On the morning of August 25, 2017 residents of the Coastal Bend were bracing themselves for the impact of one of the largest hurricanes predicted to hit the South Texas Coast in many years. Corpus Christi, in particular, hadn’t seen a hurricane of this size in decades. Many residents had waited it out, thinking it would eventually putter out – as hurricanes can do – but Harvey had other plans. Instead, people were lining up in droves for generators (if they could find them), plywood for boarding up windows, attempting to secure their homes, and stocking up on food and water.
Over the next few days, we will share some of our stories – looking back on Harvey, one year later. The emotions that are brought back are real, and the past year has been one of growth, inspiration, hope, faith, and proving that people in the Coastal Bend are, indeed, #TexasStrong
One year ago, I had only just begun to date (my now husband) Brad. In fact, we had only just had our first date on August 19th– 6 days before Harvey hit land. He rushed back to Corpus to begin storm preparations on his home and I returned to Austin.
I remember having a constant stomach ache for the next week during his hurricane prep: I didn’t want him to stay!
I remember watching the storm and tracking the weather that week like I have never done before. Growing up in Tornado Alley – Oklahoma, I was used to those, but Hurricane’s were a whole new beast and I had no idea how to handle it. I felt helpless. I was nervous and scared, and since I didn’t know what else to do, I approached it the same way I do everything else: with optimism and humor and try to make it as fun as I possibly can. I put together a quick Amazon order to ship some “hurricane kit” supplies to Brad – a couple of battery powered fans and extra batteries and a t-shirt that said “Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane” for him to wear during the storm. I also ordered myself some hurricane coffee to drink in Austin, you know, because why not? 🙂
That evening, I remember sitting in the garage with my neighbors – Brad’s and my mutual friends – in Austin, late into the night on Friday, August 25th, glued to the TV as we watched it make landfall, all the while, watching my weather app where I had his home pinned.
I remember being so incredibly grateful to see the storm curve away from the direct line to his home. And then to hear from him shortly after landfall and know that that he and his home were okay – I was so relieved.
In the hours & days that followed, and the photos that he sent, I was just so thankful for the protection of so many homes and of lives, but, at the same time, I was heartbroken for my beloved Port Aransas & Rockport – places that my family and children have so many memories and have spent so many summers.
One year later, I am so proud of the resilience of the Coastal Bend and how STRONG everyone proves to be. I am thankful to be a part of the Coastal Bend community.
My story is not any more special than any of the other residents of the Coastal Bend. Like many, the days leading up to the landfall were spent in front of the television watching The Weather Channel and then finally making the decision that it was in our best interest to leave. One of the hardest parts of the whole situation was packing up and deciding which items were the most important to take with us.
I remember boarding up our house and thinking:
“we may never see this place again.”
To think about it to this day still breaks my heart. We eventually left, my husband and I, our one month old daughter and our two cats and headed to my brothers. Never had I imagined the devastation that would eventually surround us. We were some of the lucky ones that got our house back and just needed our roof replaced. But a year later still hearing stories that people are still living in hotel rooms – and will most likely never get their homes back – makes me so heartbroken. Hurricane Harvey affected us so much that any little disturbance we see on the news makes us cringe and dread another devastating episode of what Mother Nature could do next.
Does anyone remember the big event that happened on Monday, August 21st, 2017? There was a total solar eclipse. I stood in my father-in-law’s yard in north Texas, wearing my special eclipse glasses, taking in the awesomeness of the universe. That was also the day that Harvey first formed. I made note of it, but as my family and I were on vacation, I wasn’t too concerned. As the week progressed, my anxiety slowly kept ratcheting up as the storm grew stronger and the path became more clear. By Friday, the eclipse was totally forgotten as I watched the awesomeness of Mother Nature in full effect. Thanking the Lord we were in a safe place. Hoping our home would still be there when we got back.
I started walking around the house thinking of all the things I should take with me: wedding pictures, important documents, old family bibles.
We were so very fortunate in Portland that most of the damage came from a broken play set and fence. A year later and those moments are all very fresh in my memories, it feels as if it was only yesterday that we were waiting to hear that we had power again and eagerly waiting to check on the status of our home.