I really should just start a weather category for this blog, because Houston’s weather is too exciting not to write about it. Yesterday we had a freak storm with 13 tornados. For those of you that like to chase tornadoes – you would have been screwed. No tornado chasing here because the entire city seemed to be flooded. It took many people 2-3 hours to get home.
Mike had jury duty yesterday, and said that Houston was actually on CNN because of the floods. When he went to leave the courthouse he discovered that it was raining so hard outside that there was no point – he went back in to wait it out. While I talked to him on the phone, I noticed that I could no longer see the building directly across the street. Normally, even in the worst weather, I can see that building because there is just a street between us. Yesterday, it was invisible. I could only see rain, which was going sideways.
Mike eventually made it over to his office, although he was a bit wet by the time he got there. I had taken the bus in to work, but I learned my lesson years ago when it comes to riding Metro in the Houston floods – don’t. This morning I heard tales of people waiting forever for the bus to come at 5:00 yesterday – and they just couldn’t even get in to downtown. So we decided the smartest thing to do would be to go out to eat in downtown and wait for the water to go down. It can receed just as fast as it rises sometimes, so we waited.
When we finally left downtown, we had to detour from our normal route just to leave. Travis St. is too close to Buffalo Bayou and it was flooded. Once on the highway, there wasn’t any traffic – which seemed strange. After a few minutes we rounded a bend – and there they were. A solid river of cars and red lights, not moving at all.
We took the first exit that we came to so that we could take the back roads. This went pretty well to a point. We had to drive in a single car line in the middle of the road to avoid the deep water on the edge. It was as if there were car corpses everywhere you looked on the sides of the road. People had earlier just pulled over and stopped anywhere they could. Cars were flooded out, water draining out of them. People were stranded at gas stations which were still flooded.
We made it eventually. Once we reached higher ground, it was a dry trip. It took us over an hour to make what is normally a 30 minute drive – but I’m still glad it didn’t take 2-3 hours like it did for a lot of people. My co-worker lost their truck to the flood waters. (Her husband drove in it even though he was just 2 blocks from home. She parked her car and walked in waist-deep fire ant infested water.) Natalie lost her van to the water. Elaine had to drive for 2 hours and 45 minutes to make it home.
See, when we say that it’s raining here in Houston, we mean RAINING.
But today? Today the sky is the most gorgeous shade of blue, and while Buffalo Bayou, which I can see from my office, is still high, the traffic is light and moving freely. A very different scene from almost 24 hours ago.