« Keeping perspective is as important as keeping aware, folks | Main | More non-catastrophic pix from Houston during Hurricane Harvey »

Monday, August 28, 2017

Beldar spots what he hopes is the end of the beginning of the Hurricane Harvey disaster

[Reprinted, as edited & expanded, from a comment I left on Patterico's Pontifications at 11:57 a.m. on Monday, August 28, 2017:]

It’s official: Day 4 of Harvey, and with very rare exceptions, the people of Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast are responding magnificently to this catastrophic event. The death and injury rates are amazingly small overall. So far today, during relatively lighter rains, thousands of stranded people and people who’ve been flooded are being relocated. The civic mechanisms and preparedness are working reasonably well even though these are uniquely difficult challenges, but as always, the citizenry — helping themselves, helping each other — are picking up all of the considerable slack.

In terms of storm damage, this is going to end up being a much less severe hurricane than several I’ve seen in Houston since moving here in 1980 — much less than Alicia or Ike, for instance. Instead, most of the consequences in Houston and its immediate environs are from flash flooding. Saturday and Sunday the flash floods were from heavy rains that didn’t have time to run off. Hereafter it’s going to be flash floods mostly from upstream drainage, and our rivers and bayous, which were already out of their banks, are going to continue to rise and remain dangerous for several more days at a minimum. It thus more resembles past storms like Claudette (which I experienced from Galveston Island in 1979) and Allison (which set the previous rainfall records, but will be eclipsed by Harvey).

The very substantial silver lining, though, as compared to Ike or Alicia, is that we still have many facilities and many neighborhoods that still have power and that are (at the moment) safe to use. People who have to evacuate — including from some very affluent and newly constructed suburban areas that are now about to be deliberately flooded as the Corps of Engineers makes controlled releases from the Barker and Addicks Reservoirs (along the tops of which I’ve cycled dozens of times, it’s a mix of parkland and upscale new subdivisions) — don’t necessarily have to navigate hundreds of miles of dangerous and obstructed roads to somewhere like Austin or Dallas. Instead, most of them can find temporary housing here in the parts of Houston that aren’t affected, among friends or if not, in the short term, in government and charitable organization shelters.

Last night we started getting some much more favorable forecasts in terms of the intensity of the rainfall expected today and for the rest of the week. I’m seeing confirmation of those predictions in the skies today. There are good prospects that the intensity, if not necessarily the duration, of the rainfall may lessen.

I’m still dry and haven’t lost power, water, or internet for more than a few seconds so far. My ex and two of my adult children are sheltering at her house in Meyerland. Earlier tonight, I was watching national newscasts showing boat rescues from the Knob Hill Apartments, which are perhaps 300 yards from my ex’s house — but which same 300 yards put those apartments too close to Braes Bayou as it escaped its banks. But thankfully, the flooding on her street has now drained off sufficiently to see the blacktop again, after coming all the way up to (but not quite over) her front porch in the wee small hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning. My other two adult kids are also hunkered down safely at their respective apartments, well prepared and provisioned. As for our closest friends, though: while many of them are in the same good circumstances we are, almost everyone in Houston knows someone who’s been flooded out or who’s facing mandatory or highly-advisable evacuations from their particular neighborhoods.

But although many of us have been spared injury and major property damage so far, this event is turning the lives of everyone in the Houston area upside down in important ways. The bayou on which the Allen Brothers founded Houston in 1836 and that runs through downtown — Buffalo Bayou, which continues from downtown to the Ship Channel and Galveston Bay — is preposterously out of its banks. To appear in court today, I would literally have needed scuba gear. But of course there was no court today, and won’t be this week.

Harris County Criminal Justice Center at 1201 Franklin St. downtown on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017

I am nevertheless cautiously optimistic that we’ve seen the worst of this one. To borrow from Churchill, this isn’t the end, or the beginning of the end. But I think we’ve now seen the end of the beginning. 

Posted by Beldar at 11:57 AM in Current Affairs, Texas | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Beldar spots what he hopes is the end of the beginning of the Hurricane Harvey disaster and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


The comments to this entry are closed.