Dispatches from Houston – Chapter 1. Flooding

Part 1. McCauley’s Post

Sunday, August 27, 2017 9:19 AM (Facebook post by Dallas meteorologist Steve McCauley)

The worst case scenario continues to play out in SE Texas and especially in the Houston Metro where 11 to 27 inches of rain have fallen, and more is on the way…the European Model and the Texas Tech Model – which have been very accurate so far – take the circulation of Harvey – currently located about 20 miles NW of Victoria – and pull him back out into the Gulf of Mexico and then curve it back into the Houston area on Tuesday.

Of more immediate concern, as Harvey drops south toward the coast this evening, an intense rain band with torrential rainfall, strong winds, and embedded tornadoes will form and then move across the Houston Metropolitan area tonight. Rainfall amounts will easily top 30 inches across much of Harris County and surrounding region.

Harvey “should” then begin to lift north and may enter the eastern half of north Texas by the latter half of the week with the potential – but no guarantee – of a multi-inch rain event. But it should be nowhere near what they are seeing in southeast Texas.

Even though it appears Harvey will make a run for the eastern portions of north Texas later this week, it should be remembered that chaos is still running high in the forecast models (one of the American Models still thinks it will move west and spin out over Mexico), and thus the forecast may still change for our area.

But so far, this event is playing out almost exactly as the more reliable math has been forecasting for several days, and this may turn out to be the worst flooding Texas has ever seen.

Part 2. Heading South

Sunday, August 27, 2017 1:42 PM (Via Text Message)

Daniel: FYI, I am heading down south with some air boaters.
Me: Copy. Russell Hess?
Daniel: Yeah.
Me: They’re going to need lotta help down there. When you taking off?
Daniel: Now.
Me: Do you know where you are going? Houston? Corpus?
Daniel: Houston.

Sunday, August 27, 2017 3:50 PM (Facebook post by Daniel)

Who do I have in or near Houston? PM me please, might need a place to crash and some gouge on who needs help where.

Sunday, August 27, 2017 8:09 PM (Facebook post by Daniel)

Alright everyone, we are en route, there are four of us and two airboats, we are beelining to Houston and will begin search and rescue as soon as we get there; we’ve already established contact with the coast guard and will be working in conjunction with them for search and rescue, we are already getting reports of people trapped and needing to be picked up and will assist where we can. The hurricane is currently expected to make a turn to the right, which will significantly impact Houston even further. Current rainfall totals are expected to be 30-50 inches which is insane; all the photos you are seeing of Houston will only get worse over the next few days.

We are funding this COMPLETELY out of pocket, just on the initial stock up on fuel (over 350 gallons) supplies (rain suits, tools, water etc) we are at approx $1200 out of pocket. That is just to get us down there and get us through the night. We’ll need to re-provision fuel and water 2-4 times by our estimates. If y’all feel up for it and want to donate you can do so at the following pay pal. Every penny will go directly to supporting this endeavor and I’ll be posting receipts and such as we make purchases. Thank you all for your support! Pray for some clear weather for us, it’s looking ugly….

Sunday, August 27, 2017 8:16 PM (Via Text Message)

Daniel: I just starting sharing my location with you, just in case. Let me know if you see it.
Me: Yup, I see it. You still inbound to Houston?
Daniel: Yup. Also just talked to Dustin Gardner (DPS helo pilot who pulled us off the flooding Pecos, now stationed out of Houston). He’s been flying all day.
Me: I bet. Is he still on duty?
Daniel: Just got off. All rescue operations have ceased for the night.
Me: Copy.

Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:48 PM (Facebook post by Daniel)

Just a quick update, we are in the outer bands of Hurricane Harvey, getting heavier wind and rain as we go. We are having a problem location shelters; where are people being taken after being rescued?? If anyone has any info on where there are shelters please message me asap.

Sunday, August 27, 2017 11:53 PM (Facebook post by Daniel)

It’s a mess down here. Roads flooded everywhere, hard to move, lots of power out. People sleeping in their cars at gas stations because they have nowhere else to go.

Monday, August 28, 2017 1:42 AM (Facebook post by Daniel)

Status Update: Emergency Services has called off all search and rescue until the morning unless it is a life threatening medical emergency; it’s dark and with a lot of people walking/swimming and they don’t want boaters colliding with people. It’s very dark, the rain is coming down in torrents and the wind is howling, there are also multiple bridges collapsed and roads flooded. We keep getting messages about people stuck at various locations needing to be picked up and as much as we want to get out there and get to work and start helping we won’t do anyone any favors by hurting ourselves or breaking the boats trying to go out solo in the dark in a hurricane in an area we are unfamiliar with.

We’re going to try to catch a few hours of sleep in the truck and get after it first thing in the morning. If you know of people that are in need of assistance, let them know that we are coming. There is no shortage of people from all over and we will be out in force at day break to get these folks out! It’s been truly remarkable and heartwarming to see all of the support from you all on here, and to witness first hand multiple people driving into the mouth of a record setting hurricane to help people they’ve never met in the worst of conditions. Please keep these hard-hit communities in your thoughts, the rain is expected to fall for a few more days and this may very well go down as the worst flood in US history. I will continue to update when and where I can, thank you all once again.Part 3. Houston

Monday, August 28, 2017 8:44 AM (Facebook video by Daniel)

Hey everyone, I just wanted to give a quick update on what’s going on out here. Umm, it’s really busy and it’ getting harder to answer everyone’ questions. So, we’re down here now, we got in late last night (going on about an hour’ sleep), and we’re here meeting with local law enforcement, so it’ basically a coalition of anybody that can help with boats and police officers. Everybody is trying to get to where we can help, but the really difficult part is that we can’ get anywhere because there is so much flooding that we can’ really move. Umm, there are patches of flooding and then patches of open roads, and you can’ really drive your car and drive your boats over both of those.

So we are on the northwest side of Houston now, in Cypress, and we’re linked up with these guys (police). There are a lot of people in the local area that need rescuing. So once again, we’re out here working with the local [law enforcement] entities, so we’re not just out here running around by ourselves. We’re getting ready to go rescue people and so I definitely appreciate everybody donating and spreading the word. I couldn’t believe how much that got shared this morning, that’s very amazing and we definitely appreciate y’all, and well, we’re getting ready to roll out, so….

Monday, August 28, 2017 8:54 AM (Facebook video by Daniel)

Okay, sorry guys, I had to cut that one short, ah, we had to get scooting. We are currently convoying with the local PD and as you can tell we are actually going the wrong way on the highway; the other side of the highway is pretty flooded. Umm, we’re in a big convoy with about four or five other boaters, as well as the local law enforcement and their boat. We will have one of the local sheriff deputies in our boat, and we are heading to a neighborhood down the way right now, going to get people out. As I said, we are going the wrong way on the highway because the other lanes are completely inundated with water at this point.

They are still actively seeking people with boats right now, so if you guys are planning to come down here with boats, they are still looking for people. It is still raining and it’s supposed to stay raining at least until at least tomorrow if not Wednesday or Thursday. They are already at flood stage here so any more rain is just compounding the issue here. There are multiple incidences of people evacuating and now the place they evacuated to, is also being evacuated. People here just have nowhere to go; they’re sleeping in gas stations, they’re, umm, you know, hanging in donut shops, they are doing whatever they can out here.

If you do come down, bring as much of your own provisions as you can. I mean you are really on your own out here. There is no 911; there are no municipal services, most of the gas stations are either out of diesel or out of gas or out of both, so make sure you bring enough fuel to get yourself out. We have big fuel tanks so that’s how we are accomplishing this, but it’s definitely an issue, and even if you can find a gas station that does have gas, a lot of the power is out here and a lot places are closed.

If you guys are trying to find things to donate, the Red Cross is taking donations. If you’re donating items, water is always good, work gloves, headlamps, batteries, any extra clothes you have you can donate, uh, once again, these people left their homes in a hurry in flood waters so they couldn’t carry a whole lot with them, and there are people out here who are essentially homeless, with nowhere to go. There are people out here sleeping on their roofs in the rain all night.

It’s daylight now, so we are back at it. We got in pretty late last night and we couldn’t really do a lot, so we’re going to get it now. Once again, thanks to everyone for sharing our status and for praying for us, showing your support and all that. We definitely appreciate it. We’ve been getting awesome donations and it will be put to good use. Whatever is left over will be donated; we’ll provision other people that are here once we head back up or we’ll donate it to the Red Cross. I will try to keep you guys updated as best I can. I have reception now but that may not be the case, so if you guys don’t from me for a while, that’ll be why. But you guys take care.

To Be Continued…

Lone Star Chronicles – Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Fish

To read Part 2, click here: http://lonestarchronicles.com/dispatches-from-houston-part-2/

To read Part 3, click here: http://lonestarchronicles.com/dispatches-from-houston-part-3/

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