I’m typing this as the Man Friend and I are driving down the highway. Destination: Houston. Yes, that Houston. The one that flooded recently. Where our family and friend live. Where my husband grew up. It’s been 11 days since Hurricane Harvey dumped a huge amount of water on Houston and the surrounding areas. The Gulf Coast of Texas was decimated. My Hurricane Harvey experience was different than those who faced it head-on. We were simply spectators – and if it hadn’t been for a flood of social media, we would have felt even more isolated and helpless than we already did.
Knowing that a hurricane is coming and watching it actually happen are two totally different things. When we spoke with my mother-in-law on Saturday evening, she said the rain had hit but…”so far, so good.” Sunday morning was a different story. Around 10:30am, her garage started taking water. By 11, their cars were up to their seats in water. At 12:30pm, it was in her house.
She was lucky. My mother-in-law’s house only took in 3 inches of water. One of the Man Friend’s buddies was flooded with three feet. Another friend was evacuated by boat – from their 2nd flood due to 6 feet of water.
The Man Friend and I have an entire tribe is sprinkled all over Houston. It’s a great combination of coworkers, extended family, and close friends – some of these people know each other, but it’s not like a group text message would be appropriate. In order to stay in contact with our Gulf Coast crew, we spent all day and night on the phone and perusing social media to find answers.
Without Facebook, we would have felt so much more helpless. When phone lines were busy, Internet cables were intermittent, and electricity was off due to flooding – the cell phone towers provided enough data to get out messages for help. Rescue kayaks, the Coast Guard, please for assistance of people trapped on roofs. The flood of social media was both terrifying and empowering.
I’ve never seen anything like it – and I hope to never see anything like it again.