We Are Safe & God is Good!
Hurricane Harvey came, saw and conquered Texas. A Houstonian since 2001, I’ve seen my share of mega floods that shut the city down for a week (Tropical Storm Allison) and hurricanes with mandatory evacuations (Hurricane Rita). But this one was different. Hurricane Harvey wasn’t cut from the same cloth . . .
In all honesty, hurricanes scare me. Growing up in Kansas, tornados are par for the course. Don’t act like you haven’t seen a little gem of a movie entitled The Wizard of Oz. So with a tornado, you basically retreat to the basement of your home for shelter. After moving to the south, I quickly learned that you have 2 options with a hurricane: run or “hunker down”.
So in the middle of the night, before the storm hit, I decided to evacuate. And my mother left early early the next morning. Unfortunately, my father decided to stay (against better judgement). This scared the HELL out of me and was a source of constant anxiety throughout the storm.
With 2.3 million residents, Houston is the 4th largest city in America. If I learned anything from evacuating for Hurricane Rita, 2.3 million people on the road at one time was a miserable nightmare. Also when I evacuated for Hurricane Rita, it legit took me 8 hours to travel to north Houston (45 miles away) and a total of 23 hours to meet my family in Oklahoma (normally an 8 hour drive). So repeating that mass exodus was going to be a no for me.
Why Didn’t People Evacuate???
Many people outside of Texas and our Houston community ask, “why didn’t people evacuate?” That’s the million dollar question. And I’m here to tell you that the answer isn’t as simple as it may seem. A few factors influenced their decision to “hunker down.” Just as tornados are par for the course for the midwest, hurricanes are the same to the southern gulf states. Most hurricanes during hurricane season fizzle out in the gulf before they hit land to only bring rainfall without mass destruction. Basically they end up being false alarms. Speaking of false alarms, to many, Hurricane Rita provided a less than stellar performance after Houston residents were mandatorily evacuated. 8 hours in traffic to go only 45 miles was insane. Cars stalled along the highway not because they ran out of gas but because they couldn’t idle for 8 hours straight. Also at the time, people were on high alert because Hurricane Rita came on the heels of Hurricane Katrina. Lastly, the city of Houston didn’t call for a mandatory evacuation. You have to understand that hurricanes are tricky. You can monitor and track them to a certain point before they hit land; however, a hurricane can always “turn”, “die” in the ocean or loose strength. Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey didn’t do any of the above.
Blessed, Now’s the Time to be a Blessing
My family, Venus and I are so blessed to be safe but many of my fellow Texans are still in peril or in need of assistance. Want to know how you can help? Check out the links below.
*Remember before donating to any charity unfamiliar to you, check out Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator provides free information through their extensive database on the legitimacy of a charity in question.
Local Charities and Donations:
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Relief Fund: https://goo.gl/CVS3gu
Houston Texans Football Player JJ Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund: https://goo.gl/15Vpgt
*Bonus: JJ Watt is totally transparent on how the donations will be used. Click the link for more information.
Houston Food Bank: https://goo.gl/PwStQP
Galveston Food Bank: https://goo.gl/CZCT7H
Corpus Christi Food Bank: https://goo.gl/Fvhtw3
Helping Those with Disabilities:
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies: https://goo.gl/4kQvnv
Houston Star of Hope: https://goo.gl/zR4ntM
SPCA of Texas: https://goo.gl/5k3mzw