7 Of The Most Tragic, Terrifying And Awe-Inspiring Stories & Photos From Hurricane Harvey

Photo: ABC
Hurricane Harvey

Officials say 38 people have died.

Since it made landfall in Texas six days ago, Hurricane Harvey has taken homes, streets, and even lives. 

The National Weather Service said Harvey has set a record for total rainfall from a single tropical cyclone in the United States. Officials say there have been a total of 38 deaths so far either storm-related or suspected to be storm-related. 

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Over 8,500 people have been recused from flooding since the storm began, 32,000 people are in shelters and more than 210,000 people have registered for FEMA assistance. With those awful statistics come thousands of stories of struggle, tragedy, and people overcoming incredible obstacles.  

Here are 7 of the most viral stories to come out of Hurricane Harvey so far — from the heartbreaking and tragic to some that are even fake or photoshopped. 

1. A dog was seen carrying a bag of dog food in the streets. 


A German Sheperd mix pup named Otis got out of a screened-in porn and ran into the storm. Salvador Segovia was watching the dog for his grandson after he evacuated and told reporters he tried to get the dog to come back. 

Thankfully, Tiele Dockens spotted Otis the next morning. He was strolling the streets heroically carrying a bag of dog food in his mouth. 

The photo she took went viral, and the dog was soon returned to Segovia. 

RELATED: Florida's Penis-Shaped Storm Looks Like LONG, HARD Rain Is Coming

2. Someone posted a fake photo of a shark swimming down the highway. 


Pretty much every time there's some sort flooding in the world, this photo is guaranteed to make the rounds. 

This photo of what looks like a shark swimming on a highway is actually a hoax. So don't believe everything you see on Twitter. 

3. But there are alligators. 

Fox News

While her backyard was flooding one Texas woman noticed something swimming just a few feet from her house: two alligators. 

Arlene Kelsch showed in a video how the water went over a low part of her fence made it easy for the gators to get inside. 

"Not too far from just climbing on into the backyard and getting right here to the patio," she said. 

Kelsch also spotted snakes. 

4. There's a risk of 350 more alligators escaping and making it into the water. 

Sacramento Bee

A 15-acre animal preserve that's home to 350 alligators as well as venomous snakes and other dangerous animals is at risk of flooding — which would make it easy for them to escape and make their way into the community. 

None have yet, but that's not the kind of threat you want in the middle of a flood. 

5. Joel Osteen came under fire for not opening his church doors in Houston for evacuees. 

Televangelist Joel Osteen hasn't opened his church doors to his 16,800-seat arena in Houston despite the thousands of local residents who are seeking shelter. 

Photos of the church showed that it hadn't suffered any flood damage, but a spokesman for the church said the property is inaccessible because of the surrounding waters. 

The church issued the following statement yesterday. 

"We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center to those in need. We are prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity."

The next day, the church opened its doors to receive people in need. 

6. A family of six believed to have drowned trying to escape. 


Police say a family of six died after drowning in a van while trying to escape the floods from the hurricane. The victims include four children under the age of 16 and their great-grandparents. 

Family members said their victims' names are: Manuel Saldivar, 84, his wife Belia, 81, Daisy Saldivar, 6, Xavier Saldivar, 8, Dominic Saldivar, 14, Devy Saldivar, 16.

Witnesses say they were trying to get to higher ground when their van hit high flood waters and got swept up into a current. The driver was able to get out and tried to get the children to get out the back door, but they couldn't. 

7. A police officer died after being trapped in his vehicle. 

Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, died after being trapped in his vehicle during the flood. 

He was heading to work when he got caught in the current. Though he died on Sunday, police didn't find his car until Tuesday. 

Before leaving for work, his wife urged him not to go. His wife said he told her, "I have work to do." 

If you'd like to donate to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, the American Red Cross is accepting donations on its website. You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, dating, relationships and everything in between. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).