Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Steve, Stella, Esther, Lily, Safe At Our House — For Now

The heavy rains have continued for hours; the power goes down and up several times an hour; we just saw on TV that the bayou nearest us, like many of the bayous in the city, has just topped its banks. NWS is calling it a "flood emergency," which apparently is the highest level of warning. This is not fun, but neither is it life-threatening at this point. Our street is not significantly flooded, though I suspect that will happen before the night is out. Whatever the status of the street, we're not leaving home.

One long-time local news anchor called it a "flood event of historic proportions," the like of which he had seldom seen in his 42 years on TV in Houston. Indeed it is. I've never seen any one event like it: Hurricane Alicia Tropical Storm Allison probably came closest in the flooding department, and Hurricane Ike blew out more transformers, but for a storm with no hurricane-force winds and at most a few tiny tornadoes (the tornado watch has been canceled), there has not been a worse one in my lifetime.

A lot of people are losing a lot of property, especially vehicles. Some people are getting off a flooded freeway by driving the wrong way... at the instruction of patrol officers on the freeway. One TV station happened to show the post office where I have a PO Box; seeing the depth of the water outside, I hope my mail is not utterly soaked. Here at home I've scanned the edge of the den for water coming in from the inch or two covering the patio, but so far the seal is holding. Whether that will continue to hold now that the bayou has topped its banks, I have no idea.

I'd like to tap more, but the lights are occasionally flickering, the UPS is fluttering into action, etc., so I'd better STFU and post. If you want to see pics of the ongoing disaster, take a look at local ABC station's web site, wOur Street, eastboundhich I think is abc13.com.

Wish us luck. I'll post more tomorrow, if the creek don't rise...

UPDATE about 8:00 AM 5/26/2015 (next morning): wow. With the sun up, we can see water curb-to-curb in the street in front of our house, but only because we live at the low point in the block... there are stretches of pavement visible in the sunlight that couldn't be seen at night, only a couple of houses away from us, but only eastbound: westbound is flooded:

Our Street, westbound
Our Street, eastbound

But on TV, the city shows the results of devastating flooding, streets turned into rivers, cars wholly underwater in underpasses, people who were stranded some miles from home who escaped and abandoned their cars (what else could they do?) and walked through thigh-deep water, presumably to find out what awaited them when they got home. One of my first thoughts: in many parts of the city, this is going to be a public health nightmare.

The county has not given the go-ahead to return to the streets, and TV reporters (and Mayor Annise Parker) emphasize that there is very little we could do if we had that permission. Here, we have plenty of (human and cat) food in‑house (after all, "hurricane season" is about to begin and we were stocked, and we have electricity), so we'll spend some unexpected quality time at home with the kitties.

I'll tap more as I learn more...

AFTERTHOUGHT: hmmm...  maybe now is an appropriate time for me to start reading The Shock Doctrine...


  1. Glad to hear you and the gang are still safe and dry. Hope it stays that way.

  2. Glad to hear you and the gang are still safe and dry. Hope it stays that way.

    1. Thanks for the kind wishes, fallenmonk. All things considered, matters could be worse. I do have a hunch we're going to get very tired of the aftermath starting a day or two from now. Time will tell, and not very much time at that!

  3. Stay safe my friends....thinking of you!

    1. Thanks, Michael... you stay safe yourself, from all the things (fire, drought, etc.) that have been happening in Calif.!

  4. Say, are you Texans still considering seceding?

    (Sorry. Irresistible!) But if you figure a way to send the water to us Californians, the material damages would be paid for. I second fallenmonk!

    1. What's that you say, Shirt? "Secession"? Oh... I thought you said "C-section," which as far as I know only a small number of us are considering! ;-)

      If you can figure out how to transport the excess water we got in the last 24-36 hours, you're welcome to it; I know you've had a dry spell in CA.

  5. Aside to all... Stella actually went to work today, late, at the instruction of her employer. If I understood her correctly, she only had to backtrack to circumnavigate a flooded area one time. Things are definitely improving here... if we don't get any more rain. The ground is absolutely saturated!

  6. Well, Texas has taken care of its drought and refilled some of the West Texas reservoirs. Glad to see that you and the ladies managed to avoid becoming part of the bayou, Steve.

    Shirt, these kinds of events are too spotty to really affect large-scale droughts like California. I would to have readily donated three-quarters of all the rain we have had on Gulf Coast in the last 5 years to California.

    1. Thanks, Bryan. I overslept this morning (it's gloomy gray outside) and awoke to find it raining (see my next post) and Stella on her way out the door toward work [sigh]. The bayou you refer to is about 3 or 4 blocks south of us, so our being swallowed by it is not impossible. Keep your fingers crossed for another day...

      Shirt, if anything saves us today, it's the fact that much of yesterday and last night passed with virtually no rain. Still, the ground is utterly saturated, so our fate today is entirely a matter of chance and rainfall.



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