Just got back from a couple of forays and can report that in parts of the affected area, there is some normalcy amidst the backdrop of Harvey's
aftermath. I'm in northern Galveston County and one of the high points, though there are some low lying areas which normally flood but I can tell you
that even so, there were a lot
of homes and businesses nearby which did indeed get inundated.
Many of our larger grocery stores are open for at least part of the day and several are doing their best to stay open late. HUGE kudos to Kroger's,
HEB, and Walmart (and I'm not generally a corporate cheerleader, as anyone familiar with my posts here can attest to) in this regard. Many restaurants
are open, and I know from past, personal experience that unless the local health authority has given the blessing, they would not be.
There is not a lot of wind damage, though there are the expected branches down and an occasionally newly planted tree that hasn't had a chance to
establish a good root structure. I see a few boards missing from wooden fences and the occasional business sign, but not widespread shingle damage or
other signs of injurious wind action. Rain really has been the biggest enemy this time around for the greater Houston region. I mean if it weren't for
human development, there would be a *lot*
of swamp in these parts.
Houston and surrounding areas are basically one huge floating concrete island atop millennia of accumulated sediment runoff which has no bedrock
beneath to speak of. There's salt domes down there, which is where a lot of petroleum is kept in in artificial cavities.
One of the main reasons for the flooding is human development; roofs and concrete don't soak up much water before it accumulates and has to be
channeled off. Well, being as we're basically a bowl of jello with a hard crust on top, the water has very few places it can go to be absorbed so it
has to seek the lowest point; the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the main reasons I (and all of the houses on my street from when I was growing up) didn't flood out is because we have approximately 10 acres
of prairie (the remnants of that family farm) which soaks up *lots* of water as long as it isn't saturated. It more or less is now, but can still
absorb quite a bit more water before it can't accept any more; I can tell this by walking around out in it and testing is solidity. It's been soggier
and boggier than it is now, I would estimate it could probably take another 3 or 4 days of what we were getting at peak periods before it couldn't
absorb any more.
All the neighborhoods surrounding me were all built in the last 10 years and fairly close together with few ways in or out of the subdivision, but a
maze of oddly ordered and very un-grid like streets. And so all of the rain that would have been absorbed that the open land that used to be there hit
all those closely packed roofs and ran off into that maze of streets faster than the civic designed drainage could handle.
I can see the debris line in all the yards right up against the houses, and many social media posts from people in those neighborhoods showing water
in the streets up to the houses and in to the houses in many cases.
The street out in front of my house got up to about the sidewalks, but was still around 18-24 inches from reaching the elevation of the foundation
line, then the house proper 4 inches above that. All that prairie I've got out back saved my house and my grandmas house.
Dickinson is one of my neighboring cities; I fear it will be a complete loss. The Dickinson Bayou runs right though it and it floods for any major
rain. The streams that were showing the emergency crews and volunteers using I-45 south as a staging area to affect high water rescues were taking
place in an area I drive in on a regular basis. I've never seen water across that much of the Gulf Freeway in my life.
I think this has been categorized as an 800 year event.
There have been some reports of looting, but so far it is few and far between. There have also been a few reports of looters finding out that Texas is
a state you want to take that chance in. Price gouging is being called out on social media and those stores are being shunned and are thus
deprived of any profit they might seek to enhance at the expense of others. When the HEBs run out of regular and mid grade, the sell premium at
regular prices until even that is sold out.
Amidst all of the utter ruin, I we see people rise to face the challenge before them, people who have literally lost everything they own still display
a sense of humor and can smile in the face of what could be used as a reason to give up or turn one's outlook bleak.
Thanks to everyone who's asked about me either in threads or via PM, it means a lot!
edit on 29-8-2017 by jadedANDcynical because: (no reason