It’s nearly impossible to believe that I wrote my last substantive Harvey update on here a week ago. So many of you from across the country have been praying through our updates on Facebook, but I haven’t had time to sit down here.
After I wrote about Hurricane Harvey on Monday, we evacuated down the street to neighbors with a two story house. The waters were predicted to rise, the rain hadn’t stopped, and the reservoirs were releasing. Bray stayed with our house and precious friends allowed the kids and I to take over their upstairs while they were away.
I had to go back to Facebook to try to piece together what happened next. No one knew what day it was. Harris County Flood Control District and the Army Corps of Engineers gave updates three times a day and we all sat rapt in front of the t.v. to figure out what would happen to our neighborhood.
The sun finally came out on Tuesday afternoon, but the reservoirs west of us were uncertain and could lead to staggering flooding if breached. I wrote this on Facebook that afternoon:
Yes, the rain has slowed significantly. Thank you Lord.
We live on the west side of Houston. Our street is still flooded and homes near us.
There are so many further west of us that have endured major flooding today from the pools of two flood control reservoirs: Addicks and Barker (please remember these names).
Those reservoirs have never withstood what they now call a 1,000 year flood. The City and County officials have been INCREDIBLE. Ignore any blame you hear in negative media. No one could have done anything else.
However, these reservoirs are in distress. They are overfull and discharging (controlled and uncontrolled) into Buffalo Bayou where I and many friends and neighbors live.
If we flood, that is fine. I do not care. I just want my family safe.
We cannot stay at our current evacuation home if the dams can not keep their integrity.
Today, please pray for Barker and Addicks Reservoirs. It is a selfish prayer today. I could give you a dozen other communities with urgent needs and I will tomorrow. But today, I ask on behalf of my family and my neighbors families.
Pray for these reservoirs.
Bray stayed with us at the neighbors Tuesday night because looters began to appear in our neighborhood and I didn’t feel safe alone with the kids.
Wednesday morning came, the dams held, but between the controlled and uncontrolled releases, the waters continued to rise. Neighborhoods just to the west of us, Lakeside Estates and Walnut Bend, started going completely underwater. Evacuations filmed on television showed couples who had lived in their homes for 35 years evacuating for the first time ever.
The waters rose more rapidly. Then FEMA showed up on our street. Two boats and dozens of men.
(Standing in our front yard Wed morning)
They started at the end of our street, where homes were already completely under water, and worked their way up. Bray and I were already assessing whether I should take the kids to friends on the south side for safety. I sent a text to two girlfriends as a back up plan and they said their men were already on the way (before I even TEXTED they were coming!).
FEMA said the water was rising quickly. The government was doing all they could but they couldn’t ensure there would be no more breaches. They needed our names if we stayed. “Flooding will get worse, they’re just trying to make sure houses don’t get blown off their foundation,” they reported.
I finally lost it. I wish I had been a calmer and more thoughtful mom. But the water was already at a record high and I just wanted my family out. I told the kids to grab the things they loved the most and put them in garbage bags. We had to leave now. I walked through the house pulling our pictures off the wall. The kids took pictures and stuffed animals and dolls and sports memorabilia.
Amazing men from FEMA swarmed us and started hauling our bags down the street. You couldn’t get on our street because the water was so high, so the two men that God sent like angels over before we knew we’d need them parked around the corner. The eldest cried in the front yard as the gracious FEMA volunteer from Jacksonville started talking to him about hunting with his daddy (he was wearing Bray’s camo mud boots).
Bray threatened to stay with the house. I told him I didn’t care about a single thing in our house, only the people who lived there. He finally agreed to leave.
We drove away. Through the waters. Over to the south side. My precious friend from our kids school waited for us on her driveway where we would move in for an unknown period. The kids piled out and ran inside to play with friends. I stepped out of the truck and collapsed into her arms in tears as she held me up and cried with me.
The rest of the story tomorrow (we are safe)…