Last weekend's severe storms were devastating.
I watched in horror as the 24-hour news feed showed vehicles being submerged and swept away, of homes being swamped by rising water, of tornadoes tearing away roof tops and yes, of accounts of people being stranded and found drowned. In Brenham, a short 30 miles away, someone drowned in a motor home and a young father was swept away by the rising water from the Brazos River that capsized his pickup truck. Another family reported their house being knocked off its foundation by torrential flood waters.
According to news reports, the double-digit inch rains in Texas qualified as a 500-year flood event. Only trouble is, this is the second 500-year flood we've had in the last two months!
On May 22-23, during the last catastrophic flooding, I was in Houston. My place was dry and I had power, but the flooding marooned my son and me for 24 hours. People in apartments near one of the college's centers were climbing on the rooftops to escape the rising water. When the storm was over, Houston and the region suffered $5 billion in damages.
Last weekend during the ravaging rains, I was in Navasota, and again, my house was dry and I had electricity, but there was a power outage around 10 p.m. at the state prison farm outside of town. A brawl broke out between 50 prisoners and correctional officers after inmates refused to return to their darkened cells when the emergency generator malfunctioned. Three are recovering in the hospital.
Navasota reported 10 inches of rain and 60+mph wind gusts. Local officials set up Navasota Junior High as a shelter for folks, but livestock had to survive on their own since the animal shelter was full. Our three dogs found refuge in the house. A neighbor in the next block has goats... we still have not heard how they fared.
Ronnie was on his way home when his BMW flooded. Thank heaven, he didn't get swept away from the creek that rose from its banks only five yards from where his car stalled. He walked home in water that rode as high as his knees. I'd say he walked home in the dark, but he counted at least a hundred lightening strikes across the sky during the ten block trek.
After the storm, a wrecker took the car to College Station where the dealership assessed damages. Unfortunately it's a total loss. Still, it's just a car. Ronnie is alive, and I am grateful.
More rain came through during this week, and I cancelled my weekly trip to Houston for fear I might get stuck there. If I'm going to be stranded, I want to be with my sweetie and my dogs.
Eventually all the rains of Spring will subside, and Summer will blaze like hell-on-heels. We may face destructive wildfires as we have during recent summer seasons. I hope not, but there is no way to predict... unless, of course, we believe the scientists who are warning of climate change caused by humanity's misuse of the environment.
Can we stop raping our surroundings of its resources and reclaim the balance of nature? That's a hard choice for Texas, a state that worships oil and gas production to the detriment of everything else. But I think we've been warned: Mother Nature is getting pissed.