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  #11  
Old 08-29-2017, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: Harvey

We've, so far, have gotten off almost unscathed. Harvey is parked not too far away offshore and has been whipping up some wind and rain overnight. One gust evidently took out the top half of a very large southern magnolia sending it crashing to the ground just outside our bedroom window. I had just been stirred awake from a sound sleep by the wind noise when the treetop snapped.

I guess we are somewhere a little north of 20" of rain since this saga began. Just to our north, the rainfall totals go up into double and beyond of what we have received. I have relatives and friends in that zone, a zone bigger in area and population than some small states, and some have water in their homes, some are high and dry but marooned in waterlogged neighborhoods, some have self evacuated.

My friend with management responsibilities over a network of clinics distributed across Houston home is dry, but he can't open any of his sites because the doctors and staff can't get around with all the flooded roads or because they are coping with homes and vehicles damaged and destroyed by the rising waters. He's shooting for a Thursday limited resumption of operations.

My daughter heard yesterday that 8 cubic miles of rain and still counting has fallen just on Houston alone. Some of that water, actually additional runoff from west and north of Houston, is headed our way via the Brazos River. There is a mandatory evacuation order the Brazos and San Bernard River flood plains. The plain begins about 150 yards to our west. People in the potential flood zone have fled towards the coast and to the beach as escape routes north, east or west are non-existent or dicey. Ironically, the beach front homes should not flood providing Harvey doesn't strengthen again and gin up some storm surge or hang around too much longer. I have access to a beach house and that will be our last refuge should it look like our home is going to get water.

As convoluted as all that sounds, we've had it very good during this disaster. Schools been cancelled for this week, but the local district is serving up hot meals manned by volunteers in selected cafeterias. Stores have limited stock and hours, but there's still some food that's been getting in or maybe they are just running through stock. Most restaurants are closed, but a few remain open with paired down menus. Everyone seems to be sharing and helpful in various ways. My parents are right next door and we've been looking out for each other and other neighbors. We had my daughter's friends displaced by the evacuation orders over for meals. Yesterday, my dad and my uncle and another neighbor were working on the weir to help drain down the lake. I told my wife that if we run out of food (we won't) we could both stand to lose some weight (that didn't net me a smile).

The Navy has sent Helicopter Rescue Squadrons from both Norfolk and San Diego. My stepson is a member of one such squadron that is set to arrive at College Station today.

Anyway, we are remaining optimistic and trying to stay calm. My friend sent me a photo of a large shark that had been photoshopped into a scene of someone driving one of Houston's flooded freeways. I thought it was hilarious. I shared the photo with the my wife's family group text thingy with a comment like " I'm starting to get a little concerned about the conditions here". Unfortunately, some of the group thought the photo was of a real scene with a real shark. So I had to backtrack and calm them all down. Never a dull day around here.
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  #12  
Old 08-29-2017, 06:53 PM
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Default Re: Harvey

Karstopo, I saw the Brazias levee failed. Is that your neck of the woods? Stay safe. Our thoughts are with you and the people of Texas and the Gulf.

Bill
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  #13  
Old 08-29-2017, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: Harvey

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Originally Posted by brownbass View Post
Karstopo, I saw the Brazias levee failed. Is that your neck of the woods? Stay safe. Our thoughts are with you and the people of Texas and the Gulf.

Bill
Yes, the levee is as I understand it is on Varner creek, a little feeder creek that goes into the Brazos. I think the report that it was on the Brazos wasn't quite right. But I heard the levee is being repaired.

The weird thing is that the Brazos had a gigantic record setting flood May/June 2016. It wasn't so much about rain locally but way upstream. So we have that recent event to compare with the current event and tons of gauge data. I look at river gauges online several times a day. This event is tracking a little above last year's flood, but not so much above to be radically different. So if a home flooded in 2016 due to the Brazos, it will likely flood this time. If the water got close in 2016, I'd be real nervous about this flood. Based on all that, my home will be okay.

Still, I've got so many friends and extended family in and around Houston. Some have significant water in their homes and have just managed in soggy homes, some have evacuated to friends or family and aren't sure what's the condition of their place, and some aren't flooded at all. Some places, the water is subsiding, other places, it's still rising. It just depends on the watershed.

No one in my immediate circle has had any life threatening flooding, just property damaging water. The weather is clearing, the rain appears to be over. Harvey is leaving town after busting up the place something terrible. There's been a great volunteer spirit though, help your neighbors thing. That's been heartening, the silver lining. Everyone seems to be working well together, volunteers, neighbors, NGO's, the various governmental bodies. I think Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has been great as has Ed Emmett, Harris County judge. No one has been fighting any evident turf wars or trying to undermine the other. Governor Abbott's been great, too. People have been under a tremendous amount of stress, but it's amazing how well almost everyone seems to be holding up.
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  #14  
Old 09-03-2017, 04:18 AM
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Default Re: Harvey

A little Harvey update, we are at the end of the Brazos river and assorted associated streams and the flood waters have reached our little area at their fullest, maybe. It's not really a crest like a steep hill or peak but more like a mesa. The closest reporting station on the Brazos is in West Columbia and isn't set to crest until Tuesday or Wednesday. We get flood water from that direction, but I think more travels south across the flood plain at Rosharon to affect our area. At That station the water levels have crested, but it's the mesa type crest that stays above a major flood level for as far as the projections go out, a week.

The City of Lake Jackson where I work, own a house in, etc. has been battling these rising waters for days. So far, only a few homes in a pricey development on the north west side have been inundated when pumping and sand bagging efforts failed to stem the water. That line has retreated and reformed and the new line has so far held thanks to an army of volunteers and city employees this according to my uncle who lives within the road blocked zone. In another part of town, crews of volunteers and city workers are repeating the same efforts with success so far, although many streets remain impassable.

The city of Richwood to the east hasn't had it as good and many homes that never flooded in any previous event have taken on water. Lots of homes in the unincorporated areas west of Lake Jackson have gotten water in them. My friend's uncle lives in one such neighborhood. He had never flooded before but now has 3-4 feet in his home. My friend took a boat in there with his uncle to retrieve some important papers. He said it was like a horror movie in the house with the furniture and appliances floating around. They emptied the refrigerator and freezer to avoid having more stench when the water finally recedes.

We live in a voluntary evacuation zone which really means we don't expect to get water in the house, but the county is just playing it safe because flooding is possible. The vast mandatory evacuation zone just 150 yards to our west has had many homes inundated, most that had never seen water before. My friend with the kayak was about eighteen inches of freeboard on his home before it gets in. He's a veteran of Brazos river flooding. He texted me a photo of him paddling to his barn yesterday.

I'm not a veteran, but I feel like I'm in a war zone. There are several road blocks scattered across town manned by police and state troopers. I've seen guys in uniform in big army vehicles. There are military helicopters overhead. My stepson is a aviation rescue swimmer with the Navy and his unit normally based in San Diego was in patrol over the area just to our south yesterday. I could hear the deep growl of their helicopter as it buzzed over the flooded spots looking for people in need.

There are war correspondents in the guise of the Houston media. My dad's good friend was on television on the local abc station. Dad was just leaving his house when the news van pulls up. My dad's friend is a great guy and has a great wit but sounds kind of country when he talks. He lives in a mandatory evacuation zone but probably has one of the highest places in town. The reporter is asking him if he's going to evacuate and they go over previous floods. The reporter says something about this flood being a one in ten thousand year event. Without missing a beat, my dad's friend says I remember that one but was just a little boy then. The reporter totally missed it. I fell over laughing.
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  #15  
Old 09-03-2017, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: Harvey

Took a little boat ride out on the Lake today. The lake water level had been slowly falling for several days, but today it jumped up almost a foot and that's what stimulated the boat ride. No rain here since last Tuesday so it couldn't be anything but the slow moving flood. This is the first time in the collective memory of residents here that water has topped the banks in this manner.

The water is spilling in from the flood plain to the north and West and finding the low spots on the Lake bank. One feature of many oxbow lakes and creeks around here is that the land right on the banks is often the highest ground. So people build on the banks of creeks and lakes and often fair better than folks away from the water features.


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Old 09-03-2017, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Harvey

Nice to hear you're on a "high spot" and okay...surely, the worst is behind you.
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  #17  
Old 09-04-2017, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: Harvey

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Originally Posted by mka View Post
Nice to hear you're on a "high spot" and okay...surely, the worst is behind you.
I don't know, I think maybe one of the mobs forming in the neighborhoods might get me before the floods do. Just a few minutes ago and it's after midnight here, several men with flash lights showed up in my dad's back yard looking at the lake. Now my dad's brother lives on the same lake and was with the 8 or 9 men. I'm sound asleep and he calls my cell phone asking me how much more the water has risen. I thought, heck, don't you live on the same lake and wouldn't it be easier to tell from your backyard than coming over here and giving me a call?

I get up and get dressed and go over to my dad's house. He's been asleep like most other normal folks at 00:30 hours. He's outside in his pajamas talking with the men. The men seemed worked up about the rising lake and were looking to blame the city or the adjacent neighborhood. At least one of the men was from the adjacent neighborhood, but seemed to be in agreement with the men from our neighborhood. I made the statement to the effect of why don't we blame the river. No one really wants to hear that and they set off for greener recruiting pastures to gather more mob-ites and mob-ees.

The other mob in the other neighborhood has been waging a propaganda war on social media and by word of mouth against our neighborhood (all this bad blood goes way back before this flood) saying basically we, our mob, is trying to flood their neighborhood to save our own. Not one of their houses has actually flooded, but water rose one overnight period when the city's pump ran out of fuel. But the other neighborhood mob has gotten personal and called out names and so I guess this all bubbled up into backlash mob from our neighborhood. The only houses that are eminently threatened and may be actually flooded at this time are in our neighborhood.

Water is pouring in from the flood plain across property and falling into the 77 acre lake which is maybe 1.5 feet lower than the general flood waters. Water leaves the lake currently through one small ditch about 8 feet across and over a weir into a ditch that in a way communicates with the other neighborhood and another 2 lakes. The other two lakes are not taking on water from the flood plain. The city then pumps water from the common ditch over an embankment and into Oyster Creek. Oyster creek is within its banks and is expected to remain that way.

The flow from the weir is very limited and is well below the flow of the city's pumps. The water levels in the other 2 lakes are well below the lake I live on. I don't think there is anything we can do to keep up with the flood waters coming into the lake from the flood plain. At one time, the city was pumping water into our lake to aid a city neighborhood north of the lake (the lake I'm on is in an unincorporated zone) and our lake association was in agreement with this. I did understand from the men that that pumping has been suspended. The small city neighborhood in question has been flooded so it was pointless to continue to pump anyway.

As the flood waters are more or less expected to remain at the current level for several more days, our lake will continue to fill until it equalizes with the general flood water levels. The flood waters in our area are right around 20 feet above sea level and have been close to there for a couple of days now with a minor uptick today. My house is at least 21 feet above sea level and may be closer to 22 feet. Most of the houses on our lake are at 21 feet or more. A few aren't and they may be in trouble.

I get the angst. I'm not sure how we stop a flood of this magnitude and duration. Water knows only gravity. There could be an effort to keep water out of the lake, but it seems to be an exercise in futility at this point. There's no way to get the heavy equipment needed in to get it done that I can see and it seems too big for men with shovels and sand bags, although a lot of that's been going on. I don't like all this assignment of blame between neighborhoods. It seems pretty small and ugly.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:57 AM
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Default Re: Harvey

I understand what you mean by the angst from not knowing what the water will do. Before ABQ, I lived in Mandeville, LA and during each heavy rain would watch the water line creep up toward my front porch...causes some stress for sure. Those drainage ditches overflow quickly.

Been sending prayers to our Texas kids and will add you guys to them...sunshine, sunshine, sunshine!
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Old 09-04-2017, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Harvey

Lake is at 18.75 feet. Plan once lake reaches 19 feet is to pump excess water out into oyster creek. Creek has the capacity to receive extra water. 18" pump being brought in. We shall see.

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Old 09-04-2017, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: Harvey

Can you route the water up here to Seeley Lake, Montana? Will take all you can send.

Water has to be worse than our fires because there isn't much one can do to stop it once the event occurs. Will be praying for you!

Dave
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