hall: Hurricane Harvey's lingering impact 5 years later
The Carneys rebuilt and made changes, like elevating AC units and adding a generator.
"It was pretty devastating," Darrell Carney said. "I think the fact it's recovered over the last five years is a statement of the strength of this community."
But not everyone has rebuilt. To help neighbors, Dickinson created a voluntary buyout program. Neighbors had until Wednesday to apply. Mayor Sean Skipworth wasn't in office when Harvey hit, but he lived in the city at the time and has used it as motivation to get work done.
"It's a mixed bag," Skipworth explained. "The really big drainage projects, those do not happen overnight, but there are things we can do."
The city has spent millions creating new drains, streets, and right now, working on Gum Bayou to provide relief to nearly 12,000. More help is on the way, as $50 million in state funds was awarded to help water move along Hughes Road from 45 to the Dickinson Bayou. This project should get underway in 2023.
But city leaders know it may not be enough, which is why it purchased boats for future flood events.
"I don't know that there's any human engineering that can totally mitigate an event like Harvey," Skipworth said.
It's a reality Dickinson neighbors live with, keeping them on their toes five years after Harvey flooded nearly all of the city.
"We'll always know it could happen now, but I don't like to live my life being afraid of that," Margaret Carney said.
The storm caused damage in days, but the efforts to rebuild Dickinson will take years.
More ABC13 stories on Hurricane Harvey, 5 years later:
- Kingwood residents look back 5 years after Hurricane Harvey made landfall
- Meyerland residents who stayed to rebuild after Harvey find hope 5 years later
- 5 years after Hurricane Harvey, some Houstonians are still recovering, UH report says