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A View From Houston During Hurricane Harvey Flooding

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Though I’ve lived in Houston all my life, I’ve never experienced the type of flooding brought by Hurricane Harvey. What made things worse was how unexpected the event was. On Monday, I was only worried about the cloud cover preventing me from seeing the partial eclipse in Houston, but by Friday, I was worried for the well-being of my family.

A Quiet Start to the Week

2017 Solar Eclipse

Photo: Flickr/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Aside from writing, I also teach exam prep. The summer months get especially busy, and this year was exceptional. The week Harvey hit would be the final week of the summer before Houston Independent School District, the largest in our area, returned to classes. As such, I was driving all over town conducting last-minute classes and tutoring sessions since the first SAT exam of the school year would be on Saturday. As a forward thinker, I always keep close tabs on the weather, and Monday brought only a slight chance of rain for the weekend. I was hoping for something a little heavier to cool us off from the near 100-degree heat we’d been having up until then.

A Major Change on Wednesday

Wednesday morning started like any other. The tropical storm we’d thought would go straight into Mexico without affecting Texas was slowing down, strengthening, and moving north. That morning, forecasters predicted that the Texas coast would be hit by a tropical storm or minor hurricane Harvey, but meteorologists encouraged people to stock up for some possible flooding rains. Few paid attention to the news until Wednesday afternoon. My husband found bottled water sold out at the grocery store by 6 p.m., and the student I tutored that afternoon was surprised to hear about the storm. She worried that the SAT would be canceled on Saturday.

Thursday

The storm was predicted to strike land Friday night or Saturday, and by Thursday, people in Houston began to take preparations seriously. To avoid the crowds, I went to a 24-hour grocery store at 5:30 a.m., but the store was closed. An hour later, the manager opened the doors, and a dozen people queued in the self-checkout lanes trying to buy water the store had restocked. I got enough groceries to last us for the next three to four days, as that was what experts recommended people get, but my plans changed by the next morning as the forecast for Hurricane Harvey worsened.

Friday

Hurricane Harvey
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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