Hurricane Harvey roundup: The good, the bad and the scary

Hurricane Harvey roundup: The good, the bad and the scary

There are so many stories coming out of Houston, Texas and surrounding area that I decided to just do a roundup to collect some of them in one place. The latest (as I write this) is that at least five people have been killed by the storm. But there were over 1,000 people rescued Saturday and thousands more are stranded in their homes. Many of those homes, over 300,000 are without electricity and water supplies have been contaminated as well. The NY Times published a story by a journalist who suddenly found himself in survival mode after water flooded into his home:

As I write this, the home that I saved my entire career to buy is flooding fast and my wife, Paola, our 12-year-old daughter, Emilie, and I have moved to the second floor with some of our valuables, food, water, and of course our three-year-old cockapoo, Sweetie, who is now barking frantically out of fear. It’s only a matter of time before our piano is ruined. One of our cars looks completely flooded, and the other is blocked in the garage, so it looks like we will be staying put for a while…

We are the lucky ones. As I looked out my window this morning, I saw the local fire department arrive to take away pregnant women and others trapped in their homes. My quiet Mildred Street is now a raging river, and the emergency medical workers are using kayaks to transport people to their truck. I can hear honking car horns in the distance, which is adding an eerie staccato backdrop to the driving rain pounding our windows.

There are of course people in the neighborhood who don’t have two story homes so, before the power went out, they were politely asking if neighbors with a second story would be willing to take them in.

Nursing home residents were in several feet of water waiting to be rescued. According to Click2Houston, the people in this photo below have since been rescued:

This man actually caught a fish swimming in his living room:

But as the water rises, National Weather Service is advising people to go to the roof rather than into the attic:

NBC News reports major highways are under as much as 10 feet of water. There are plenty of photos circulating on social media showing how extreme this flooding is.

Fortunately, there are some heroic people doing what they can to keep others around them safe:

But it’s not just professionals. Regular people are showing up with their personal boats to do whatever they can to help, like this man:

Or helping stranded people like these men who waded into the water to help a man clinging to a pole:

This local news reporter probably saved a man’s life by flagging down a rescue crew with a boat:

Obviously, this is a huge, life-threatening disaster. There is more rain coming for 2-3 days so the situation is going to get even worse before it gets better. I have no doubt the death toll will continue to climb. But in the midst of this horror, we’re also seeing some of the very best of America. You have people risking their own lives for others with no regard to politics, race, class or all of the other things we’re told should divide us. The flood won’t make those other conflicts go away but for the time being it’s good to be reminded that we’re more than the sum of our intersectional calculus. We can all still pull together when it really counts.

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John Sexton 10:00 PM on June 02, 2023