It's hard to believe we've been watching and talking about Hurricane Harvey for a full week now. First we watched it churn its way across the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico towards Corpus Christi, TX. Firefighters with fast-water rescue boats, EMT's, and utility crews were sent south from all over Texas well before landfall. Entire neonatal units were airlifted out well in advance to hospitals in Ft Worth and Dallas. Harvey, which blew up into a very dangerous Category 4 storm right before it came ashore, missed the mid-sized city of Corpus and instead blasted nearby Rockport with 140 mph winds.
If at that point it had acted like a normal hurricane and just gone inland and fallen apart in a day or two, the local / state authorities could likely have handled it. But instead it went inland, dropped anchor, and just sat there, slinging rain bands further up the coast toward Houston.
And it wasn't just Texans. A similar bunch of "le good 'ol boyz" from Louisiana brought their boats down (christening themselves the Cajun Navy) and began helping, too. It was the absolute best of humanity working side-by-side....soooo impressive!
Then $%#^* Harvey moved up the coast even further and has now completely inundated Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange, TX, and Lake Charles, LA. Never heard of them? You will, as that's where a HUGE number of America's oil refineries are located. (Gas in my area has already gone up $.30 a gallon in two days.) Those areas are now at least as bad off as Houston. HELP!
Reinforcements are now arriving by the hour. There are over 100 military and civilian helicopters rescuing people, with more on the way. The Feds are sending another 100 shallow bottom boats and 100 trucks capable of wading through high water. Shelters are opening up all across the state, and the ANG is airlifting victims in to fill them. All 14,000 Texas National Guardsmen, and another 10,000 from other states, are coming to the rescue, too. Thanks to ALL!
What eats at me is, here I sit high and dry 300-400 miles away, and I can contribute very little. They say to NOT send diapers, blankets, canned goods, etc, as all roads into the area are closed. We could easily send 500 tractor / trailer loads, but they just can't get there. They say just send money instead, which of course we did, and they'll buy stuff in bulk. (Could you spare a few $$$ also? PLEEEESE?)
The recriminations are yet to come....should they have had a mandatory evacuation? (Six million people? There would have been a 200 mile long / 48 hour traffic jam, with people starving and dying en route.) Were the authorities caught flat footed? (No, not flatfooted, just overwhelmed.)
But there ARE lessons to be learned, namely that YOU are responsible for YOU. Some how, some way, find a way to keep at least a weeks worth of food and water on hand, for both humans and pets. Have plenty of any maintenance meds on hand, and some CASH, too. And of course the typical batteries, flashlights, emergency radios, etc. Go online and look up "prepping" for instructions and ideas. (It isn't just for wacko's anymore.)
Whether you live in hurricane country, tornado alley, earthquake territory, or a giant metropolis that could all just explode some day for reasons beyond your control, be prepared. Don't count on someone else to come save you.
And tell me again how there's no such thing as "climate change"? Weren't we warned years ago to expect more serious and more frequent violent weather patterns? Well...TA DA!