by Nicky De Lange
My last column was about hurricanes from the past that still haunt me. Luckily – or unluckily, perhaps – Hurricane Harvey chased all those memories right out of my brain.
Up until now, I think the most frightening storm I’ve experienced was Hurricane Alicia in 1983. Unlike Harvey, Alicia was a big windstorm rather than the watershed Harvey turned out to be.
Alicia knocked down tons of trees, branches, signs and buildings in one terrifying night. Harvey, on the other hand, produced almost as much rain as Noah experienced on the ark. Depending on where you were during our recent storm, you could have experienced as much as 50 inches or more of rainfall.
Worst of all, it just kept on raining day after day after day.
Texas City fared pretty well, thanks to the Dike and those amazing pumps that dump all the excess water into Moses Lake.
It didn’t hurt to have a few lulls in the downpour, giving all that precipitation a chance to run off rather than pool up and flood roads and overflow drainage ditches.
Our son, his wife and their two pre-schoolers weren’t so fortunate. They live on the north side of Houston close to Katy. Their neighborhood has never experienced flooding. Until Hurricane Harvey. After a few days of heavy rain they had water coming into their home. By 5 a….m. one morning they had to evacuate before the water got too deep to drive through.
By that time Dickinson was under mandatory evacuation, League City was flooding and most of the roads in our county were impassible. Somehow they managed to get down to League City but had to detour from I-45 to Highway 3 because of flooding. They still had to get through Dickinson, which was even worse.
They arrived around 7 a.m., exhausted and stressed. But worse was yet to come. A few days later they started receiving reports from neighbors about the depth of the water in their subdivision. A few days later, when some of the water had drained enough to drive, my son and my husband made the trip to Houston.
Thanks to the reservoirs having to release water, there was a good four feet of water in their home.
Their truck was submerged in the driveway. The good news was that a kind stranger offered to take them to the house by boat where they managed to rescue the two family cats from the second floor, where they’d left them with plenty of food and water.
Neither cat seemed to appreciate the boat trip back to dry land, but cats are like that.
And there we were, four adults, two children under six years old, and several cats who didn’t know or like each other, all under one hectic roof.
The story does have a happy ending. My son and his family were offered a really nice house close to work and school, thanks to generous friends.
They have a place to live while they get their home cleared out and repaired. Every one of us feels incredibly blessed that things turned out so well, considering the alternatives.
As for me, I’ll be praying daily for no more tropical storms or hurricanes during the rest of the season!
by Nicky De Lange