I’m going to take a break from the re-telling of my Antarctic adventures to talk about a current topic that is near and dear to my heart. I just want to shed some light on the current events that are unfolding in Texas because apparently the news media and the rest of the country aren’t really sure what’s happening down here. Y’all we are devastated down here. I’m afraid words in my blog post can’t even translate my feelings.
But nonetheless here we go….a tale of Harvey and how he needs to get the hell outta Texas. We’re going to break this thing down: The good, the bad, and the ugly. But we’ll give all the bad and ugly first because I’d like to end this thing on a good note.
Harvey began as a teeny-tiny tropical wave off the coast of Africa. No one was really worried, either these things fizzle out or they head up the eastern seaboard. It headed towards Yucatan where it hit as a weak tropical storm and crossed into the Gulf of Mexico where it turned from tropical depression to tropical storm (for all my friends who don’t experience hurricanes – their power comes from sucking up moist, warm air over the ocean, land weakens them). We knew at that point it was most likely headed for Texas.
Coastal Texans are tough people. I’m a dirty coastal person…I have been my whole life and have invested my life long career into being a protector of this coast. We are prepared for tropical storms at the drop of a hat. And that is what the meteorologists told us to plan for so we did…
For most of us that includes a strip to the liquor store (whiskey, beer, and margs!):
The grocery store for sure, case of water, some bread, Chef Boyardee, more beer perhaps?
Also don’t forget that ice for margs, go quick before all the Houston Texans coolers sell out – otherwise the store is simply out of coolers:
For many of us it’s that last chance to get your fill of Whataburger, TexMex, or even a big bowl of gumbo:
As the queen of memes in this blog….let’s not forget about the DANKEST hurricane edition memes….here’s a few featured ones I pulled for this blog:
For days we were told to expect a tropical storm to make landfall in Corpus Christi. They took all the precautions of warning citizens. People began stocking up, making plans, doing normal things that any coastal Texan would have.
However, Harvey slowly became a category one storm.
A category one storm is nothing a tried and true coastal Texan couldn’t handle, that just means buy more beer and some candles ’cause the lights are going to go out.
It didn’t stop there. Within hours Harvey began stalling over the Gulf sucking up more and more warm, moist air and frankly just got even uglier. Before the Texas Coast knew it – he became a category 3 storm OVERNIGHT. But that wasn’t the worst….within hours of landfall he mowed right over an extremely warm water eddy and became a category 4.
Our friends in South Texas did what they could. They began boarding windows, collecting their things, and getting the hell outta Dodge. Most people leave for a 3….everyone leaves for a 4 or 5. They did everything they could.
I want everyone to take a minute and put yourselves in their shoes….if you had a single duffle bag to load your most prized possessions and things you needed to survive on what would you take? At that moment in time you have to prepare for the worst…you never know if you’re going to come back to a standing house. As someone who has had to do this…it rips your heart into a million pieces and it’s harder than you think. The family photos hanging on the wall, great grandma’s dining room table, your child’s crayon art on the fridge…it gets left behind. Just let that sink in.
Harvey made landfall as a strong category 4 storm. Like a coward he came under cover of darkness. You don’t know terror until you can’t see the thing attacking everything you love and hold dear around you. Like Jon Snow, I know nothing as the only storm to that degree I have ever weathered was Hurricane Ike back in 2008 – much weaker than Harvey.
I sat and watched in terror all night long as this thing made landfall. My heart ached and I grieved. No one would see the full extent of the damage until morning came. I spent my entire summer working out of Port Aransas and Corpus Christi…for the short time I spent there it holds a dear place in my heart along with Rockport and Port O’Connor…
I cried as I knew that despite being tough coastal people – that these towns with such little warning were in big trouble. I thought back to the small business owners, boat owners, and people that had lived in generational houses. How was it even fair for me to watch from the comfort of my apartment as they endured the night.
I woke up in tears…seeing the place where I spent a lot of my this summer nearly leveled. There were no words. These are just a few pictures of the devastation in Port Aransas and Rockport….
There are more aerial images showing just the extent of damage online.
Harvey continued to make his trek inward like a tortoise through molasses he began hovering over Victoria where he dumped inches and inches of rain. The devastation in Victoria was just the beginning of the flooding.
At this point – I want you guys to think back to how fat and ugly Harvey was…his devastation did not stop with our friends in South Texas, he began kicking up moisture off the coast and band after band of heavy rain, lightning, and tornadoes because hitting the greater Houston area and the coastal plains in between Rockport and Freeport.
See each one of those fragments to the right hand side of the main storm? That’s what refer to as the “dirty side”. This is the side containing heavy rain and tornadoes.
While it doesn’t have the same wind that the main storm has – we were getting gusts of up to 100 mph.
Each one of these bands began hitting the greater Houston area in waves. The first night – there was no space between these waves and that’s when the flooding began.
Readers – I have lived on this coastline my entire 24 year life. I have never been so scared by a storm in my life…even Ike. These bands dumped rain like I had never seen. Five to six inches per hour. From midnight until nearly 7 am it poured in League City. Every 15 minutes the emergency alert system warned me of flash flooding and tornadoes. I gathered Orange Julius (for those who don’t know him, that’s my demon spawn cat) and we sat in the closet as wind shook our whole apartment. During that time I knew that I could only begin to feel a fraction of what folks in South Texas could feel.
I want you to know that I woke up that morning, and it felt very much like a scene from some apocalyptic movie. Residents slowly creeped out as light broke to assess the damage. What I woke up to shocked me.
Our road had become a river. 4-5 feet deep. Cars trapped. People sitting on the median. By the grace of some higher power….my apartment complex had been spared. After walking around for a bit and clearing some storm drains to ensure our complex continued to drain – I fired up the computer to see how everyone else fared.
These are just a few images of Houston, TX
Tears. Dickinson had flooded. Babies and elderly being rescued from rooftops after being stranded, people getting stuck on the road ways. Downtown Houston was underwater. Areas that historically had never flooded – submerged. We had surpassed 500 year totals….experts have even began referring to this as a 800 year storm.
Suburbs of Houston were flooded, east Texas, south of Houston, even our friends in Louisiana felt Harvey’s wrath. And this was day two. As I type we begin day 3 and it is STILL raining.
These are images from Dickinson, TX
As rain continues to fall and Houston’s many bayous come out of their banks, reservoirs flood, lakes begin pounding at the walls of dams, water has to be leaked into our cities.
There is no escape. More homes continued to flood – thousands of outsiders flocked to our cities to aid those who were trapped….and for most of us we watched in horror. The anger I feel of being stuck in my apartment watching my neighbors be rescued…being “safe” when I watch so many others around me suffering – it is simply not fair.
Just to put things into perspective – this storm is NOT moving. It is sandwiched by a nice high pressure keeping it over the Gulf just gobbling up warm, moist air like a fat kid eating a chocolate cake. It is headed back for the Gulf where it is expected to make a third landfall.
My little hometown of Dayton, TX alone is breaking records at receiving over 40 inches of rain. The National Weather Service has had to start adding colors to their traditional maps just to keep up with the amount of rain we are receiving.
Most of this post will relate to Houston – because that is where I am from but guys…do NOT forget that South Texas was hit harder than we were….I want to share this post with you as well to give you an idea of the extent of damage:
Things are very, very bad here folks. Which brings us to our next section – the UGLY.
The first thing I want to discuss are all the crazy ass hazards that exist in flood situations. Like alligators, chemical spills at huge refineries that become damaged, huge floating mats of fire ants, giant snakes slithering up walls and fences….as if this situation wasn’t nightmarish enough let’s add all this to the mix!
Oh and not to mention all of the lovely looters who deserve to shot right between the eyes…come on guys it is TEXAS – I have not heard a single good outcome of the lootings.
SPOILER ALERT – Y’all are getting shot. This is TEXAS. You knock down my door and you’re gonna get rambo dual wielding AR-15’s… mmmkay?
Also please pray for us as most Whataburgers are currently closed. Is it now appropriate to pronounce it “Water-burger”?
So here comes the ugliest part – if you get your panties up in a twist easily I advise you skip this section I am going to get about as colorful as a 64 pack of crayons (with the sharpener).
I am about to get very emotional and throw some solid logic at your feet (come on guys this is a brutally honest blog…you already got to read about me peeing my pants so did you expect any less??).
Let me just share what a small subsection of the rest of the world has to say about this….
Taking a deep breath and cracking my fingers real quick.
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!? I hope you never need rescuing. I hope you never have to feel the pain and anguish that we feel in Texas. You get to sit behind your safe little computer screen and make all sorts of opinions about us don’t you? If I could reach through the screen and slap the shit out of you I would. People are DYING. LOSING EVERYTHING THEY OWN. I hope you feel this pain for the crappy things you have to say.
Let’s talk a little bit about evacuation….since my friend at the top (this is someone I personally encountered) thinks she’s knows everything about our situation. Since CNN thinks they know.
How many of y’all lived through hurricane Rita in 2005? Did you watch it on the news? Were you actually one of us who spent HOURS evacuating?
It took my family 17 hours to make a normal 2 hour trip. Taking back roads. People DIED evacuating…HUNDREDS died. Even worse? Thousands became trapped on the road in their cars as the storm made landfall. I am scared to death weathering this storm in my apartment do you know how bad that would feel in a small car?
Let’s also talk about how BIG Houston is. We’re talking a population of over 6 million. and that is Houston itself. I’m not including all the surrounding area (Katy, Rosenberg, Pearland, Webster, people in between on the coast, Baytown, my little hometown in Dayton…you get the point. Here’s a post that sums up what I’m trying to say pretty well:
OVER 6 MILLION PEOPLE. We only have a handful of roads going North could you imagine this flood with thousands of us being trapped in our cars? The mayor of Houston absolutely made the right call by not evacuating the city. He saved lives that could have been stranded and lost. The last I heard the death toll was in the teens. Sitting here calling our citizens ignorant for doing as authorities told them is like a slap in the face after they have lost everything and I’d like to physically slap you in the face girl at the top for sitting here and insulting all of the victims of this storm.
Girl at the top wanted to argue with me about how she went through Sandy, etc. I just want to you to realize what a drop in the bucket these other disasters were compared to Harvey (not that they were any less devastating to the victims…but I just want you to get an idea of scale before you apply conditions to us):
Bottom line is – if you don’t know what’s going on here and haven’t ever had to participate in a mass evacuation of the Houston area…please kindly shut up. You do not get to form an ignorant opinion on this nightmare.
Here comes the next one…race and politics. Houston is not the rest of this country right now. I have seen whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, people of all colors of the rainbow helping each other out. We are all Texans and while the rest of the world may be divided I have never seen such a sense of community here.
I don’t care what entity you believe in, what color your skin is, who you voted for, ANY of it. Disasters DO NOT CARE ABOUT ANY OF THIS, so why should I? If you need my help I am going to be there…bottom line. I am so happy to see everyone helping their fellow man and sharing my view.
So you twats or tweeters or whatever you’re called…I think I liked the first one best…you can shove some thumbtacks under your toenails and kick the wall.
Also do you people realize how much this state does for you? You’re going to.
Texas owns 1/3 of the nation’s oil refineries, guess where most of them are located? Corpus Christi, Houston, and its surrounding areas. I’m sure our twitter friends will be the first ones complaining about the hike in gas prices. I’ll sum it up quickly with a short quote taken from a friend of mine:
You are going to feel this. Gas prices are going to skyrocket. Oil refined products, everything from PVC pipe to dry cleaning fluid, will rise in price. The stock market will take a hit. New Orleans is a fantastic city, but it’s not a major economic force. Houston is the center of the nation’s energy industry. It’s home to dozens of Fortune 500 companies. And 85% of it is under water. It may be this way for weeks. The aftermath of Katrina captured the world’s attention. The aftermath of Harvey is going to grab you by the lapels, and shake you ’til you’re cross eyed.
I am done with the ugly now. I just can’t write anymore. My heart cannot bear to write about this anymore. I’ve already had to crack open a bottle of wine to write this.
Here comes the good (this is my favorite part of this post) get ready to have your faith in humanity restored. God Bless each and every one of the people I am about to mention (and the many more who I haven’t…there are thousands upon thousands helping).
We are Texas proud. We are Texas strong. It does not matter if this damn storm dumps an ocean on us we will pull through, help one another, and build an even better Texas.
To kick this section off check out this post….it does a good job explaining our ways in the south and how we’re trained from a young age to be helpers. I could not agree with it more! I’ll always remember my Nana pushing me to “do at least a single good deed for someone else” daily…whether it was unloading groceries for a lady in a wheelchair cart at the grocery store or helping my mom cook dinner. All these small acts translate into our innate ability and nature to help everyone around us in the event of large scale disaster.
Before I move into mentioning specific folks I just want you guys to read some really great posts and positive outlooks that I had to screen cap from my Facebook and share…this section is going to be a huge sharing of things I’ve seen on Facebook all week:
Guys this is just a drop in the bucket of the amazing people I know and have seen on Facebook…the first group I want to start out with are all the Sea Aggies down at Texas A&M University at Galveston . I spent the last 5 years of my life at that school and as a recent graduate…my peers never fail to make me proud of the amazing things they do. Even the little things during this disaster like coordinating boat pick ups, warning other students of road hazards, or starting a thread on our student page so that we could offer housing for students in need.
One of my best friends from college is a manager at Petsmart on the island, his store even donated several crates and items to help out with all the fur babies being rescued!
I also have some ties to our Islander friends at TAMU Corpus Christi (they are Aggies, too!) and they are doing some pretty amazing things. After traveling a whole day from being evacuated to San Antonio, my friend Ashley Ferguson went to Port Aransas the next morning to begin helping victims clean up.
This next group of Aggies (I hope I have all their names) went out and about in Dickinson, League City, Houston, and surrounding areas with their own personal boats and began rescuing people who were stranded. I want to personally say thank you to:
Austin Seth, Kyle Holmes, Hunter Woodcock, Paul Thorburn, Alex Nelson, Tommy Edwards, Elizabeth Schneider, Justin Leason, Wyatt Frehe, Bryndin Hartman, Andy Moffet, Parker Meek, Nick Lamb, Colton Lewis, Brett Stepanski, Avery Fuller, and Michael “Sharky” Marquez.
I wish I had pictures to represent each one of these brave and selfless Aggies. You are part of the reason why I am so proud to have graduated from TAMUG.
In addition to my Aggie friends so many other entities are performing boat rescues…I know a handful of folks who I went to high school with, local authorities such as our Texas Game Wardens, the Texas National Guard, local (and not local like the New Yorkers who came down) police and fire departments, and even the Galveston Island Beach Patrol came on jet skis.
This video shared below brought literal tears to my eyes…a shiver ran down my spine within the first few seconds – when a local boat owner was asked “What are you going to do?” and he responded “I’m going to save some lives.”
Check out the video by Space City Sports here….and get the tissues ready.
I also want to recognize the Cajun Navy – a group of duck hunters, fishermen, and all around good ol’ boys from Louisiana. These guys left the comfort of their own state to come and perform boat rescues. Once again, truly amazing. They saved so many lives in the past couple of days….and they have even given rise to our very own Texas Navy (which I hope to become a part of as soon as we buy a boat).
Countless food banks and churches have also been housing flood victims but one particular one that I’d like to mention is Emanuel Church over in Houston….not only have they been helping members of the community…they DROVE into the flooded areas to rescue people. The Garcias and Julian Macias are truly remarkable people who deserve a mention for the work they have done with their church.
While the rescues of our fellow man have been in the news…some overlooked stories include the rescue of man’s best friend and other assorted creatures. There are so many people working to help all our fur babies whether it’s my friend Corbin at Petsmart donating crates or these folks in Houston rescuing bats:
This gentleman decided to rescue a carp! How that happened with this entire region of Texas becoming an ocean…we’re not sure:
Also, this is literally me in the future. For those of you who don’t know…it is my dream to retire to the Hill Country and own a donkey ranch. I just love donkeys. This lady in Katy (ironic huh?) opened up her yard to several donkeys who were refugees from the flooding! David you better be glad we don’t have a back yard….
A friend of mine from high school even took his boat out and started rescuing dogs left behind in the floods (this is in addition to SEVERAL people he rescued). Thank you Casey Hicks:
By far one of my FAVORITE animal rescues in this whole ordeal came from my hometown in Dayton, TX where local farmers and ranchers drove cattle pastured in the river bottoms across town (down our main highway) to higher ground. Yes, I am from a little town in East Texas, and no, we don’t ride horses to school.
For this next section I want to take a minute to recognize the many local businesses in the area that are helping out! These folks will forever have my business for all the things they’ve done for us:
Y’all my blog’s name is Girl with the Big Bass….I’m super proud of the next place. I spend a lot of money there and boy am I proud I do….Bass Pro Shop is donating boats to rescue efforts and $40k worth of protein rich foods (jerky, meal replacement bars, etc.) to the American Red Cross…check out the article here.
This next kid may not be a business owner but he’s going places.
Check out this young man selling sweet tea and lemonade for Texas all the way up in Pennsylvania right here.
There are so many countless acts of charity and goodwill going on right now that it’s so hard to document all of them. I hope you’ve had your faith in humanity restored at this point.
The next group of folks I want to talk about in the “good” section are the Texas tough ones – the resilient bunch who no matter what hits them – they get right back up and stand their ground.
The first one I want to share is one of the most important men in my life – my sweet Grandpa:
And check out these Aggie engineers who thought quickly to keep their car from flooding:
Most of us who braved the roads once flood waters began receding were after staples like bread, milk, eggs (for me chicken strips)….check out these ladies who made their OWN bread when the going got tough and store shelves were wiped clean:
The next section of folks I’d like to highlight are the ones who have brought some serious sunshine into my life….the ones who’ve made me laugh until my sides hurt! These are the folks who are making the best of things and finding a way to smile even during the worst disaster we’ve ever seen.
I’d like to start with this adorable video of kids playing in the rain…their parents had the chance to make a hilarious home video:
Don’t kids just say the darnedest things?
The next video I want to share is of a man rocking out in his garage and reminding the rest of his neighborhood what it means to be an American. Watch it here.
The next group of people took the floods and time off work to participate in one of my all time favorite hobbies: FISHING. Check out these avid anglers!
In case you were wondering….they’re all my family! Left to right is cousin Keith with his bowfin, Uncle Ned taking advantage of Lake Conroe being at his doorstep, and baby cousin Carter fishing in the puddles.
The next rowdy bunch are all my beer drinkers and flood water floaters! Check out some of these posts and videos from people that did not let hurricane Harvey stop them from having a good time and making the best of things!
These guys had some company over at Brews Brothers earlier in the week – I am beginning to believe that Galveston is giving the Hill Country a run for its money…Shotgunning on Strand St….I’ll take it!
Speaking of Galveston…this reporter got a firsthand taste of Southern Hospitality and Galveston culture when he scored a six pack of Tiki Wheat!
What goes well with all that beer you ask? How about five boxes of macaroni and cheese and some battery operated flamingo lights…check out my friend Ashley making the best of things down in Galveston!
This next video shows some rescuers sharing a big blue bottle of water with some of the flood victims – I’m pretty sure everyone involved could have used a drink!
Now that we’re done with all the fun and games….
I want to end this with a video clip from two brave men who came here from Kentucky to help with boat rescues…he says he’s never seen so much love in a place in his life. Sir, I am so glad that you got a taste of what my Texas is like – even at the worst times.
That’s it for now folks. I’m headed out the door to see what local shelters need my help. Y’all let’s get out there and help each other out…find someone in need, a shelter, let’s get Texas back to normal.
I’ll be back working on another post of some of the MANY ways you can give back or donate to this catastrophe. I am friends with some awesome business owners who are helping out!
Until then..Y’all stay classy. I love y’all.
–The Girl With the Big Bass