I "Survived" Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Ike and NOW Hurricane Harvey! The VAST difference between these storms, although all caused destruction and devastation, Harvey didn't just make landfall and move on like Rita and Ike, He REFUSED to leave. Still a named storm 117 hours after landfall, Harvey was the longest a Texas landfalling hurricane that remained a named storm after landfall!! Harvey caused catastrophic flooding in our part of Southeast Texas with rainfall totals of 47.35 inches of rain between August 26th-August 30th. Monday the 28th, driving into work I began to notice the widespread flooding across the area but it wasn't until Tuesday (the 29th) as I left work early to prepare for the impending storm to hit that I realized how serious the situation was and, well also realizing the storm WAS already here!! I was traveling from Beaumont to Mid County in conditions I really should not have been driving in! It was around 2pm and the rain was falling so hard I could barely see but I HAD to get home!! On 69 driving around 30MPH the entire way home, white-knuckled the entire way I finally made it to Mid County ONLY to realize once I got off the freeway, I had NOWWHERE to go. I mean EVERY access road was underwater and I knew my little Honda WAS NOT going to make it through the rising flood waters! Finally, at a snails pace, I made it to the Nederland Avenue Exit and the access road seemingly didn't have standing water so I made the decision to exit and take Nederland Ave home. BIG mistake! As I drove down the road with a big truck in front of me "parting the waters" then my car literally began to float. I began to panic and realized I couldn't turn off the road because there were no "high places" in sight. I continued behind the big truck praying the entire time knowing I was in a situation I have "preached" time and time again to others to avoid...high water, TURN AROUND DON'T Drown but I was "stuck"! Only by the grace of God did I make it off the flooded Avenue only to discover my neighborhood was completely underwater. My heart sank, calling my husband in a panic to come "rescue me" in his big truck! He was able to put to my mind to ease informing me that our house was high and dry but the way in was flooded. Not a coincedience, in my opinion, that I had to find a high spot to park and that just happened to be a Church parking lot, the ONLY spot I eyed that wasn't taking on water! Luckily that is it. We were very fortunate but what happened to my beloved community was absolutely HEARTBREAKING!! As I woke up that Wednesday to what seemed to be a bad dream, I watched in disbelief at the news stories on Fox News and The Weather Channel and KFDM Channel 6 documenting the full extent of Harvey's wrath. I was completely broken, My 9 year old walked in and I could not contain my emotions or tears and I did the best I could to explain what had happened. In the days following. I felt a sense of "guilt" because we had no damage whatsoever while I witnessed many of my friends and loved ones lose so much if not EVERYTHING so I did my best to get out and help others and volunteered with my child so he can understand a little better how very blessed we are! I got an "front row seat" to witness the outpouring of love and support within our community and from all over the Country. How we ALL banded together and, if only for a moment, forgot about all the craziness in the world and remembered what it means to "Love Your Neighbor" It was and is still evident weeks after a storm that caused destruction but could NOT break our Spirit!
In the weeks, months, perhaps even years it will take for our communities to rebuild and recover I just pray that same compassion and humanity displayed during the toughest of times for us in Southeast Texas will endure!!
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