Y’all know I’m from Houston. As a Texan, I like to make my Texan-hood known.
I’m sure you’ve heard about hurricane Harvey from the media, on Facebook, every other meme, and your grandpa who’s been to Houston before.
It’s quite a well known event.
While a lot of you (I dare say all of you) have heard about it, I lived it.
Me and about 5+ million other Houstonians and Southern Texans.
Today I want to describe to you what it was like to live through that hurricane rage. It’s too long to write in just one post, so here is Part 1 of Harvey in Houston.
DISCLAIMER- This story is from MY point of view. Other areas affected may have experienced the storm differently, whether harsher or lighter. This is my experience from my location.
I didn’t hear about the storm as early as some. I actually didn’t really think much of it because, when I found out, it was only a tropical storm.
Tropical storm may sound bad to someone who hasn’t experienced one, but basically it’s weatherman lingo for “more rain and wind than usual.”
Of course there were the people, more informed than I, that were buying all of the bread and peanut butter. But then there were the doubters. The people who saw the headline “tropical storm” and thought nothing of it. The people who watched the panicked Walmart shopper and thought, “Slow your roll there, buddy! How much bread does one person need!?”
Ding ding ding! We have a winner! That was me.
Basically the media down here ramps up every story of every little ocean wave that may even be considered halfway dangerous and then alerts us that they are watching it. More often than not, it hits Louisiana or Florida, or it fizzles out into nothing.
Well not this time.
Once a storm is given a name, it’s time to turn on the Weather Channel. That’s your first clue that it’s serious.
It’s kind of funny because I know someone named Harvey. But don’t worry, he goes by Joe. Especially now after the hurricane.
So once we got the news that this storm was legit, guess what I and all of Houston did?
Took a little excursion BACK TO WALMART!
I bought bread, peanut butter, ramen noodles, milk, and enough lunch meat to feed an army!
Don’t judge, my family IS an army.
Basically I just bought another week’s worth of food because no one had any idea what was about to happen or when Walmart would stock its shelves again.
So, once we hunkered down with all of our food, we turned on the Weather Channel and just waited to hear our fate. We watched it escalate through the categories, all the way up to Category 4. This storm would rival Katrina.
What was coming next would prove to the world what Texas is all about.
The First Couple Days
I heard about the storm on the Wednesday before… Let me check my calendar…
August 23rd I think. Texas is still having trouble with the days and the times and life…
Anyways, I heard about it Wednesday and the storm hit Friday. Friday’s rain was super light compared to what was coming. We got a couple inches of rain and it all drained pretty well. People started to wonder if maybe this thing isn’t as bad as everyone thought it was going to be.
Was this just another “Rainmaggedon” situation??
Did I buy all of that peanut butter for nothing????
NO. Don’t return that peanut butter just yet…
After Friday and Saturday, the rain kept coming. After a while, the drains began to fill up. Draining in Katy stopped and the flooding began. It was just like the Sunday school song,
“The rains came down and the floods came up!”
Church on Sunday was cancelled, stores closed, power across the city began to go out for lots of people, and the rain kept coming.
Things started to get scarier.
Things Get Real
Monday, August 28th, rolled around and people needed rescuing from their homes. At this point, people’s houses were flooded and destroyed. People were now stuck in their homes, some in waist deep water.
My brother has a very tall diesel truck, our house wasn’t flooded, and we were bored to tears watching the suffering on the Weather Channel. So we got in the truck, put posts on Facebook that we were rescuing, and got to work making ourselves useful instead of crying in all of our immense amounts of peanut butter.
I won’t go through all the rescues we did, that’s not what this is about. But some of the little moments we experienced with the victims we helped were very moving and it’s a part of the story I cannot pass over.
The first rescue we did was the first moment that my heart made a connection with my brain about how bad things were getting. When you sit at home in a dry house getting all your information from the news, you don’t really understand the magnitude of the suffering of those displaced.
Our first rescue was a larger one, 6 women and children that needed a ride to the local shelter. The men stayed behind in the house. Don’t ask me why… I don’t know.
When we picked them up, we had to squish in that truck and I ended up holding a little girl that was probably no older than 4. She was wet, cold, and trembling in my lap. I tried to make conversation with her about the rain and how we were taking her somewhere safe and dry. She was sweet and spoke a little, but she was terrified and confused.
As I held that little girl, trying not to cry, I realized that the suffering on the news was happening to my neighbors. This family lives down the street from us in our same neighborhood. This isn’t just another story in the news, this is happening to real people that I am able to physically help.
We hear so much in the media of terrible things happening across the globe. But very few times are those things in our homes and neighborhoods, affecting our family and friends, and wreaking havoc on our city.
Harvey is the first hurricane that I can remember that has actually affected me personally.
Harvey has brought our community together in a mutual understanding that, no matter race, gender, or religion, humans help humans because it’s the right thing to do.
Texans help Texans because we’re Texans, and that’s what were all about.
Don’t mess with Texas.
Seek Adventure with Christ,
Thanks for reading! Part 2 is coming soon and I will be talking about more rescues, life in the local shelter, and helping out law enforcement, fire departments, and the national guard.