I live in NE houston and it’s been raining for three days straight. The weather channel is telling us that the rain will continue through the week. The challenges for us are only just beginning.
I wanted to answer a few questions I keep seeing asked all over social media.
Why didn’t we evacuate
For one thing, most of us were told NOT to evacuate. This isn’t some conspiracy theory or the fault of an irresponsible mayor. Over two million people live in Houston. There was not time to evacuate everyone. No one knew the hurricane would be a category 4 until it was about to hit land. And by that time, it was too late. In fact, the last time Houston tried to evacuate, was Hurricane Rita. See the photos below on how well that went.
So many people died on the roads because they got stuck in traffic and the roads flooded.
To evacuate us safely would take more time than we had, so most of us sheltered in place. Houston has been through DOZENS of massive hurricanes, but none of them have been like this.
I'm tired of hearing people complain how Houston should've evacuated. Here are some photos from memory lane for those…
Those of us who are not underwater are now stuck. Many can’t leave our neighborhoods. Others can’t leave their homes. Those of us with dry homes and dry streets still can’t get out of our little area to go and help (unless we had a boat). Flash flood warnings are still coming and going, so if we were to leave our homes to try to help anyone it’s more likely that we’d end up needing to be rescued ourselves than we would actual be able to help.
We feel so helpless. Just watching the waters rise.
It’s still raining.
It’s been raining for days and it’s still coming down.
Last night dams from up north had to let out water into our already flooded rivers and bayous and we watched the waters rise again.
Places who have had power for the last few days are now losing it.
Grocery stores are open for a few hours each day (if that) and if you can make it to one to re-stock your shelves you try because you don’t know when it will be your turn to lose power or when you might find your roads impassable.
Every few hours we get alerts on our phones telling us to stop calling 911 unless it is a life threatening emergency. 911 is overworked and people in near death situations are having trouble getting through because people with “only” minor tragedies don’t know who else to call.
Houston is huge.
And Houston is broken.
We can normally reach anyone within an hour – but right now we are stuck texting and calling every hour just to be sure everyone is still okay.
People who were fine Saturday got water in their homes Sunday.
People who were dry Saturday and Sunday evacuated last night and this morning.
And for those still wondering why don’t we leave now?
We’re stuck. The interstates are closed. This storm is so big we would have to drive through hours of rain and likely get stuck somewhere along the way. And for some of us, we can’t even get to an interstate or out of a neighborhood because we. are. stuck.
The water is everywhere.
All we can do is wait. And be ready to rebuild when the rain stops.
I know many people in safe(r) places digging through their closets today, organizing their homes with all their things that they plan to donate the moment we can get out on the roads.
For my family, today we are safe. Today we are dry. Today we are without power. Today they told us they might be shutting off our water, so those pans and bowls of water on our countertop might just come in handy after all.
Today we are stuck in this part of town with no safe way to get anywhere else.
Today we are thankful for what we have left, as we wait.
Wait for the rain to stop in a few days.
Wait for the waters to go down so we can rush out and help our neighbors.
Wait for our city to look more like a city and less like part of the ocean.
The river is still rising.
Records are still being broken in the worst possible way.
And it is still raining.
*UPDATE august 29 – For more photos click here.
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