Harvey

I really don’t know what to say. Harvey was quite an adventure. There is still so much work to be done for so many people affected by the storm. I feel a bit guilty talking about how it affected us. We still don’t actually know the outcome yet.

We started watching Harvey early last week. At that time it was just a named tropical depression, but it was headed right for us on the Texas coast. I’ve really learned a lot about tropical storms and hurricanes since then. First, was what does it all mean? Tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane, storm surge, dirty side, landfall, steering flows. All of this was fairly unknown to me a week ago. Now I feel a bit overwhelmed with all the information.

Living half a mile from the coast that was well in the range that Harvey could hit was not ideal to say the least. How much wind can a stabilized 22ft RV take? Should be bail north now? Should we ride it out? We didn’t have any of those answers so we sought out the best advice we could. The owner of out RV park apparently had lived there on the peninsula for 40 or so years, I assume he should have some good info. He was pretty confident, “it’s just another tropical storm, we get them all the time” and “we see 40-50mph winds off the coast frequently, you should be fine.” He also said “we built our house and the structure for the RV park to withstand 150mph winds.” I assume after Ike pretty much leveled the whole of Bolivar Peninsula in 2008 pretty much everything was rebuilt to take a beating.

After that conversation I felt quite a bit better, and was planing on sticking it out. It could be a lot of fun! I planned on filling out water tank for 400lbs of ballast and some good drinking water just in case the water went bad. Gather some food, charge everything up, and enjoy. Or, at least that’s what I thought. By mid afternoon Thursday, several other “permanent” RV residence started packing up. I went around and chatted with them. “We have sat out a few of these, but I think we’re leaving on this one” one said. “Yea, I lent my generator to a friend, and I don’t want to go without power for a few days, so were headed out. Our neighbors are arriving in a few hours to take their rig too” said another. It didn’t take much more convincing than that for me to reconsider. A quick chat with Shannon and it was clear we should probably go to. An hour and a half later we were all packed and ready to roll.

We had not made much of a plan, but about an hour north of us was Beaumont, TX. It looked far enough from the coast, and far enough north that it should be at least safer for us and the camper. We found an RV park and reserved our weekend to ride out the storm.

That respite didn’t last long. We were up pretty much all night glued to the TV watching Harvey make landfall. Many of the heavily affected areas were places we had recently been. Port Aransas, Rockport, Corpus Christi, Galveston. It was fairly surreal. As we watched, the predictions of the storm path started moving north. ¬†With rain totals predicted to be 20″+ in many areas now including Beaumont, we started to worry again. I looked up flood plans in the area, and it was all bad, but according to the insurance ratings, were in in as good a spot as we could. Not that we were really able to move again anyway, the wind and rain had already begin, and I didn’t want to risk pulling the trailer in that weather. We spent the next day “battening down the hatches.” All the prep that I had planned in order to stay in Bolivar, I was doing now. Fill the water tank, charge everything, prep the food stores, etc. We filled the truck we gas and settled in for the long haul. We played several games of Lords of Waterdeep, and watched the Weather Channel until we couldn’t stay awake anymore.

Waking up to Tornado warnings is something I hadn’t planned on. We had finally had a few hours of restless sleep and both our phones started blaring “Tornado warning, find shelter immediately.” We trudged through the six inches or so of standing water that had already accumulated and joined many other residents of the RV park in the laundry room for shelter. Two more Flash Flood and Tornado warnings later, we decided to bail again. This time we left the trailer. Not that we could have taken it anyway with the weather, but as it is a good two feet off the ground, I figured a bit of flooding in the area and it should be ok.

We have some friends that live a few hours north near Little Rock Arkansas, so we headed there to spend the week working. For the first 3 hours of the drive it didn’t stop pouring rain. Many streets were already beginning to flood. All we could do was hope for the best. Somewhere on the road we got a message from one of the boat owners we had been talking too in Corpus Christi. At first thought, we both immediately assumed that the boat did not make it though the storm. Turns out it was the opposite. He told us he couldn’t sell the boat anymore, becasue he has to move aboard. Apparently his house in Port Aransas did not fair as well as the boat did.

We’ve been working and watching Harvey continue to drop record amounts of rain on Texas from safety here in Arkansas for the week now. We contacted the RV park Tuesday morning to check on things, but it sounded a bit hectic. Beaumont was almost completely flooded, as was the RV park. they had spent the last day moving trailers away from the lake and were not sure what more could be done. At the time, our trailer was safe, bit the rain was still falling. As of now we still don’t know if it survived the flood.