A week ago we knew there was a tropical storm named Harvey roaring toward the Texas coastline, gaining strength as it made its way across the Gulf of Mexico. As Friday rolled around, the storm made landfall near Corpus Christi as a hurricane with powerful winds. It was not the landfall which would make Harvey a household word, however. It was the persistent rain Harvey would bring, and the damage that rain would do.
The rain fell all weekend and into this week, especially on the sprawling city of Houston and nearby towns and cities. We watched in horror as the streets, the highways, the subdivisions, the neighborhoods, the parks, and the waterways filled with incalculable gallons of water. By Monday morning it was estimated that twelve trillion gallons of rain water had fallen on Houston in a little over two days. That's a cube of water two miles wide, two miles long and two miles high. That's Biblical rainfall. That's the sky opening up and pouring rain for miles upon miles.
In 2005 when Katrina hit New Orleans about this time of year, Texas soon found itself facing a hurricane. Within a few weeks, Rita would emerge to attack the Texas coastline. After the lack of good planning for Katrina, the plan for Rita was to get Texans out of harm's way by evacuating the Houston region. That turned into a special kind of disaster, as millions fled the city for points north. The evacuation plan turned into a disaster, as traffic crawled to a standstill, gasoline reserves disappeared, and there simply was no place for all those people.
Because of the Rita experience, Texans learned it was best to hunker down and stay in place to ride out most tropical storms and hurricanes. And that's exactly what happened for Harvey. Texans hunkered down to weather the huge storm.
The story of Harvey unfolded on TV screens and spread among social media. Yes, the flooding was unprecedented. But so was the response. First responders stepped up throughout the region - police, firefighter, emergency medical personnel, utility companies, and just plain Texans who came from far and wide to help. Caravans of pickup trucks pulling personal boats made their way into the flooded areas - bringing volunteers who headed toward - not away from - the trouble. A catastrophe became an inspiration. Boat after boat made it into inundated communities, rescuing humans and their animals. These heroes were not waiting for FEMA. They were acting on their own because they care about helping their fellow Texans.
These are the times when Texas stands so tall. There is a can-do attitude which rises up when disaster befalls our state. In community after community, help arrives from ordinary Texans coming to the aid of others. Texas, our Texas. All hail the mighty State.
Copyright 2017, Jim "Pappy" Moore, all rights reserved.