About 10:30 a.m. Dale heads to his dealership for the first time since the start of the storm. His son Carter remembers that one of their vendors has an airboat. The two walk half a mile to the meeting point in water up to their knees. By the time they arrive at McRee, the water has mostly receded from the building, which smells strongly of the gasoline leaking from flooded vehicles. Even the F-series pickups had been in water up to their headlights.
Dale and his son stay for 10 minutes, long enough to assess the damage and switch off the electricity. The airboat is making rounds in Dickinson in search of people needing to be rescued.
"I actually felt a little selfish, but I just had to know what things were. You know, I just — I just said a prayer for everybody that was impacted by the storm. I mean the cars in the facility are my last worry. I just want everybody to be safe."
At 2 p.m., officials order an evacuation of Dickinson, expecting more rain. There's also a question of whether water and sewer service would be compromised. Dale and his wife pick up his 93-year-old mother in their 2017 Ford Expedition, and along with their golden retriever, Cookie, drive 260 miles from Dickinson to their ranch in South Texas.
"This is a long journey," Dale says on a call from the road. "The most difficult part of it for everybody is it's lasted so long. I mean usually a storm like this, you get advance notice that it's coming, it comes through your area and it's gone. Then you can make a plan for recovery. But it just won't stop."
The roads out of town are clear, but Highway 59 takes them through areas already ravaged.
Ninety minutes into the drive, Molly texts Dale: "Gay is on fire."
Gay Buick-GMC is the neighboring dealership. Dale gets on the phone with the fire chief, who fills in the blanks. One of the vehicles in the service department shorted out and caught fire, setting the building ablaze.
"We're very close friends," Dale says of his fellow dealer. "We've been friends and competitors for 68 years."
"Sooner or later you just have to start wondering, when is it going to stop?"
Dickinson received 8 to 9 more inches of rain Monday night. Several more McRee Ford employees' houses flooded for the first time. Molly's home flooded with 4 inches of water, but they were prepared. Furniture had been set on paint cans and personal items removed from the floor.