Monday, August 28, 2017

Hurricane Updates

My parents are safe.

A nearby creek is over its banks, but the water is still approximately 700 horizontal feet away.  It is not rising quickly, might even be falling, but there is more rain coming.  Still, my parents have food, water, and power and so are sheltering in place, staying vigilant.  It would be very risky to leave--they do not know which roads are open and there is no gasoline in the region so they couldn't drive endlessly.  They do have cabin fever--they've watched a lot of movies and are making gallows' humor jokes (they debated which room to hide in during a tornado--and laughed that it would be a big "I told you so!"; my dad joked about having only one life jacket!)--and so my dad was out shoveling and clearing storm drains.  But all in all, they are in the best possible position, compared to the rest of the region.  We know how fortunate we are.

My extended family--from Austin to El Campo--are also safe.  I do have one cousin and his daughter unaccounted for in Port Aransas, but we trust he got out.  And I just got word this minute that an aunt and uncle are being evacuated out of their neighborhood because of the Brazos River.

The beach houses off Matagorda bay are amazingly unharmed, except the car port on a cousin's house that people think might have been hit by a water spout-turned-small-tornado.

My cousins' houses in Wharton County seem okay, but the cotton crops of their farms are a loss.  It sounds like all of the crops in this part of Texas are a loss.

It could have been so awful for us, but we have escaped amazingly unscathed.  This fact is thrown into greater contrast by the complete devastation of communities very nearby.  It sounds a lot like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans--and no doubt some of the victims are the same people.  So many Katrina evacuees stayed in Houston and are reliving their nightmares.  So many have lost so much.  And there will be more deaths.

For me, the bittersweet part is the destruction of Rockport and surrounding towns (Port Aransas, Fulton, Lamar.)  My beloved aunt and uncle lived there, next to the old Sea Gun in, not far from Goose Island, right on the water near the bridge.  The eye of the hurricane must have passed over their house, which is no doubt gone (if it weren't already, having been sold after they both died.)  I'm glad they weren't around to experience this--losing their house, having to be evacuated, seeing the almost complete destruction of their community--though, I do wish they were still around, of course.  I've been visiting that area for 25 years--the 1,000 year-old tree, the Fulton Mansion, the Vietnamese restaurant--and it has been hard hit.  Though, I did read yesterday that both the live oak and the restaurant survived unscathed; the Fulton Mansion has not been so lucky.  My dad worries that the area, a famous bird refuge for migratory species, might be too devastated to support the visiting birds.

So, we're watching the updates, periodically.  There was a cute story about Harvey the Hurricane Hawk, for instance; but there are so many worse stories and photos.  Both kids were very worried about the bay house and are relieved it is okay (everyone is giddy with relief about that.)  Sis is concerned about all the horses she saw in the area--Pop said he saw people loading trailers, I saw stories about others getting horses out.  Bud is worried that I'm upset.  It's been an emotional few days.

But we are lucky.  And we send love, hope, and prayers to all those who are suffering.

Also, donations.  See here for suggested charities.


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