September 26, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

So, last month was a bitch. Harvey made landfall about 200ish miles away from where I live, they warned us to expect the "dirty side". We prepared and discussed evacuating but since landfall was so far away and our city officials weren't asking us to, we decided to stay put. Once we realized just how massive and strong it was, we made another trip to the store to stock up on even more supplies. However, there was very, very little left. The night before the rain and wind started, our local Walmart had no flashlights, candles, canned goods, bread, eggs, or milk. Plenty of water and junk food though so we bought copious amounts of both.

When we woke up Friday, the rain and wind had already begun. We looked at the forecast and started packing to evacuate. By the time we had the stuff loaded and the three dogs ready, conditions were continuing to deteriorate. We slowly made it to my brother's house about 12 miles away and were welcomed to a break in the weather. We knew if we left the Houston area, we would not be able to get back in due to how easily the city and highways flood. None of us wanted to be stuck outside of the area. None of us left. M and I came back home and unloaded in torrential rain. Harvey was getting closer and closer but Friday night things were just like your typical storm. We even ventured out to a fast food joint around 9pm. We settled in bed with junk food and Netflix. Then our phones started going crazy with weather alerts. Thus began a very long night of tornado warnings, horrible thunder and lightning, and hiding in our closet with the dogs. Nobody slept much.

Saturday the rain was light. The bayou literally 16 feet away from our building was high but not scary. We attempted to run to the store and almost flooded our SUV so we knew home was the best bet. That night was when it all went to hell. The bayou rose so quickly once night fell that we were knocking on neighbors doors to warn them and to frantically move all our vehicles. The bayou was in the parking lot and the rain didn't stop. Sunday was bad, Monday was horrible. Our roof began leaking, sewers stopped working. We hardly slept. We could hear people yelling for help outside. My brother, SIL, nephew, and niece fled their house when it began quickly flooding. My sister, BIL, niece, and nephew were rescued via boat. My Grandma and aunt were as well.

The water outside was over my knees, luckily I'm on the second floor and the water began receding before it got into the bottom apartments. We had our downstairs neighbor's stuff in ours, just in case they flooded. Which they quickly took back when our roof began leaking!

Here we are a month later, the roof has been fixed, my brother's house is livable again, and my sister's is too. We all were so very fortunate. But seeing how many all around us have lost everything has been heartbreaking. Recovery has been very slow. But we all will recover and rebuild and continue living in this area built on bayou and swamp because we freaking love this city. It's awfully humid and hot nine months of the year, the mosquitoes are huge, and TX politics are enough to make anyone crazy, but Houston is special.

Please consider donating to anybody but the Red Cross, either to Harvey relief or Irma or Maria. Help TX, FL, and Puerto Rico. And please encourage your elected officials to believe in climate change.

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