Surviving Hurricane Harvey in Dickinson Texas

by Chris Dixon

Have you ever found yourself watching news reports and getting mad at the reporters for hyping up the crisis?    I do, and on Friday (August 25th, 2017) I was getting angrier by the minute as the news was at a fevered pitch and all you heard on the news was panic.    My wife and I both went shopping for extra food as we did not have a lot of extra supplies.   What I find coincidental is I had just completed a review on Legacy Food Storage and was considering a large purchase to protect us in case of a natural disaster.    Most of us know the saying “Hindsight is always 20/20”.  Who really thinks they will be the ones to get hit by a natural disaster?  I just give thanks to God that the adults in my home had the same thought of buying extra food and drinks. 

When I went to my favorite Kroger’s in Dickinson, TX I found the milk, eggs, bread, and most of the produce were sold out.    I was lucky enough to get a few cases of water.    One thing that turned out to be a good idea is I purchased a 5-loaf package of frozen bread dough.    This worked out well as we used all of them and we ate fresh baked bread which is heavenly.

Friday and Saturday, we watched the news and our hearts broke for Corpus Christi and the surrounding areas as Harvey made landfall.   The devistation was epic.

The Weather Channel became our main news source and as we watched the Houston doppler radar we saw the danger heading our way.    One thing a lot of people outside of Texas do not know is the people in our area suffered the evacuation of Rita and many of us got caught in the fiasco that it leads to.   My family took 8 hours to get to Temple, Texas.   This was considered a very short time as a lot of Houstonians got stuck for days on I45 trying to escape.     The reason I tell you this is to explain the mentality of Houstonians.   Many of us refuse to leave again unless we get a level 5 storm that is going to hit us directly.    My family and most of my neighbors stayed through Ike.    We lost power for 4 days but we had natural gas and water.   This allowed us the ability to cook and get water.   

How do I start to explain Saturday night (August 26th, 2017)?    The rain came down in sheets like a wall of water descending on us.   I opened my garage door and sat in a chair watching it.    Keep in mind we have never flooded in the 13 years of owning our home.     It was around 3am Sunday morning that I first felt any concern regarding the rising waters.      When I looked down and saw the flood waters starting to enter my garage I started to panic.   Here is a video of what I saw…

This is when the threat became real and my family scrambled to move everything we could upstairs.   We stacked our front rooms furniture on coffee tables.    Our 61” Sony flatscreen TV was put on the kitchen bar.   We flipped the dining room table onto 4 bar stools and stacked chairs on top of that.   We had folding tables in our garage that we used to stack everything else onto.    We had to prepare for the worse.        

Our efforts had put most of our valuables about 24”-36” above our first story floor.    We were exhausted after staying up all night and at 4am we went to bed with our daughter on flood patrol.    At 5 am our daughter woke us up to say we are getting water in the house.     Trust me when I say that as a home owner and head of a household all I felt was a sinking feeling in my stomach.     The good news is that within an hour it stopped coming in.     We immediately started us mop up the water.    The tile floors were easy to clean and we grabbed our wet/dry vacuum and our carpet cleaning machine and we went to work cleaning up.     Our front room was the worst hit and we pulled some 4 mop buckets full of water out of that carpet.     We spent the next few hours sucking up water.

I must take a minute to recognize the coast guard and the other rescue teams as we watched several helicopters doing rescues around our home.    We watched the Weather Channel and began to see the news saying that Dickinson Texas was one of the worst hit areas in Greater Houston and Galveston County.     The sheer number of rescue teams descending on our town was unfathomable.   

ON Sunday morning, I went outside to survey the damage and this is a video I made of what I found…

It is hard to put into words the feelings that go through your heart in such an occasion.    I am one of the calmest people you will meet and it takes a lot to get me concerned.   Well I was becoming concerned.   I have 9 people, 3 dogs, and 1 cat in our 2-story home and 4 of them are children.    My smallest grandkid kept asking if we’re going to get rescued.     He is 8 years old and like us he is listening to the news saying everyone needed to evacuate.    Really?  How exactly do we do that?     This is where my fear started to kick in.    I knew we would be fine provided the rain would stop but I was not in charge of the rain God was.    We watched the rescued people being placed into shelters like the George R. Brown center.   While thoughts of us needing rescue did cross our minds we were confortable, fed, and dry.  We made the decision to stay and weather the storm.

We are a Christian family and to say we were praying is an understatement.    We spent a lot of time responding to friends and family on Facebook.   My wife and I posted updates with pictures and videos.   What was truly amazing is we never lost any use of our utilities.    This tragedy would have been so much different if we had.

The waters on Sunday finally started to go down but, only to the middle of my driveway by nightfall.   The rain from Sunday night was a real concern to me.    Our question was how much rain can we get before everything backs up worse than before?    The good news is it did not get as high as before.

All day Monday and Tuesday we kept getting rain but the heavy thunderstorms were fewer and further between.    On Tuesday, my wife and 2 daughters decided to walk and see if any store was open.   The good news is she found an open convenience store.  The bad news is the attendant double charged us for everything and did not give us a receipt.     It is sad that some greedy people will take advantage of the situation and basically steal from their patrons.    We spent $147 on about $70 worth of goods.    My wife was very thoughtful and bought me a 6 pack of Miller Lite.    While I am not a serious drinker a cold beer after a long 3-4 days of stress tasted really good.    What is harder to explain is how it feels to finally get some sleep after days of getting just an hour or 2 of sleep here and there.

Today is Wednesday (August 30th, 2017) and the flood waters have gone from our street.  See my video below…

My wife and I drove around Dickinson and the Clearlake areas to survey the damage and it is immense.    Virtually every business on 517 (the main street in Dickinson, TX) were flooded.    There was a lot of activity with business owners and store employees working like ants to fix their businesses.

Overview:   God was at work protecting the 4 million people of Greater Houston and while we tragically lost some 18+ people it could have easily been much more.    Please continue to pray for us and my neighbors as the cleanup and recover is into full swing.    Many of us did not have flood insurance and the financial difficulties are now weighing heavy on many of us.     Hopefully President Trump will find a way to help us recover faster.    If you are one of my Texas or Louisiana neighbors that was hit by this disaster visit the Disaster Assistance website and make a claim.

I want to again thank the US Coast Guard, local Police, local Firemen, and the countless others that braved the storm and risked their lives to save others.   You are all HEROES in my book and we owe you a debt that cannot be paid.   We love you guys!!!

Damaged to our home and neighbors:  These 2 videos share the carnage we experienced and that of our neighbors in Dickinson, TX.  Keep in mind this is just 1/2" to 6" of flooding in these homes.

Here is the street behind our home:  Virtually everyone behind us got flooded.

Starting the Repairs (demo work)

Our Repairs are complete:   We have completed the needed repairs and wish to thank our friends and family for their assistance.

Future Planning:   I cannot state it more earnestly than... everyone needs an action plan for natural disasters.    Not even one of my neighbors was expecting this level of a disaster and none of us were ready for it.    Acting at the last seconds to prepare is foolish and haphazard at best.     I suggest everyone consider getting a food back up supply and Legacy Food Storage is the best company I have found.     Click on the pic below to find out more.

Praise be to God we Survived Hurricane Harvey in Dickinson, TX.

Chris Dixon

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