Hurricane Harvey Update

Aug 30, 2017

This has been the most surreal and emotional week. I prepared for this storm as I always do, but really wasn't all that worried. We live 90 miles north of Galveston and the hurricane hit the Corpus Christi/Rockport area. I knew we would get a lot of rain, but we can handle it in the northern suburbs of Houston compared to the city since we're at a higher elevation. I was concerned the dam north of us would release water like it did last spring, which caused the lake across the street to overflow it's banks into the street. Our neighbors across the street directly on the lake almost flooded, but thankfully the water stopped right at their doorstep. I was hoping we wouldn't have a repeat of the previous year.

We had so many tornado warnings over the weekend that had us preparing to hide in a closet. It seemed that the worst had passed Sunday night and we even felt comfortable enough to walk down to a neighbor's house for a party. I couldn't sleep well that night and checked the storm at 3am on the weather channel app and social media. I noticed on our county's Facebook page that the lake north of us was going to start releasing 79,000 cubic feet of water per second. You didn't read that wrong...per second. I just knew the lake across the street was going to overflow again. I almost went down to the end of the street to check it out, but I was worried about snakes and even an alligator that may have also been released with the flood water. I waited until the sun went up at 7am and ran to the end of the cul-de-sac to find that in two hours the lake had overflowed it's banks and even into the main street leading to our neighborhood. We were completely flooded in.



The water on the left is covering the road.



There is always some comic relief in a disaster. There was a guy walking down the sidewalk with his nose in his phone and looked up at our new waterfront property. He turned right around as I heard under his breath, "I guess I'm not going to work today." I was about to have a panic attack, but that made me laugh.

I went back home and woke my husband up. He went down the street to the main entrance and said it was even worse than last spring. I couldn't go back out. I was just sick about it. That all changed when he got home and said that one of the neighbors at the entrance to the neighborhood was so close to flooding and needed help putting their furniture upstairs. We had just laughed with them the night before and to have such a turn around overnight was so upsetting. Most of the neighborhood came down to help. I could barely function as I looked out their dining room window to a river a foot away that should not have been there. The homeowner was obviously even more shell shocked and said she didn't know what to do. She said she just kept walking circles. I felt the same way and it wasn't even my home. I know many of you feel probably feel the way I do about my home. It's not about how big it is, what neighborhood it's in, how it's decorated, etc. I feel that many people think that is our focus in the design field. That's not it. It's your sanctuary and the center of your family. It doesn't matter how modest or extravagant, it's your safe place. I tried to clear my mind and get her things packed and moved. As I was going through the pantry I realized how weird I would feel to have the entire neighborhood go through my things. When she said she thought it was enough I ran out of there because I felt that it was not the time to linger.

I also needed to run right across the street to another neighbor to help. This was even worse because this is someone I'm close with and had been there many times to drink wine and watch Real Housewives. My nerves were so shot that I felt sick, hot, cold and on the verge of passing out. She had changed her mind about moving the furniture because she wasn't in danger yet of flooding and there was time to move things if needed. I went home and oddly cleaned my house. I felt like Monica from the show Friends who cleans when she was stressed. I honestly can't ever remember feeling like this because I'm normally really good in stressful situations.

Later that afternoon we went to a neighbor's house to decompress and met someone from the neighborhood on the lake across the street who flooded. His family was evacuated by the National Guard that morning via boat, but he stayed behind to try and save more furniture. He made his way to our neighborhood to stay the night by taking his kayak. I was on my way home to grab dinner for everyone and noticed it outside. Then I came back and was adamant that everyone eat the dinner I made. I swear I turned into my Greek grandmother making sure everyone was fed.




The kayak guy was very calm despite having four feet of water in his house. This is his neighborhood.



The model home behind us also flooded.



That night on the way home we noticed the water was starting to recede! The next morning it was down even further and no one in our neighborhood flooded at all. The kayak guy's neighborhood across the street was completely flooded. There were two other neighborhoods further down with some flooded homes. The model home in the neighborhood behind us was the only one that had water there. The dam had reduced the rate of water released once it wasn't in danger of being breached, which was the reason for the receding water.

Today, we ventured out to run errands and noticed hundreds of vehicles lined up and down the road on the previously flooded road.



They were also lined up inside the flooded neighborhood to help with the clean up. I even noticed someone coming up the road loaded down with pizzas for the people helping. My husband went over after work to help and everyone had already left. I'm not sure if they decided to call it a day or if they had gotten everything out. We're going to go by tomorrow and find out.

Here is an ariel view of the flooding across the street. The lake that overflowed wraps around the back. The dry cut-de-sac in the right corner is one of the streets in my neighborhood.



You can see the lake is almost back in it's bank from my backyard.



I am so proud of my friends, neighbors and fellow Texans. I haven't ventured outside my own neighborhood until today. I noticed that every mile I drove there was someone with a boat attached to their truck or someone in uniform on their way to help. It's amazing how this community pulled together and I know this extends well outside my neighborhood and county. Most of the shelters are at capacity for volunteers and even donations. It's been overwhelming, but seeing everyone pull together really helped me realize that it will all be okay. It also helped me not have an anxiety attack.

I don't know if this will work, but a neighbor took this video and it made me smile.

video


There is still a lot of work to do and re-building is estimated to take two years. Please donate what you can!



2 comments:

  1. You must live somewhere near Lake Conroe. So sorry about the flooding in your area. Many in my family have wet homes.

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  2. Jennifer. This is so scary and sad and I can see why it has upset you so much. I didn't know you were in the affected areas and just clicked over by chance. I hope writing this was therapeutic for you, and I imagine it might have been. Sounds like you have great friends and neighbors that were all there for each other, so I guess that's the positive. Wishing you all the best in the cleanup ��
    Stacy

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