A Tragedy That Struck Houston

As I bolted up in bed awakened by the terrifying sound I was thinking was my alarm clock. I was surprised to read the huge beaming red lights read 1:22 am. If it’s not my alarm clock, then what is it? As that horrible alarming noise kept sounding off I had realized it was a weather alert coming from my phone, reading storm advisory for Harris county till 4:30 am August 25, 2017. Taking me a few minutes before I came to my senses and realized what was occurring. I had remembered my mom monitoring the news that a hurricane, Hurricane Harvey was coming. Abruptly, I heard a defining crackle. A type of crackle you hear when pouring hot water over ice. As the noise filled my ears, a radiant flash brightened up my darkened room. I curled myself up into my blankets, covering myself up as if doing so was going to protect me from the storm. Hurricane Harvey just seemed to be gathering more and more power with each second that had passed by, the rain kept on pouring down, filling up the streets with water and the wind kept roaring. It felt like hours had gone by with no calming of this devilish storm.

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The next morning, I walked into the living room to see that my mom had the television on which had read “BREAKING NEWS”, this hurricane has already affected the whole city of Houston and the surrounding areas. Pictures of Houston under water everywhere, even the news stations were under water. This was the moment I had realized how bad this hurricane really was. Normally, every morning I would wake up and go feed my agriculture animals at the barn, a few miles from my house, so I got my rain boots and coat on and ventured out into the water. As my dad and I coasted slowly through the neighborhood, there were so many cars along the road that had already been flooded out. When we got to the front of our neighborhood, the water was getting higher and higher up on my dad’s old pickup truck, I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable traveling through all this high water. My dad and I paused and waited as other people in front of us were rushing through the water in big trucks, we noticed that most of them were making it through the gloomy water but others were slowly getting water. I had to think about what was worth it, the agriculture goats or me and my dad’s safety. So, we circled back around and went home.

Over the next few hours, tremendous amounts of rain poured over the entire Harris county, Houston area. By that evening I could sense the severity of the storm as no cars were now traveling down any street in our area. We have a wrecker driver neighbor who had access to the police radios and was keeping us informed on how bad things were around cypress and other areas. First responders were even stranded and trapped from helping people. Thousands of people were being rescued all across the Houston area. As the night fell, it was an eerie feeling as the water continued to rise. My parents have lived in our house for twenty years and have never seen anything close to being this bad. The water continued to rise, and the rain continued to fall more and more. I remember seeing the fright and concern in my parents’ eyes. All the neighbors and my parents were pulling all the cars as far up in the drive ways and yards, trying to spare them from being flooded. This was another night of no sleep.

The next day, thank god, we were granted a few hours with no rain at my house. I think this is what saved my house, as the water receded a bit. Later that evening it started up all over again. A couple hours later, three tornados touched down all within a mile from my house. Here come all the alarming weather alert’s again. I remember how sleepy everyone was, but my parents were too worried to sleep. My friends and some family members started posting pictures of devastation to their homes and neighborhoods. More and more people my family knew needed to be rescued or evacuated. Although it had been a long night, thankfully our house was still safe. Just a few streets over people took on a foot of water in their homes.

Finally, after the third, we saw the storm that had hit us and looped around, move on out of the Houston area. All and all a total of at least fifty-three inches fell over a course of three days in Harris county and surrounding areas. This horrendous hurricane was so unimaginable and scary, I hope I don’t see anything like it again in my lifetime. After the storm, I started to think about school starting and my senior year and all the things that I’d been looking forward to. That was quickly replaced with the news so many Houstonians had been displaced from their homes, that there would be a significant delay to the start of school. We quickly realized how things couldn’t go back to normal.

Transportation was poor, supplies and groceries needed to be restocked. Bread, water, gas, atm’s and other necessities were not so easily attainable. That whole next week we all had survivors’ guilt, driving through the town, getting a glimpse at people gutting and mucking out their homes, it was so devastating to see. Some neighborhoods still had water in the streets, making it hard for cleanup. My family and I wanted to help support everyone affected as much as we could, it just felt wrong sitting in our dry homes and knowing so many people had lost so much and were in pain and despair. We made up as many sandwiches as we could and set out to hand them out to neighborhoods close by that people had been working hard to clean out homes. I never thought a small sandwich would make someone so happy to. I felt so fortunate to be able to return to our safe homes.

Hurricane Harvey was a real eye-opener that things can change in a blink of an eye. Numerous weeks passed and clean up continued in the community. Life was gradually getting back to normal. The school year finally started, and people returned to work. After a year of clean up, most people are just now getting back into their homes after this devilish storm impacted our town.

03 December 2019

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