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Harvey, who knew a week ago how that name would change our lives & the lives of the people in our community forever. Just a week and a half ago we were hearing that name, the name of a depression that was coming across the Yucatan and into the gulf. We were planning on riding out the wind and rain, so we hit the store and stocked up on some water, bread, peanut butter and some burgers and hot dogs to grill if the electricity happens to go out. It wasn’t until Thursday that everything started to change for us.
My husband decided that it would be best if I took the kids up to my moms in Austin, but I still didn’t see the point and didn’t want to go. So I slowly started packing thinking I would either leave that night when it cooled down or the next morning. Then they announced it was going to be a CAT 3, and I was for sure taking the kids. Not long after that, we got the mandatory evac order from the city. I ran outside where my husband was cleaning out his truck to tell him, we are ordered to leave. The look on his face was panic & confusion. We all rushed to pack some clothes to get us through the weekend & moved electronics and such upstairs. Threw a few things onto our bed and some stuff into totes & bathtubs just to ride out in case of flood. It took about an hour and a half to two hours for us to grab what we could and leave. Before we left I stood there looking at our home with everything we’ve worked so hard to have, and asked my husband how are we supposed to pack up our life? Do you think Binx (our outside kitty) will be okay? Before you jump down my throat…while he is a loving kitty he does not like being indoors, trapped or picked up, I had no way of securing him. I gave him some food and a kiss before we left praying he would keep safe.
We started our drive up to Austin trying not to take the main highway out to avoid the miles of traffic. But we still ended up in lines of RV’s fleeing the storm. It took us about 4-5 hours to get to my moms. You would think I would be relieved, but it wasn’t like a normal visit where you know you’re on vacation, the feeling was majorly different. We sat there on our phones cruising Facebook to keep up to date on our little town. It was hard to settle down for the night…but we knew that we had to get some rest. The boys all had pallets out in the living room with their cousin & myself and my husband slept in my nephews’ room.
We got up Friday morning already exhausted both physically and mentally with no clue as to what was about to happen. We watched the news and Facebook feeds throughout the day anticipating landfall and wondering what would be of our town and our home. Then it came…the announcement that it would be a CAT 4 at landfall. Our hearts sank. You never want to hear those word especially when your home is in the direct path and you have friends that didn’t evacuate.
I just couldn’t
I still can’t
We sat here safe, watching our home get hit by a CAT 4 hurricane on TV. I can still see the radar with the eye hitting Rockport and our town just to the left getting hit by the eye and the most severe colors on the radar.
It was so surreal
Then the images and videos start rolling onto social media and the news. The winds whirling roofs getting ripped off. Then the first responders losing connection with the outside world…
All is quiet
How am I supposed to sleep wondering, worrying, praying everyone is safe?
We woke up fairly early & pretty groggy running to our phones and the news. Was there anything left? Is everyone who stayed okay? Word from our friends, they were lucky…they were all in Corpus Christi which didn’t get the brunt of the storm. Then came a response of the news announcing the first responders made it through the night.
Then came the photos…
First there were photos from Corpus Christi of downed fences & trees. Then Rockport of the complete devastation. With my kids close, I had to hold back the tears and try to stay strong. What about our town? Was it okay? Then we hear that it was hit pretty hard and responders from around the area couldn’t reach it due to flooding & downed major power lines in the roads. We marked ourselves safe on Facebook and started to scroll all the comments in the feed. People looking for people who stayed. Needing search & rescue, asking if someone can go check on their property. So many people, scared, uncertain of their future.
Slowly throughout the weekend photos and answers were starting to trickle in. So many businesses and homes were gone…just gone. So many lives changed. Most lost everything. Our schools announce there will be a two-week delay in starting school & AEP estimates 2-4 weeks before they can restore power to our area. No power, No water, No sewage, No cell towers. Our expectations of a weekend evacuation weren’t even close to reality.
As the week has gone on, we still haven’t been able to return to check out our home. Images from our schools come in pretty damaged by water and the wind, but not completely gone…neither is our districts hope and love for our community. Our district had initially canceled football season due to the damage to the field and locker rooms, but they came back and decided it would be better for morale if the boy got to play…the season will be on once school starts. My sons’ phone was lighting up with the excitement in their messenger chat. It brought some hope and excitement to those boys.
There were some commenting on the announcement on Facebook “yeah, that’s what our priorities should be” …
for you sir…yes, yes it is!
Our boys, our community need to have some normalcy in their lives. They live for their teammates, their brothers & the game. I’ve very happy they will have that after all they have been through.
There are so many rushing in to help our little communities. Giving hot food, water & hope. To them, there aren’t enough words to say how thankful we are for you.
I heard yesterday that Aransas County schools (Rockport-Folton) will not be opening this year and that the students are to enroll where they evacuated to. This made me very sad for those students. I hope some of them join APISD so they can stay close to their community and let us show them how we care.
My heart breaks for every community affected by Hurricane Harvey. So many communities devastated, so many lives changed forever. Even if they weren’t hit directly by the storm, they were flooded out like Houston or changed just by taking in evacuees. I’ve seen so much love and heart comes out this past week. So many people want to help their fellow man.
I will be returning to my own home town tomorrow to assess the damages to our own home to get an idea of when we can return. I’m not sure if my strength will hold up as we drive through our town. We continue to ask for your prayers and assistance. If you can donate your time our towns desperately need volunteers to help clean up debris.