GULFPORT -- Gulfport police and firefighters jumped into heavy trucks and launched boats to rescue about 30 residents from their flooded homes north of Interstate 10 after more than 10 inches of rain fell over a few short hours Thursday morning.
"It was really, really bad," said police Sgt. Damon McDaniel, who was in the Orange Grove area Thursday morning. "I watched one of my officers, who was approximately 6 feet 4 inches tall, with water up to his chest. He was having trouble getting through it. The water was moving very fast. If someone had fallen in it, they would have been swept away."
McDaniel said the northern end of North Hills Subdivision was hit particularly hard.
People also were rescued from Budget Cleaners off Dedeaux Road, he said, in large vans and vehicles.
McDaniel said the water was receding Thursday afternoon from Dedeaux and other areas, although more rain is expected.
Police and firefighters went out into the storm after people started calling in to report they were trapped in their homes.
Thanks to the first responders' efforts, McDaniel said he had no reports of injuries early Thursday afternoon. By that time, Mayor Billy Hewes had declared a state of emergency.
"Our vehicles and our personnel are all over the city," McDaniel said. "It hit the northern areas really fast. (But) we were getting reports from all over the city."
Police and firefighters took some residents they rescued to a shelter at the Orange Grove Community Center, where they were offered blankets and food.