By some miracle (and I truly believe that’s what it is), we’re still high and dry and abundantly thankful to be so. My husband and I are heartbroken for our home town and frustrated that there is nothing we can do to help those in need right now.
While areas that typically flood have done so, Harvey has flooded neighborhoods that have never flooded, meaning their residents are likely without flood insurance. My in-laws who’ve lived in their house for more than 40 years with no issue watched their house flood. And at least a dozen other individuals we know personally have a similar story.
I cannot stress enough how unusual and unbelievable this is. National media keeps referring to Houston as ‘flood prone’. But only very small pockets of Houston usually flood, it’s seldom, if ever, a city-wide, multi-county affair. The damage here is truly catastrophic.
There’s an awful lot of misreporting from national media, too much to combat individually, but there are a few issues I’ll address collectively:
Images from some heavily affected areas like Dickinson, Texas, which is southeast of Houston are being lumped into Houston. Dickinson is not even in the same county as Houston.
The affected area encompasses approximately 30 counties. Bayous, creeks, and rivers are all over their banks. The issues aren’t just local. The Colorado River is at its highest point since 1913 in La Grange, Texas. La Grange is a two hour drive west of Houston. Controlled flooding of lakes and rivers is alleviating some water flow issues, but there’s only so much space left.
My sister, who lives in San Antonio, called to tell me their local news was highlighting stories of people upset about the lack of evacuation order. I’ve been watching local news channels as long as this storm has been an issue here in Houston and have yet to see any such story. The only individuals I’ve seen have expressed their gratitude to first responders or the private citizens rescuing them from harm’s way.
You can watch a local news stream here, which I would encourage over national coverage if you’re interested. This channel was flooded out of their studio and is broadcasting from a public access studio on the University of Houston’s campus:
For those questioning why Houston didn’t evacuate, a little perspective:
We woke up to a Tropical Storm and went to bed with a Category 4 storm minutes away from making landfall. Evacuating some 6.5 million people is no small task. The coordination and resources required to pull that off successfully would be tremendous. There’s not enough fuel available for that many vehicles, and that’s just one of many logistical challenges. See also: Hurricane Rita, where a massive evacuation was called and the country’s worst gridlock transpired. Some 100 people died in their vehicles and the storm hooked right and headed for Louisiana. Had they tried to evacuate Houston and Harris county in that short period of time, Lord only knows how many people would have been stuck in their cars on freeways and roads that are now completely under water. These are never easy calls to make, but I’m confident in and incredibly pleased with Houston’s leadership. I truly believe the decision not to require evacuation saved thousands of lives.
Early this morning local meteorologists were convinced the system was weakening and we’d only receive an inch of rain today. Then Harvey began sucking more moisture from the gulf and it has been pouring (and that’s not an exaggeration), all day long. Winds have picked up and are back to 45 mph and the wrap around moisture is beginning to form up again too.
This whole ordeal is emotionally draining in ways I’m not sure how to explain. The damage is even at this point, unfathomable and as of yet, there’s no end in sight, “but we know it will end at some point,” said a local newsman this afternoon.
Pray for those less fortunate than us, those who’ve lost everything they’ve worked for — their homes, their livelihoods, their sense of stability and hope. Pray that they find peace and comfort. Pray for continued wisdom for our leaders, for our first responders, and for every private citizen who’s out helping their neighbors.
To each of you who has reached out to check on us or has said a prayer for us and our family, from the bottom most reaches of our hearts, thank you. It means more to us than we have words to express.
[Featured image cred: Julian Morrison, Houston resident who submitted her photo to the Houston Chronicle]
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