Surviving Tropical Storm Harvey

It’s been an interesting week. Interesting in the Chinese curse sense of the word.

Hurricane Harvey, early on downgraded to Tropical Storm Harvey, moved inland on the Texas coast and sat on us, dumping rain upon our headsd for several days in a row.

I’m currently house / dog-sitting for a friend of mine, in a nice two-story house. I was getting concerned that I might need the second story.

I was watching the water level rise in the street outside, each day getting a little higher. It rose over the curb and started climbing into the front yard. The mailbox kept getting shorter and the median in the middle of the street disappeared under the waves. Most of the roads out of the neighborhood were already impassable so I wasn’t going to go anywhere.

When the water started getting a few feet from the front door I started moving what things I could upstairs, first making sure I had water and food for myself and the dogs, then other supplies, then things like books and small furniture.

Luckily, we had a break in the rains the night I expected the house to flood and the waters receded back to the level they had been the previous day. Still over the curb but no longer within a few feet of the front door. Instead of heavy rains we had a light rain up until early afternoon, when the rain stopped altogether.

The waters drained from around the immediate streets and took the house out of danger. People were out and driving through the neighborhood looking for an exit. I guess after being cooped up in their houses for a few days made everyone a little stir-crazy. They ended up just driving back and forth as there were no exits out of the neighborhood yet.

I took the dogs out for a walk the next morning but we didn’t get too far. There was still water in many of the streets near the house but they seemed to be draining.

This storm, other than the rain, was easier to ride out than Hurricane Ike back in 2008. Back then I had no power, water, cellphone service or access to the Internet for 10 days. This time I had power most of the time, with it going out for about 7 hours one afternoon / evening. I had running tap water most of the time (and plenty of bottled water on hand if the tap water was unusable.) I had Internet and cellphone service most of the time, except for yesterday when I had neither and was in a communications black hole. And I had books to read. Other than not being able to leave the house it was pretty easy to just sit and ride this one out.

I made a celebratory ‘I survived Tropical Storm Harvey’ mug brownie today. It is bad for me but I figure after nearly having the house flood it was well-deserved. It also goes with a tradition in our family that I explain here:

I got the dogs out for a much longer walk through the neighborhood today. I am really very fortunate. Many folks looked like they were gutting their homes. Piles of furniture, sheetrock, debris and possessions were stacked on the lawns of homes just a street or two away from me. Many others throughout Houston and Texas lost everything.

It is going to take time to recover from this. If you are outside the affected areas, and you have the means, please donate to help the people caught in the flood. Give to your Church, or the Red Cross, or whatever charitable organization that you subscribe to and believe can do the most good. Donate goods, food, blood, or cash. The effects are going to be felt for a long time and recovering is not going to be easy. The rains may be over but we still have a long way to go before this is ‘done.’

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