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HOUSTON (AP) – Flying over the Houston area most days is a postcard of America: crisscrossing highways, skyscrapers, hulking shopping plazas, oil refineries, big houses, cattle pastures. Then there’s the view after Harvey.

“I had an idea, but once you can get up there and actually physically see it, the water is never-ending,” said David Phillip, an Associated Press photographer who has called Houston home for two decades.

gettyimages 840984844 Birds Eye View Of Flooded Houston Captures Harveys Totality

HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 30: A car sits submerged on the I-10 East Frontage Road in the Energy Corridor of west Houston, Texas where families were rescued from their flooded homes and apartments due to high water coming from the Addicks Reservoir after Hurricane Harvey on August 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi August 25, has dumped more than 50 inches of rain in some areas in and around Houston. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

Phillip got a bird’s-eye view this week after Harvey dumped more than 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain in and around the nation’s fourth-largest city. His photographs show rows of suburban streets turned into canals and brownish floodwaters creeping up to rooftops. In one photo, a mansion’s long cul-de-sac driveway resembles a drawbridge over a moat.

Phillip was taken aback by water submerging the Interstate 69 bridge over the San Jacinto River.

“It makes you pause and think about it. This is my home. It has been for 20 years. It’s tough to see your friends and neighbors and people in the community go through that,” he said.

Phillip hasn’t stopped often since Harvey made landfall Friday night. He started in Galveston and by Sunday was driving the wrong way down Houston’s flooded Interstate 610, normally one of the busiest sections of highways in the U.S. Later he was on board a rescue boat when it struck something, flipping him backward and out of the boat.

The propeller got his leg before Phillip was pulled from the water, leaving a bruise. He lost his glasses and ruined a camera lens.

gettyimages 840642826 Birds Eye View Of Flooded Houston Captures Harveys Totality

FRIENDSWOOD, TX – AUGUST 29: A dump truck is seen submerged on the street after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 29, 2017 in Friendswood, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump up to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Phillip, who is 51, is no stranger to photographing major storms, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As the water from Harvey recedes he sees familiar devastation. “Everything, generally, 4 feet down is taken out of every house.” Streets in Houston are now becoming lined with couches, hardwood flooring, baseboards and pianos.

He called covering Harvey more personal than previous storm assignments. Phillip said Wednesday was his first day he could travel the roads freely again, and in the neighborhood of Meyerland, he found homeowners tearing out drywall and trying to salvage belongings.

“People have had to break windows of neighbors’ homes to get to their second floor while swimming through floodwaters. Crawled through windows. Swam to be picked up,” Phillip said. “Everybody has a survival story.”

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