January 26, 2012
Alpha Delta Pi
With the water quickly rising above his ankles, my 95-year-old grandfather called the On-Star in his car and firefighters were soon there to literally haul him out of it. Cane in hand and lower body soaked, he watched his car fill up and float down the street. While I’m sure that wasn’t how he wanted to spend a Monday morning, sometimes Houston weather has other plans.
Texas is no stranger to severe weather. Southeast Texas has especially seen its fair share of flooding, rainstorms and hurricanes. In 2005, Rita, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, threatened to take over cities and towns in the southeast. Thankfully, no major harm was done. Three years later, Hurricane Ike hit Galveston and Houston, damaging many businesses and homes. The storm left many without power for weeks and almost completely wiped out Galveston Island.
Earlier last month thunder, lightning and rain washed over Houston and didn’t stop for several hours, causing most of the city to flood. Believing that it would blow over quickly and that my car could handle it, I drove through the then low waters to get to my yoga class at the YMCA. After trying to take my usual route home and seeing cars stalled on every street, I plopped myself down with others and waited out the storm at the Y.
Taking some simple precautions can help you and put you at ease if you ever find yourself in a similar storm situation.
Stay calm, both for your sake and for those around you.
Getting all worked up doesn’t help anyone and hinders your ability to think clearly.
Get somewhere safe, preferably somewhere inside, and stay there until it’s okay to move.
Keep your phone charged or turn off apps and settings that drain your battery.
As tempting as it may be to play games or get on the web when you’re stuck somewhere, having a phone to use in case of emergencies is more important.
Always carry ID and some form of money.
It will come in handy if you get stranded somewhere.
Don’t push your or your car’s limits.
Better to patiently wait out the storm than to put yourself in danger and have your car stall and flood.
Keep candles, flashlights, canned food and water on hand at home.
Over the years, my parents have been filling up plastic milk containers with water and storing them in our freezer. Thankfully our water didn’t cut out during Hurricane Ike, but it was comforting to know that we had that and other necessary supplies, just in case.
If you do find yourself stuck or without power, try to make the best of it.
During Ike, many neighborhoods lost power for days and even weeks. My family, our neighbors, and our friends took the opportunity to gather every evening to eat food before it went bad, play games by candlelight, and enjoy each other’s company.
Elizabeth is a junior studying English, business foundations and Italian. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.