The good news is that my girlfriend, our animals and I am fine. I think my decision to move from a house that nearly flooded during the Memorial Day flood of a couple of years ago to the fourth floor of a concrete-block midrise apartment was a good one. My parents likewise, are fine. They experienced some street flooding but it didn’t get into any houses in their neighborhood. Ditto for Kirby and Lori.
The bad news is that I can’t say the same for tends of thousands of others in the Houston area, who have suffered catastrophic flooding of their homes and are being evacuated, in many cases by boat or by helicopter. Some of my friends have homes that have taken on water, or have roofs that are leaking from the sheer amount and duration of rainfall. The amount of rain that has fallen over the Houston area over the past three days has been unprecedented; the total rain amounts are easily going to surpass those for Tropical Storm Alison, whose massive 2001 flood was until now the region's benchmark for a devastating rain event.
|Jordan Tessler, Washington Post|
Entire neighborhoods are flooded. Rivers and bayous are out of their banks and continue to rise. The city's roads and highways are underwater and travel around the area is next to impossible. Public transportation has been suspended; school districts have canceled classes for the week. Both airports are closed until at least Wednesday. Floodwaters have forced Ben Taub Hospital to be evacuated and have knocked a local TV station off the air. The visual reality of the flood is stunning:
It's not over yet, either. Harvey remains at tropical storm strength, and is forecast to loop back out over the Gulf of Mexico and come in again closer to the city. This means that more rain is probably on the way:
Some corners of social and traditional media are already comparing Harvey to Hurricane Katrina. It’s too early, of course, to survey the true impact of the storm, especially since it’s not over yet; it’s going to take weeks to truly understand Harvey’s devastation. But when I see the images on the news - of desperate people being plucked from their roofs by helicopters, of people walking through waist-deep water to seek shelter, of senior citizens sitting in floodwater while they wait to be rescued, of evacueees being sent to the George R Brown Convention Center - the parallels to Katrina are eerily similar.
I’ve been told to stay home from work for the next couple of days, so I’m not going to go anywhere. I will post more updates as the situation warrants.