I do promise to get back to recapping our favorite shows, Bachelor in Paradise, Real Housewives, etc. But, I want to take a moment to talk to you about Hurricane Harvey & the Houston Flood. This is my personal account of my first hurricane & the last six days…that’s right, six (6) days! This is truly analogy of my reality.
Let’s start at the beginning…
Thursday, August 24th: Houston expected some rain with possible flooding.
Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit between Brownsville, TX & Corpus Christi, TX.
I had no idea what I needed to do to prep for a hurricane, but my fellow coworkers quickly educated me. I was told to go buy as much water as I can, food that doesn’t need to be kept cold & food that I wouldn’t have to cook, & to fill my bath tub with water (I thought this one was so strange). By Thursday evening, most water was sold out from grocery stores, but I managed to get six 32 ounce bottles from Walgreens, which I will be donating to a local shelter. I was told the purpose of filling up your bathtub is for when the power goes out, you can use that water to boil & to fill your toilet tank so you can flush it. Color me shocked! I also learned to charge all electronics & keep them plugged in as much as possible – makes sense. I’ve never been so happy that I spent $40 on my 10 foot charging cord.
Thursday evening I discovered that my water heater had been spewing water all over my garage for part of the day, so that was fun. I had to call my landlord out to turn it off as I couldn’t figure it out. Let’s just be clear here, not a huge problem by any means, but I had no water at the start of a potential natural disaster.
Friday, August 25th: Light rain falling in Houston
Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit Corpus Christi, TX, which is 200 miles from Houston.
I went into work as usual. I arrived at the office around 7am, & I was the first one there – this never happens. I immediately got worried that the proverbial “they” had cancelled work & forgot to tell me. I went about my business & turned on all the lights & got to work. After about 15 minutes, other coworkers arrived – whew! Around 9am, our HSE Manager informed everyone that our four Houston offices would be closing at noon.
Since Friday was a pay day, yes that really made a difference, I went back to the grocery store to get food that didn’t need to be kept cold or cooked. Bananas, apples, bread, peanut butter, crackers, batteries for flashlights…you get the idea.
Around this time, my landlord informed me that a plumber couldn’t to my house until Saturday as they were prepping for the rain, which I thought was crazy because the weather was supposed to be worse on Saturday.
At this point, Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner (I love him) told Houston residents not to evacuate; we still assumed that the Houston area would just be getting some rain much like San Antonio & Austin. Governor Abbott, who does not reside in the Houston area, told people to evacuate. Clear miscommunication here. You can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes at Governor Abbott.
Once I got home, I was glued to my TV watching the Weather Channel. At 10pm, Hurricane Harvey hit Port Aransas, TX as a Category 4 hurricane, moving at only 2 miles per hour. Parts of Port A (Texans call it that) were a 100% loss.
Harvey’s projected path as of Friday:
Rain steadily increased throughout the night.
Saturday, August 26th:
Lots of rain as I woke up Saturday morning. However, this was the view from my front porch in The Woodlands, about 15 miles north of Houston. This ditch fills, but drains very quickly…
My TV wasn’t working, so I got a lot of my news from social media this morning. I turned my AC way down, anticipating that the electricity would go out at some point, & thinking that it would help take time for my house to heat back up. Its still August in Texas, y’all.
I learned that Hurricane Harvey had been downgraded over night to Tropical Storm Harvey, but only moving at 1-2 miles per hour. That meant it was spinning over Port Aransas & Victoria, TX & that the “dirty” side of the storm was hovering over Houston dropping 3-6″ of rain per hour. At this point, people were being asked to shelter in place as the roads were quickly flooding.
Good news was that my water heater was fixed!
Sunday, August 27th:
I woke up to this image on the news Sunday morning:
My house was still safe & dry with only 20″ of rain falling so far at my house, but I could not turn away from the devastation being reported. Let me put this in perspective, I had 20″ of rain over 2 days; parts of Houston got 20″ of rain in a few hours. Some people had flooding in their homes in a matter of 45 minutes. I couldn’t help but be so thankful that I was safe & warm; I also cried intermittently because I was so overwhelmed at the loss I was seeing.
People were told to get on their roofs, & if they couldn’t to put a white sheet, towel, or paper in their window so first responders knew to evacuate the people in those homes. Hospitals became flooded. All of the news coverage was focused on Houston & southern suburbs, so I kept checking Facebook for updates on The Woodlands.
Spring Creek, which runs throughout The Woodlands & Spring, finally crested & over flowed Sunday afternoon.
Help from everywhere flooded the city & surrounding areas. Citizens with jet skis, boats, & high-water vehicles were asked to lend a helping hand. Neighbors helping neighbors. Help arrived in the form of: the National Guard, the US Coast Guard, the Cajun Navy, Red Cross, FEMA, United Way, local & state law enforcement, fire fighters, & so many others.
Monday, August 28th:
My office was closed due to flooding. Luckily, our suite is on the second floor.
The rain seemed to slow down a bit, at least at my house, but the water was still on the rise. All rain north of the Houston area was flowing south trying to get to the Gulf of Mexico.
Things finally seemed calm enough for me to venture out, so I went to my friend Amy’s house. Her husband was bbq’ing, & I learned how to play “Crazy” Rumi, with special family rules. We have to take the light-hearted moments where we can get them.
Tuesday, August 29th:
The office is still closed. I’m working from home, while gathering clothes & such to donate.
Harris County (Houston) & Montgomery County (The Woodlands) are doing controlled releases of the local reservoirs & levees to help maintain the integrity of the dams hoping to minimize flooding.
As of 2:22pm, 9 civilians & Sergeant Steven Perez, of the Houston PD, have lost their lives. Please keep the fine folks of Texas in your thoughts & prayers.
Why didn’t people evacuate?
Red this article: Why Didn’t Officials Order The Evacuation Of Houston?
How you can help:
Text 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross
Donate to the United Way
Donate at youcaring.org/JJWatt
Purchase a Texas Forever tshirt from theshopforward.com or Magnolia
Purchase something from Kendra Scott
Donate to Texas Diaper Bank
Donate to The Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi
Donate to STAR Fund
Help the homeless:
Donate to Coalition for the Houston Homeless
Houston Food Bank
Galveston Food Bank
Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)
Corpus Christi Food Bank
Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)
Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)
Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)
Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)
San Antonio Food Bank
You can also list your home on Airbnb for those displaced.
Things I’ve learned:
Ant beds float…as if bugs weren’t gross enough.
The Texas Rangers are assholes. Read this article from Deadspin.
Houstonians are beautiful and awesome and hopeful. This is the America I know & love.
The reporters covering this catastrophe need raises. They risked their lives to help rescue folks in need. ABC 13’s Courtney Fischer gave me all the feels.
I’ll be honest, I’ve really had to force myself to not be offended by non-Texans talking about things other than Harvey. I’m sorry, but I can’t bring myself to care about the MMA fight, or the VMAs, or Taylor Swift’s new song right now. I just don’t care. These trivial things do not matter at the best of times.
I’m happy to be safe & dry. I will be volunteering this week at local shelters. Please do what you can to help, even if it is just sending positive vibes our way. Thank you.