We are hunkered down in Northwest Houston with family waiting out the rains from Hurricane Harvey. Periodically I ask myself if this feels like it did to survive the Charlotte Fire. I need to check to see if we are re-experiencing trauma from the 2012 wildfire disaster that burned our home, and 60 others to the ground. The answer is a resounding no.
That does not take away the feelings of awe at what Nature has in store for humans who live in a built environment with whom she interacts. Last night in the middle of the night as I was working to keep the rain from flowing into the house it did nothing to keep me from feeling really tired. Today when I surveyed the ever-growing mounds of water in the backyard I did experience some of the same feelings of total awareness that I was not in charge. There was nothing I could do but be as prepared and as careful and smart as I could and simply react to what was in front of me. There is a lesson in there somewhere and if I were not so gosh-darned tired I could probably figure it out but reality bites and so does hauling water for more than half of the hours of the past 24.
Which leads me to a summary of our status. Mostly this is for friends and family who are wondering how we are doing but I am also aware that others might be searching for information about how the regular folks who are OK but interacting with Hurricane Harvey might be doing.
So, here goes.
We live in Montana in our replacement house from the 2012 wildfire. After so many years the replacement house feels like our house but remarkably different from what it would probably have felt like if we had just moved after our fire. It has only been the past six months that we have been able to afford to replace enough things that our house feels like “our house.” In fact, we have been living part-time in Houston with Mom, who is now 95. When we realized she was going to be in the Harvey mess, it was a battle to leave our house. Both of us were reluctant to leave home (we had just been home 48 hours from the previous Houston trip) and, as my spouse put it, “I don’t want to fly into the teeth of that storm.” Yet, we knew it was the right thing to do and we were glad to have the experience from the fire, and from camping, to know what things would help if we have to ride our the storm. Being frequent travelers with Delta helped too. We were able to get tickets on a flight 12 hours after we decided to travel. We had to give up our free first class tickets for coach seats but I was relatively confident that if we got on the plane at 6 am we could actually arrive in Houston by 2 pm which was, by my estimates based on the computer models, about 8 hours ahead of the storm.
The sunrise views of Salt Lake City were spectacular.
I had no confidence at all we would find supplies when we landed. Like I did as we evacuated our house before the fire consumed it in 2012, I made my way through thoughtfully picking up practical items like lanterns with re-chargeable batteries and food that could be eaten with minimal cooking. Thinking of how much Mom likes her cup of coffee, I even went to the camping gear and got the coffee pot knowing the Kerig would not work without a power cord if we lost power. After a little thought I decided to bring our camping dishwashing set since it is soooo cool. I grabbed food from the garden and packed batteries. I cruised by Amazon and ordered a solar panel and battery. Not knowing how the delivery might go I split our chances and sent one by Fed Ex and one by Amazon to one of their lockers that is located near the house. We have the solar panel if the battery ever emerges from the flood waters.
The flight into Houston was eerie, we flew over huge parking lots that were deserted.
The storm was clearly gathering on the horizon although we had no weather trouble getting in.
The rain really started about 24 hours after Harvey made landfall. Throughout the night we received 2 to 3 inches per hour of rain. Being a science geek, I made a rain gage out of a take out container. It holds three inches of rain and I was dumping it hourly throughout most of the night. The rain slacked off to an inch an our between 5 and 8 am so I dumped water and took a nap.
The trusty rain gage is perched on the big red pickup truck we rented in case we needed to evacuate. The roads flooded almost immediately so here we are with a gorgeous red pickup truck rain gage.
It is now 24 hours since the rains started and my rain gage tells me that we have had 28 inches of rain. I confess to getting confused in the middle of the afternoon so maybe I am double counting 2 inches but it is still a lot of rain!
Speaking of which, it is time to go dump the water. I will continue the post in about 30 minutes.