ROCKPORT, Texas — Robert Zbranek ignored warnings to evacuate this coastal town of about 10,000, determined to ride out Hurricane Harvey on his 38-foot cruiser, one of three boats he had moored at a local marina.

But after taking a battering as 130-mph winds roared ashore – and watching a sailboat he’d been living on sink in the storm – Zbranek abandoned the cruiser and jumped into his car, parked on the dock, during a brief calm as the storm’s eye passed over.

“Everything I owned,” was in the half-submerged sailboat, Zbranek said Saturday afternoon, motioning toward it with a beer. He said he didn’t realize Harvey, which came ashore near Rockport, Texas, as a powerful Category 4 storm, would be so powerful, despite a mandatory evacuation notice and warnings that the storm could be life-threatening.

“I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ll never see anything like it for the rest of my life,” Zbranek said. “It was a real eye-opener.”

Rockport, the Aransas County seat, was a mangled ghost town on Saturday.

The streets were a mess of precariously leaning and toppled power poles and dangling and fallen power lines. Roofs were ripped off homes, some of which were impaled by trees. A trailer lay on its side, blocking much of one major intersection. Wood ripped from houses was strewn along Route 35 on the town’s exposed southern end.

Harvey’s relentless winds also tore the metal sides off the city’s high school gym and twisted the steel door frame of its auditorium. The windows of some police vehicles had been blown out.

And pieces of 100-year-old oak trees torn from their roots impeded emergency vehicles, as crews arrived from neighboring communities to begin searching for victims and cleaning up.