Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tax Day 2016

Houston, Texas, Memorial Day 2015; Tax Day 2016.  Another year, another flood.  Last year the bayous overflowed in scattered pockets of the city, including Meyerland, my neighborhood, and Dumfries, my street.  This year the entire city was under water.  Cars were submerged on flooded streets, people were rescued from their homes, other people waded to safety through waist-deep water.  Schools were closed, courts were closed, The mayor and the county judge appeared on television, promising help to the stranded, listing shelters where people could stay, saying they were sad and sorry, sorry, so sorry for the devastation in our city.

Residents of Meyerland who had just moved back into their renovated homes were flooded again. My heart goes out to them, faced with trauma after trauma.

I'm fortunate to have sold my house, and I watched this storm from my fourth floor apartment.  My car was flooded and I now have a rental with roll-up windows and 4 doors which have to be locked separately.  But I'm lucky to have a rental.  By Tuesday afternoon, the day after the flood, they were hard to come by.  Who knows how long it will take the adjuster to check my car?  I'm probably 100th in line.

People here are angry.  Apologies for delayed rescues aren't enough.  The mayor has promised to appoint a Flood Czar.  Fancy title and all, what will s/he do?  The city has been over-developed, wetlands have been paved over, bayous have not been widened or deepened despite promises to work on flood control.  Here we are, the 4th largest city in America, flooded to a standstill and hurricane season fast approaching.  Maybe we need to take a lesson from the Netherlands, maybe we need to find the money to repair our broken flood control system.  Because we can be sure this isn't the last disaster.  Now that most of the water has drained off, now that flood insurance companies have been contacted, now that sheet rock has been torn out of soaked walls, we're waiting for some answers. Meanwhile we can only mutter, "Rain, rain, PLEASE go away."

Not likely.  It's a gray. gloomy day.  Rain has been coming down all afternoon, and the clouds look heavy with moisture.  Thunder has begun to rumble.

Here's a quote from an article by Cort MacMurray in today's Houston Chronicle:

"It's not easy being a Houstonian.  Here we sit, soaked in our soggy bayou homeland, scraping the contents of the neighbors' float-away trash cans from our front lawns and wondering if there's an automotive potpourri strong enough to mask Flooded Car Smell, thinking the thoughts that only Houstonians can think.  The rain isn't over."

Keep us in your prayers, you dry people in other parts of the country.  We need all the help we can get.


Margaret Anderson said... [Reply to comment]

I, too, sold my home a few years ago and moved to an apartment. I am glad I did that, but you are right, the more "development" the more we create the conditions that cause this. Water used to soak into the ground now runs off pavement and into the storm sewers and bayous.


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