Saturday, 26 August 2017

Hope For The Best

Hurricane Harvey has been pounding the Texas coastline this weekend. Having been to Houston and discovering a number of incredible sights and places in and around the Texas city, I am going to use this platform today to express my thoughts and wishes that Texas comes out of this waterlogged but safe. The amount of rainfall and flooding that has been described thus far is beyond belief, and there have been reports of people being displaced from their homes as the water rises along the coastline. To say this storm has been destructive might be the understatement of the year.

There is no getting around the obvious in that Houston will never be the same after this storm. Some estimates have the rainfall to be more than fifty inches of rain as Hurricane Harvey weakens into a tropical storm. That's the annual rainfall amount for Houston in a normal year, not a weekend of rain. That's simply astounding.

When I visited Houston, I arrived at the same time that Hurricane Hermine was weakening into a tropical storm. As I listened to local weather reports, the speed in which it made landfall caught me on a highway bridge with a number of other cars as we approached the northern outskirts of the city. It was almost a surreal sight to literally witness a wall of water moving towards you as you sat motionless in your car and helpless to what was about to happen next. The last thing I remember seeing before being engulfed by the torrential downpour was people abandoning their cars on the highway below the bridge for higher ground underneath the bridge.

I have never seen rain like Hermine dumped on the group of us on the bridge that day. It was an incredible sound to hear that much water fall on the car that day. I couldn't see the car that sat a foot or two away from my front bumper, and the rail on the side of the bridge had disappeared into the downpour. For as long as I live, I don't think I'll ever forget the awesome power of the rain that day and how small it made me feel in its volume and sound.

While the final tally on rainfall was a mere five inches - ten times less than what Harvey was going to dump on Houston - it was an incredible and surreal feeling to see the sun come out and shine brightly mere minutes after witnessing a moving waterfall pass over my vehicle. There was definitely a lot of water filtering into the storm drains, but this is where my experience moves away from what is currently happening in Houston.

Harvey moved in on Houston today, so this is only going to be the tip of the iceberg as the storm slows to nearly a stop over the Texas metropolis. My hope is that every person in Houston finds a safe spot to take refuge if they couldn't make it out of the city. If - more likely when - they do get the forecasted fifty inches of rain, there's going to be a lot of water in the streets, in the buildings, and in vehicles around Houston. It's going to be humid in Houston for a while thanks to Harvey.

Be safe, Houstonians. Help each other. Help the animals and pets. Do whatever you can to save, salvage, and hold onto your great city and its architecture. Talk to one another. Keep each other company, especially if people get separated from one another. Share supplies and knowledge, and offer up shelter and refuge if you can. You'll get through this, but it won't be easy.

If anyone is looking to help, there are probably a pile of charitable options available. The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are good places to start. They're going to need as much help to get Houston back on its feet.

Until next time, keep Houston in your thoughts.

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