Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Great Flood by Harvey

You might have heard that we had a little storm here called, Hurricane Harvey.  We dodged the actual hurricane winds, but we got the rain from it.  In fact, we got 6 months of rain in 4 days.  The Bayou City (Houston's nickname) was flooded.

Houston is designed to flood because we aren't too far above sea level.  We have a series of bayous and canals to help drain water, but when you get that much rain (some areas 50+ inches) in so little time, we are destined to flood.

My friend said that everyone should just move from there since we are prone to flooding, but I disagree.  In any area of the country you are destined to have some sort of weather or natural disaster.  Earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards, sand storms, hail, tornadoes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc plaque the Earth in all areas.  Each region does what it can to minimize the damage of Mother Nature in its area.  This was a once in 800 years flood, should someone not live here because it floods this bad (percentage wise) in 800 years?

Now, part of Houston's problem is that we are growing so quickly and we are taking out trees to add concrete in its place.  The buildings and new developments are supposed to add retention ponds/drainage but it has not been enough.  Couple that with 50+ inches of rain in all areas of the city, you will get a lot of damage.


So, now that I explained my wonderful city (I really do love my hometown), let me tell you my experiences during the storm.

I heard the news reports of the storm but I thought it was going to be over and done with super quickly like the other storms we have had.  I don't think anyone was prepared for the amount of devastation we had.  If we had not had the wonderful volunteers in their fishing boats come to save people, we would have had a ton more fatalities.

I headed to work like I normally do on Friday morning and had just got there.  I got a call saying that we were closed for the day, so I headed to my parents house to wait out the storm because my area tends to flood a little and I didn't want my car to be in danger.  My dad got groceries and we were just watching the news freak out.  They really had no clue either though.
We brought the pool things inside so they wouldn't blow away.  Naturally we ate donuts with our babies and stuffed animals in it while having a picnic.

Then it kept raining and kept raining and kept raining.  My parents live in the Spring, TX area and we (they) are on the highest part of the subdivision on a "lake" (retention pond) so they weren't in danger.  The back of the neighborhood did flood though and it was actually the retention pond that overflowed into the neighborhood.  We couldn't get out of the neighborhood because all of the entrances were flooded. Well, I couldn't with my tiny car but my dad could with his truck if we needed to get out.

Kali and I would take walks in our rain boots and with our umbrellas just to get out of the house.  We all were going stir crazy.  My dad is a police officer and was required to work 12 hour shifts during an emergency like this.  He would give reports as to what was happening and get supplies when we needed them (like wine! haha).  His work friend lives in the subdivision that was evacuated because of the levee and she stayed with us from Sunday through Thursday in fear of the levee breaking and she not being able to evacuate safely/quickly with her two animals.

What I learned this week:  1.  HEB is an AWESOME company that does great things.  I already knew this but now I am even more sure.  2.  Gallery Furniture is very giving and I have found a store where I will forever buy furniture.  3.  The USA (or at least Texas) is not as divided and hateful as the media portrays/wants us to be.  We came together to save people because they are people, not because of their political party or skin color.

Eventually we turned off the news because the devastation and desperation was just too much.  Imagine being stuck inside your house with your air conditioner, power, warm/dry bed and seeing your fellow Houstonians (and neighbors) going through devastation for four days straight.  Seeing little children and animals being rescued off house and car roofs will get to you. And it wasn't just one set of people, it was THOUSANDS that had to be rescued via boat.  Imagine seeing a group of elderly women at a nursing home, just sitting in waist deep flood water, waiting on someone to save them-one lady looked like she was knitting.  It reminded me of the scene in the Titantic where the people who were trapped below were just riding on exercise bikes waiting for the waters to get there.  Awful!  Luckily, once the picture was shared, they were rescued very quickly.

Finally, on Wednesday,  I was able to get out of the neighborhood and went to Target.  I walked in and the smell of coffee wafted my direction.  I bolted to Starbucks and treated myself to a Venti Latte instead of my normal Grande. While ordering I said to the cashier, "this feels so normal but weird at the same time." I was walking around Target for over an hour just doing "normal" things that I do every day.  Then just as you focus on towels or bedding, you hear a helicopter flying overhead going to rescue someone.  I could push out all the negative thoughts out of my head for a little while and focus on something other than flood water but then something would remind me that things weren't normal.  I felt like in the movies when there is aliens around and only certain people know it or when the FBI is doing surveillance (in the movies) and they are pretending to be street sweepers or something, but all the while they have an ear piece in listening.  I felt that way in Target like something wasn't right.

It sounds so trivial, I get it, but it's true.  I think some call it survivors guilt.  Like, why were we not flooded?  What does God want us to do to help since we weren't flooded?  We were blessed for sure.  A lot of people I know were flooded and at least three of my extended family members got water in their house.  This storm did not discriminate against the rich or poor, it hit everyone.

Houston saved each other.  There are only so many First Responders in the area and it was so flooded that the National Guard was having a hard time getting to us.  Luckily there are wonderful and brave people in Houston that came to each others rescue with their fishing boats.  It would have been a mess with, unfortunately, a lot more casualties if these volunteers wouldn't have stepped up.  Houston will have to do something very soon to help lesson this problem in the future.  We are growing too quickly and adding too much concrete for the city to sustain itself and not flood again.

On Joel Osteen-I am not a fan of him, but I will give the guy (and his team) a break on this one.  It's hard to set up an emergency shelter at the snap of your fingers.  You have to have a plan in place, you can't just have people walking in willy nilly.  Some people just want to blame others and hate on Christians.  He DID open his doors, maybe just not on "someone" else's timeline.  Check yourself, what are YOU doing for the victims of the flood?  If we all do the good works (even if they are small) they will add up to big works and help the city.  It's not only up to one church to fulfill the burden just because "you" say so.

That's all for now.  I just needed to get my thoughts out.  If you made it this far, congrats, this post was long! :)   I hope you or anyone you love affected by Harvey.  Let's all work together to rebuild.

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