When Harvey Came to Houston


Growing up in Houston, my family and I experienced our share of hurricanes and floods. In a previous post, I talked about Hurricane Carla which paid us a visit in 1961. That was my first hurricane. I also remember Alicia in 1983, Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008 (oh, my!) …and then, there was Harvey.  

The only good thing about hurricanes is that they give you fair warning that they’re coming and, thus, you have time to prepare. On Thursday, August 24, after work, I went to my neighborhood Kroger store to buy some basic groceries and, it was a madhouse…a zoo, both in the parking lot and inside the store, as well as the gas station. Then, on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. I, along with my co-workers, were released from the job to make our final preparations. When I attempted to find water, it was through the Grace of God that I met a friend who directed me to our friendly neighborhood Whole Foods where I was able to obtain water. I was so glad to get home and stay inside! The rain officially began (at my place) at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, August 25, 2017. The rain continued all night and all day Saturday, with some significant lightning and thunder that night. On Saturday, the flooding of our street began and I discovered that Fountain View Dr. has great drainage! The rain would come in torrents for about 2 hours, then stop for about an hour and 1/2, at which time the flood water would drain from the street. It went through this cycle all night on Saturday and Sunday…2 hours of heavy, torrential rain, followed by a 1-1/2 hour break. When the rain would let up, some of us, included myself, who had ‘cabin fever’ would go outside and scope out the situation. We witnessed such sights as fire trucks on the street, people walking down Fountain View, whose vehicles has stalled out about a block away, and flashing red lights from the traffic signal which had been affected by the electrical storm. One thing’s for sure…it was a good way to meet and visit with neighbors!

Meanwhile, the local television news was showing coverage of the storm and I was transfixed, for 3 days straight to the images of streets, roadways and freeways which had been transformed in rivers and lakes. Where once cars and trucks had traveled, there were now people in boats going through the neighborhoods, ready and willing to rescue anyone who was prepared to leave their home to go the shelters which had been established.

As the rain pelted the outside of the sliding glass door in my living room, I had a myriad of thoughts running through my mind…I truly had never witnessed such a deluge and, yet, I felt that I was inside Noah’s Ark in my little apartment, as I prayed for those I watched on the news who were being rescued and being taken to the George R Brown Convention Center, which had been transformed into a gigantic shelter. Many touching stories were coming out of this and other area shelters of how God was moving in the lives of people all over the Houston area.

Day after day for almost a week, the storm raged on until, finally, the rain stopped and on Tuesday evening, August 29, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. Houston witnessed the appearance of a blue sky and white clouds! You would have thought we were all crazy, racing outside and snapping photos of a blue sky, but, what a beautiful sight it was!

The crisis was not over yet, though. The flood waters continued over several more days and, even a couple of weeks later, as I was driving to Memorial City Mall via Gessner Rd., I could clearly see the aftermath of what was a heartbreaking sight of carpet, furniture, and pieces of fencing piled in front yards and on sidewalks. Prayers and help began to pour forth as the Houston Strong campaign began and Houston began to witness the kindness and generosity of, not only neighbors helping neighbors, but people from all over the nation and even the world, descending upon Houston to offer a multitude of various kinds of help…whatever we needed, food, clothes, equipment, assistance in cleaning houses, hugs, counseling, you name it, evidence of love in action was everywhere!

It is still evident, even today, two months later, the memories, both bad, followed by wonderful and touching remain to bear witness of people willing to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus Christ to extend His Love to everyone who needs it.

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