Weird Weather in Houston?

Weird weather is nothing unusual around here.  If you don’t like the weather in Texas, they say, just wait an hour.  Or drive to the next county.  2011 was the driest year in memory, breaking records decades old, but recently we’ve had enough rain to feel almost normal, although we’re a long way from making up for the drought.  In fact, the meteorologists tell us that may go on for a few more years.

You wouldn’t have believed that yesterday, when the sky opened up and dumped enough water to turn urban streets to rivers.  We knew a storm was coming, but when I left my house about 8:15 the sky was not particularly threatening, and I made it into Houston about 9 with no more than a scatter of rain drops on my windshield.

Fifteen minutes later the rain hit, complete with more thunder and lightning than we’ve experienced in months.  At the Scorekeeper we typically have three computers, a fax machine, a copier, and a printer running.  And a couple of radios, maybe a TV, sometimes a microwave oven.  Sudden power outages are not fun, even with the computers connected to UPS boxes.  Remarkably little gets done around the office when the electricity goes off.

We were lucky Monday.  While the power went off in swaths all over the area, trapping people in elevators and fouling up the traffic lights, we never lost electricity.  But we almost lost the garbage bin.

It rained so hard, and so fast, that the street in front of the Scorekeeper turned into a river in half an hour.  We were keeping a collective eye on the situation, because it’s happened before.  Between the rising water and the idiots driving their SUVs down the street at forty miles an hour and throwing five foot wakes, a small car doesn’t stand much of a chance.  The old Ford I drove when I first came to work for Jo Anne back in 2003 nearly drowned in a sudden, unpredicted street flood (it still ran when I sold it a few months later, but the automatic seat belt never worked again), and my Corolla narrowly escaped another.  When we looked out the window Monday morning and realized that the heavy wheeled trash can was on its side and floating away from the foot of the driveway, we knew we had a problem.

Fortunately we also have Ha Tran, the third member of our office team, a young man who is always willing to take care of us.  He took off his shoes and socks, waded out into the flood to corral the renegade trash can, and moved my car to the safety of the driveway and his own to higher ground across the street.

We were lucky.  We watched the water rise in the street–and the front yard–and recede almost as quickly, from the safety of our offices.  Jo Anne’s sister-in-law spent a couple of hours stranded in a parking lot.  People around the city found themselves swimming away from their stranded cars and shovelling mud out of ground floor apartments.  (Click here for a slideshow of flood photos at the Houston Chronicle.)

This wasn’t the worst flood Houston has seen, not by a long shot.  Today was dry, and twenty degrees cooler.  If you don’t like the weather here, wait a little while.  It’ll change.  It always does.

 

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. apronheadlilly
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 00:39:35

    Yowee!

    Like

    Reply

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