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She abandoned her car as a 'whirlwind' from Imelda swept around her | This is what she found when she returned

This woman, like hundreds others, were caught in her car when the storm got bad.

HAMSHIRE, Texas — Along I-10 and Highway 365, the newly-opened stretch of road is busy. 

The busy highways are open for the first time since Tropical Storm Imelda swamped parts of Southeast Texas with feet of rain. 

I-10 was one of several dozen major highways closed for several days after water made the roads impassable.

During the storm, the fast-rising floodwater from Imedla stranded dozens of drivers. Many had to abandon their cars in the middle of the road. 

One of those people was Mac Duke. 

She was driving to Corpus Christi Wednesday when the rain proved too much. 

“The thunder and lightning was hitting  really hard," Duke said. "The transformer got hit, and then there was this whirlwind around my car that was just real strong and gusty."

RELATED: Beaumont hotel employee hailed as a hero after running hotel solo during Imelda's flooding

RELATED: Bevil Oaks residents can now go check their homes for Imelda damage

Duke, terrified and alone, said she didn't want to be the person found dead inside a flooded car. So she bolted from her car into a nearby gas station.

She and several others were rescued hours later.  

Imelda dumped as much as 40 inches of water in parts of Southeast Texas, becoming one of the wettest tropical cyclones in U.S. history. 

At least five people have died, including three people who were driving when their vehicles got caught in Imelda's floodwaters. 

Duke returned to her car in the gas station parking lot off Hamshire Road on Sunday. She had been staying in a shelter since the storm. 

Duke was using the sweltering September heat to dry out her car and suitcase of clothes before finally completing her drive to Corpus Christi. 

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