Wow! 5 days, 30 inches + of water, people of every ethnic, religious and socio economic status effected. Devastation. Houston did not evacuate for a storm that was estimated to be a 2 that would hit near Corpus Christi as a category 4 and dump 4 days of water on Houston. It was known that the storm was going to dump about 40 inches and that it would stay over us. I’m guessing we didn’t evacuate because it is difficult to evacuate roughly 6 million people in a day or so.
I have been through a few hurricanes and with the last one, it seemed like we had better time to prepare. I figured, we would need 3 days of food, get a couple of gallons of gas for the camp generator and we would be good. We experienced unprecedented flooding. I’ve known that we were in a 100 year flood plan which means in 100 years we shouldn’t flood (I don’t have flood insurance), but this storm was they said an 800 year storm… I really don’t know how they figure. Tropical storm Allison occurred in June of 2001. Allison had over 40 inches of rain in Texas, 30,000 became homeless after the storm flooded over 70,000 houses and destroyed 2,744 homes and caused $9 billion (2001 USD) in damage and 41 deaths. The difference with Harvey is that Houston got 5 days of rain for the same amount it took Allison to dump over 12 days.
This time 2 major dams, Addicks and Barker managed by the Army Core of Engineers had to execute controlled releases which backed up water into the neighborhoods on the backside of the reservoir. And they mentioned in Fort Bend county that there are levies (which I didn’t know about) that hold back the Brazos river that were compromised.
I do know that with this storm there were people getting rescued by boat in neighborhoods around us and pretty much all over the city and that I’ve never seen before. I am completely shocked that we maintened power and didn’t flood or come close to it. When your own friends are telling you they have 30 inches of water in their house and are waiting it out on the 2nd floor of their home and you can’t get to them, that is the worst feeling ever. That same friend who doesn’t have insurance says it will cost $50K to repair and they will need to stay in an apartment for a while.
Today I finally got to go the grocery store. It’s amazing how long our 3 day supplies lasted. The store only let so many in at a time and they were closing early (5:30PM). I spoke to a woman who evacuated her home, water in it. So many people with this problem. I don’t know how we were spared. The store wasn’t stocked, but everyone in that line was grateful to get something.
The streets have been flooded and there has been no point to even attempt to get out. People were driving the wrong way to avoid a flooded street with no police to help. It was dangerous.
I took a walk this morning and noticed our storm drains were holding. The lake at the park where I bike was well out of the banks. Below is the upper walkway covered in water the lower path is well submerged. The lake flows into a creek that was rushing like angry falls.
The shelters have a surplus of volunteers and need supplies. I donated my dog’s crate. I’m hoping I can help somewhere in the aftermath which will be for an extended period of time. There were so many heros in this disaster. People helping with rescues by taking their boats and searching, getting the sick, disabled and the elderly to safety. It’s a great to be in this city!
For now, I’m grateful to be able to jog again. A quiet night, my bridge over troubled water . Hopefully peace will come to all …