The End Times in Texas: media portrayal versus reality

Based on media reports, a world-ending hurricane is visiting southeast Texas. I checked in with friends in Houston. Two said that they were at home and planning to go to work on Monday. Here’s my exchange with a pilot who lives just north of Houston:

  • Are you in your concrete bunker (i.e., house)?
  • Yes. We have food, water, guns, and sex toys. All set.

Readers: what are you hearing from friends in the drenched and wind-blown region?

[Sunday night updates from my friends in the area: water in their streets, but not in their houses; all of them have power; water damage at Houston’s Hobby Airport, only 46′ above sea level, seems to be significant.]

[Sunday night update from a friend of a friend: Ben Taub county hospital (primary county hospital in the med center) is evacuating due to possible flooding in the basement compromising power. This is very similar to what happened to Hermann Hospital back in 2001. Thankfully the water has been receding at our house, dropped by 8″ in the last 4 hours. Normal drainage has not resumed as of yet due to overwhelming flood waters. This probably won’t drop much more until the major drainage systems empty enough to provide relief. Everything in Houston has come to a halt as we deal with this mess. Interstate is closed, no stores are open, no way to drive anywhere, even if there were somewhere to go. This has affected an extremely large area of SE & SC Texas. We have received 50% of our average annual rainfall in 24 hours, we don’t really need any more. All of the work on the drainage systems since 2001 have improved and changed the hydrology, but it still was not enough. All of the folks south of us have water up to their eves. So we are home bound at least for a couple of days, it could be worse for us.]

[late Sunday night update: One friend got flooded out, rescued, and reported “Grateful tonight to be safe and warm on the 15th floor of a hotel downtown.”]


16 thoughts on “The End Times in Texas: media portrayal versus reality

  1. Sex toys are not enough. needs a section just for the hottest models & nudes.

  2. I’m at JSC in Houston, working. The work is going well. I’m bored. Starbucks is closed, the Apple Store is closed, Walmart and Target are closed. The rain has stopped. The flooding is mostly gone. But everything is closed. I’m bored.

  3. The north side has gotten very moderate rain since late last night and almost no wind. 98% of the city has functioning electricity. The aggregate rainfall totals over the next 5 to 7 days *could* become problematic – but just a normal rainy day in Houston thus far.

    Don’t listen to meteorologists forecasting various paths (out to sea and back to destroy Houston!) – there is no consensus in the computer models yet.

    Non-Katrina apocalyptic like storms don’t make such good press.

  4. Main concern for Houston was the models’ predicting a very slow-moving storm that moved back offshore, dumping tremendous rain. Too soon to tell, but most are now predicting Harvey won’t re-strengthen over Gulf.

  5. Having lived in Clear Lake City and worked in Galveston and seen the decades long economic devastation that can come about from even a non-apocalyptic, eclipsed-by-Katrina-fatigue hurricane, I tend not to make light of these things.

  6. @Jon Awbrey

    I was in Clear Lake during hurricane Alicia in 1983. All the streets were flooded, power was out, so we spent a day cooking the meat in my aunt’s freezer. Houston has improved its bayous and sewers, but not enough to compensate for increased development that reduces drainage.

  7. If Houston is like many areas of the south, people who own or pilot planes are unlikely to be flooded. The educated and affluent have tended to settle on high ground outside of flood plains. Most people around North Carolina who get flooded out have never been in an airplane (unless it was in the military).

  8. Looks like Trump’s idiotic idea to cut FEMA by $900 million to help fund the “wall” is in even more jeopardy. Maybe this situation will give Trump a face-saving way to back off of his threat to shut down the government over debt-ceiling/budget negotiations.

  9. Disregard last post. Trump tweeted this morning and Mexico is still paying for the wall. I did not know that.

  10. Friends just moved to San Antonio from NW FL – on fb 40 minutes ago reporting breezy with showers. Not alarmed.

    I was surprised it strengthened so much before landfall but WC showed it tightly wound around the Rockport location. Not a massive wind field but potent within 30 miles. Unremarkable surge. Surge is the real danger to life as it resembles tsunami in energy.

  11. Yeah, it seems like the city is divided between the bored and the desperate.

    I really can’t help. I’m just stuck in a hotel, and the work I came to do is on hold while we wait for the rain to stop and the water to drain. All I can do is stay out of the way, and wait.

    So that’s what I’m doing.

  12. Clearly it’s awful, and some parts of the city and people affected are tragic. Other parts have done as well as can be expected given the epic amount of rainfall.

    What is also awful are the armchair quarterbacks (Wapo article) – who can’t possibly comprehend the logistics of evacuating 2 to 5 million people. Go back and look at the freeway pictures from Hurricane Rita in 2005. More people died *in the traffic* than in the storm itself.

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