It’s been a few weeks since we first started hearing about hurricane Harvey. It started with people saying “it’s headed this way” “it’s getting stronger”. Then people started saying stuff like “storms always weaken in the gulf” “storms weaken before they make landfall” “Houston isn’t gonna get hit” “it’s just gonna be a rain event”.
It started to look like Harvey was going to make landfall as a serious hurricane. Then everyone started getting concerned. They started getting ready. Social media was a stream of people complaining about long lines in stores, stores running out of things, and people generally annoyed at having to get prepared for a storm. Having to deal with so many other people.
Then as it came closer to land and the forecast looked like Harvey was going to give the Houston area several days of the dirty side of a category four hurricane… people started getting concerned. They hunkered down. Then it rained for four days. 51.88 inches of rain to be exact. 4.3 feet of water. It didn’t take long for “pray for Houston” memes to start flooding social media. Suddenly thousands of people were crying out for help.
But then, people looked around, realized shit got real, and stopped waiting to get saved. They stopped waiting for someone else to help people. If someone wasn’t in need of help odds are they were out doing something to help someone. People helping people. There was no race. No politics. No religion.
So for days a makeshift navy of regular people with boats, jet skis, canoes, army trucks, lifted pickups, dumps trucks, and whatever else could get people out of flooded neighborhoods poured into Houston from all over Texas and Louisiana. They coordinated via Facebook and walkie talkie apps. Other regular people turned their garages into supply hubs or started cooking and feeding dozens of first responders and civilian rescuers. People threw everything aside and just helped each other with everything they had. Eventually the rain stopped. But with damns reaching critical levels the flooding didn’t. And neither did the now nationally known Cajun and Texan navies. They ran themselves and their boats and trucks until there was nobody else to help. Until the waters eventually receded.
But then a new group of people started to show up in Houston. People driving rented and borrowed trucks and vans full of water, food, clothing, and cleaning supplies. People from all over the country. The support and generosity was literally overwhelming. Then people just started forming “demo crews” and went house to house tearing out carpet, sheetrock, and destroyed furniture. Cleaning and doing what they could to salvage homes and belongings. Social media became a stream of dirty but smiling faces. People hugging. Heartfelt thank yous. People asking “who needs help next?”
Harvey is being called one of the worst natural disasters in US history. Harvey threw the worst that nature had to offer at us. Texas responded with the best that humanity had to offer.