The Old Stomping Ground Has Its 15 Minutes of Fame

On the Show and Tell of the Harvey Disaster Area that the POTUS was given Saturday, he deigned to visit a church in Pearland (First Church of Pearland) where relief supplies were being distributed, and if you’ve been following the news, you’ll have seen him speechifying there, and otherwise photo opting.

The thing is, in order for the POTUS to get there, he had to travel over ground that has a long history in my family (significant bits of which used to belong to my family, in fact).

Air Force One landed at Ellington Airport, the presidential motorcade apparently came up the Dixie Farm Road to get to the church (red tag), and then went back out to Ellington Airport via Yost Boulevard.

At one point, my mom’s three oldest brothers leased the Dixie Farm (for which the road was named) where they grew magnolia figs.  East Broadway, where the church is, used to be the Friendswood Highway which is how we used to get to Yost “Boulevard” from Houston back in the 1950’s when it was a dirt road paved with oyster shells way out in the country and every house on that road was the home of someone in my mom’s family.  Her second oldest sister VY lived in a white frame (1) house at the northwest corner of the T-intersection (the house is not there any more). 

Her youngest sister EW lived in this little 4-room house built in the 1930’s (below) (2), which is dwarfed by the $2 and $3 million dollar homes around it.  That’s my dad on his way in to visit my aunt in 2009.  Time has taken both of them away in the years since.  The only reason her house is still there is because my aunt befriended her neighbor’s autistic son and he spent a great deal of time with her and grew to love the house.  After she had to go to a nursing home, they bought her house for him as a “retreat.”

Further down the road was my grandma’s house (3) (above left with her daughter VY, VY’s daughter C, and nephew JCJ on the front porch) where my mother was born in 1924 (that house is no longer there).  That’s my grandma at far right with her 12 children in age order R to L (far left is mom, 3rd from left is HJ, 6th from left is EW, 7th from left is VY).  Her eldest son has a middle school named after him.   Down at the end of the road, where it dead ended was my mom’s brother HJ’s place.  It was a little wood frame house (no longer there) set in the pine trees far back from the road with a barn, and his wonderful grove of satsuma orange trees.

My uncle HJ later built a larger house (4) closer to the road, and eventually sold his orange grove when he could no longer work in it.  The patch of trees to the left in this photo is where my grandma’s house once stood.  Behind all these lovely homes runs Clear Creek, where my mom once played and chased cows.

The house (5) (at right) in the video below now stands where my uncle’s satsuma orange grove used to be and is two houses down from the new house my uncle HJ built.   You will note the name of the poster of the video below, who is one of “those” Yosts (great great grandson) for whom the road was named. One of those black SUV’s has the POTUS in it, but naturally the Secret Service has seen to it that it’s impossible to tell which one.

Life on Yost Road used to be a lot simpler.

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What 9 Trillion Gallons of Water Looks Like.

houston-modis-post-harvey

MODIS image from NASA’s Terra satellite on August 31, 2017, showing flooding in the Houston, Texas area and sediment plumes in the Gulf of Mexico from Hurricane Harvey. Image credit: NASA

Before and After pictures from the Washington Post.

The relatives we’ve heard from were very lucky.  So very many more were not.  Please donate to the American Red Cross.

We Can’t See The Last of Harvey Soon Enough

Again, please donate to the American Red Cross.  Every little bit helps.

A cousin CP in Pearland got water in the ground floor of her home.  We haven’t heard from another cousin and family in Clute, which is in the path of the Columbia Lakes levee that was breached. (My mom is the youngest of 12, so I have cousins whom I reckon by the dozens . . . ) We finally heard from my cousin WM in Rosharon.  Her house and car have been spared, but her land is all flooded.  She says they’ve lost all the hay, and the cattle (and wild life) are having a hard time of it.  She can’t get to them, and there’s no way to evacuate them or a place to take them to if she could.  She says they’ve gotten almost 50 inches of rain.

Harvey is heading toward Louisiana now.  At the Beaumont/Port Arthur airport (roughly between Houston and the Louisiana border), they measured 26.03 inches (66.11 cm) on Tuesday — that’s a one-day total!  Smashed the previous record to smithereens.  They’ve been keeping data since 1901; the previous record was 12.76 inches (32.41 cm) on 19 May, 1923.  This brings their 5-day total rainfall from Harvey to a mind-blowing 47.98 inches (121.86 cm!)!

Port Arthur is the site of our country’s largest oil refinery, which was forced to shut down due to the floods. Our second-largest refinery, in Baytown, TX, was also forced to shut down yesterday, due to flooding-induced roof damage. In all, at least 12 refineries are currently offline due to Harvey, so gas prices are going to be going up.   Fortunately, I have a nearly full gas tank.

These are the unofficial 3.5-day totals for 27-29 August, 2017:
61.52” (156.26 cm)  Baytown, TX (Country Club Oaks) (over 5 FEET!)
53.64”  (136.24 cm) Baytown, TX (Eastpoint)
52.30”  (132.84 cm) League City, TX (South League City)
51.69”  (131.29 cm) La Porte, TX (Westend LaPorte/SJJC)
47.79”  (121.36 cm) Dayton, TX (Winter Valley)
45.16”  (114.70 cm) Dayton, TX (Brookstone)

The above is the three-day forecast of rainfall from yesterday (Wednesday) to Saturday.  Somebody else’s turn to get nearly drowned.

Volunteer rescue boats make their way into a flooded subdivision to rescue stranded residents as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Spring, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

That blue sign that says “45” is pointing to I-45 — That’s the Gulf Freeway!In the knitting news, I finished another Fabled Cable hat.  This is that Lion Brand Landscape yarn.  Rather colorful.  I’ve gone through the pattern again and made sure I’ve made all the corrections and it is now posted on my knitting blog.

Touching Bases

Please donate to the American Red Cross.  Even if it’s just $10-$15.  Every little bit helps.

My mom talked to my cousin WM in Rosharon yesterday.  She was beside herself as all her land where her cattle are is under water and it was nearing her home.  She thought she might have to leave in the night.  My cousin EJ in Pearland is safe but they cannot get out of their housing addition/estate due to high water.  The same applies to my cousin BJ who is home now but who badly needs to get out to see his doctor (who very likely couldn’t get to his office either).

I’ve heard from my blog friend as well this morning.  They’ve had 47 inches of rain where she is in League City.  The water is lapping at the front steps of her building, but she is on the third floor.  She lost power for a bit, but it is back on now.  Miss Dixie (at left) is taking things in her stride.  As they say, “Life is hard, then you nap.”

Johnson Space Center, mission control for the International Space Station is just across the lake from her.  Their total rainfall to date is 43 inches.  They are down to a skeleton crew of essential mission personnel only.  JSC also houses the huge thermal vacuum chamber where the James Webb Space Telescope is undergoing tests. The nearly $9 billion successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is to be launched in October 2018.  The telescope is safe at the moment, as are the personnel who have stayed to protect it, a spokeswoman said.

The space center covers 1,700 acres southeast of Houston, almost within sight of flood-prone Clear Lake and about 30 miles from Galveston Bay. It is on low ground — just 13 feet above sea level at its lowest point, 22 feet at its highest. And it’s only getting more vulnerable as a result of climate change.*

Just got word that the Columbia Lakes levee in Brazoria County just suffered a breach.  Residents in affected areas were told to “Get out now.”

Mom and I have been trading off trying to keep in touch.  We are only calling periodically, as we have no way to tell who has power to keep their cell phone charged, and who doesn’t, and we don’t want to use up power that might be needed to call for help!

 

*The POTUS does not believe in climate change.  Fair enough.  I don’t believe in him either.

Water, Water Everywhere

Please donate to the American Red Cross even if it’s only $10-$15-$20.  Every little bit helps.  Over 3000 victims have been rescued from flooding so far, and thousands are in shelters.  If just 1000 people donated $10, that would be $10,000!

Parts of east Houston are under 9 feet (2.74 m) of water!  Parts of Houston and surrounding areas have gotten over 30 inches (76 cm) of rainfall already, and it’s not letting up.   Dayton, Texas, which is north east of Houston, has gotten nearly 40 inches (1.01 m) of rain in just 3 days.   I hear talk that the damage of this hurricane is going to rival that of Katrina in terms of cost.  We’re talking $billions.  Harvey has dumped 9 trillion gallons of water on southeast Texas.

There’s a massive 8-lane highway under there somewhere  . . .  We come in on 610 south to Highway 35 when we visit our relatives in Pearland.

The Brazos River is expected to crest at 59 feet (17.98 m).  My cousin WM lives by the red star, which is about 2 miles from the Brazos River.   The last time the Brazos flooded, it crested at 51 feet, and the water was up to, but not in her house.  I talked about her getting her cows out.  As problematic as that may be, equally problematic is where she can evacuate them to.

Here’s some drone footage of League City, where I have a blog friend.  I hope she and her cat are OK.  I haven’t heard from them yet.  This is pretty much what East Houston looks like too.

League City is southeast of Houston, and southeast of Pearland.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

After trashing the Rockport area, Hurricane Harvey has only just begun to wreak its havoc on the Texas Gulf Coast.  It’s already clear that the most widespread damage from Harvey is going to be the flooding — it’s scary when meteorologist start talking about rainfall in feet, and they are.  1-3 feet (that’s 30.48-91.44 cm of rainfall for the metric crowd).  Harvey’s one-two punch is not just the flooding caused by rain on the coast, but it’s bringing torrential rains hundreds of miles inland into east Texas, which is going to put an ungodly amount of water into the rivers in that area, so right about the time the rain flooding is subsiding, the rivers are going to flood.

Last I heard 300,000 people are without power.  Here are some of the rainfall totals (multiply these number by 2.5 for cm) measured between Thursday evening and 10 a.m. this (Sunday) morning.  (These are small towns in the Houston/Gulf Coast area)

SANTA FE  27.42
SOUTH HOUSTON 24.54
LEAGUE CITY 22.08
BACLIFF 21.62
PEARLAND  20.84
LA GRANGE 18.89
SUGAR LAND 17.97
CLEAR CREEK AT BAY AREA BLVD 17.84
MAGNOLIA 17.80
PASADENA 17.72
HOUSTON NE 17.22
CLEVELAND 16.43
NEW ULM  16.14
PECAN GROVE 15.80
SMITHVILLE 15.77
ALVIN 3 SW 15.16

I have relatives in Galveston, Pearland, Santa Fe, Alvin, and a blog friend in League City.

I’ve talked/texted with one cousin, EJ, in Pearland.  They were OK as of this afternoon, as are her son and his wife and baby in Galveston.  But her brother, my cousin BJ, is in the hospital with double pneumonia, and has been there for several weeks now, and the hospital he’s in is in that area.  Still no word about how my cousin WM (and her cows!) is doing.  My cousin DJ lives in Santa Fe, and as you can see, they’ve gotten 27+ inches of rain already.  No word from him yet either.

I’ve quit watching the news.  It’s breaking my heart.  I’ve done all I can do.  Donate to the American Red Cross, people.  Donate money.  Any amount. Whatever you can.  Even if it’s just $5.

Better Put Yer High-Water Pants* On, Texas

I made a comment in an earlier post about us getting some rain because of swirly storms horsing around in the Gulf (of Mexico).  Yep.  We’ve been getting a goodly bit of rain here lately, real gully-washers, and one of them swirly storms name of Harvey is slamming into the Texas coast as I type.  It was upgraded from a category 3 to a category 4 just as it started coming ashore at Port Lavaca  (slightly north and east of Corpus Christi), which is mostly evacuated by now according to one of the masochists on The Weather Channel .

As my regular blog readers might remember, I have maternal relatives in the Houston-Galveston area.  They are not in any immediate danger from the hurricane, thankfully, but Jiminy Christmas, they’re talking 2 FEET (60.69 cm) of rainfall along the coast, including the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area between now and Tuesday, maybe as much as 30 inches. (76.2 cm).  Never mind your umbrella; better take your flippers and a snorkel.

And roll an eyeball over the rainfall prediction for the next 7 days.

Where I am is in the blue bit in the extreme upper left-hand corner.  But the worst part of all this hurricane business is that they think Harvey is not going to start dissipating when it makes landfall like most hurricanes do.  He seems to want to wander around a bit and may have a little sit-down first, so there could be widespread and severe flooding.  I hope my cousin WM can get her cows — and herself! — to high ground.  She lives at the edge of the flood plain of the Brazos River west of Houston.  My cousin EJ’s boy and his wife and little daughter Raelyn Rose (Little Raelyn is the one I made all those baby clothes for about two years ago.)  live in Galveston — in a brick 2-storey house, but only miles from the beach.  They don’t expect much in the way of storm surge, but they’re in that 2 feet of rain area. That whole end of Texas is going to be soggy and squishy for months.

Well, after Napster/Rhapsody did me dirty, I decided to finally bite the bullet.  Consumer Cellular was having a really good sale on its Samsung Galaxy J3(6) phones.  I have been saving up for one for months now, foregoing junk food, cakes, cookies, ice cream and candy, and putting aside the money I would have spent on them.  It came Wednesday.  I ordered a little wallet for it from Amazon, and it came this morning — in the pouring rain, no less.  Changing to a smart phone is only going to up my bill about $3-$5 a month, depending on how much data I use.   I just texted my cousin EJ a while ago — now that I can! — to let her know I was thinking about her.   Napster has an Android app, and I can download music through it over WiFi, which doesn’t use up my data, and then play it through my phone, again without using data.  The phone only has 16GB of memory, but I have my eye on a 64GB memory chip that is around $20.  My mom is not going to be happy with me for getting yet another gadget, but there it is.

In the knitting news, I’m doing a toboggan out of some camouflage patterned yarn KC donated to my chemo hat efforts. (Chemo camo!)  It’s a regular knitting worsted weight (Medium:4) yarn, which I have not used for toboggans yet.  I’ve only used the Red Heart Unforgettable yarn, which is actually about halfway between a Medium:4 weight and a Light:3 weight. I think it’s going to take the lion’s share of the skein of yarn to make it, though.  I thought this style hat in a camo yarn was bound to go over big with guys undergoing chemo and needing hats.  Apparently in this part of the world, something that might be considered wimpy/sissy becomes automatically “manly” if it’s in camo.

I need to get all the donated Dazzle yarn knitted up so I can wash it. The yarn has been in storage for probably 30 years, and needs the dust washed out, for one thing, and it’s easier to wash after it has been knitted up.  I’ll set my washing machine on delicate and pour in hair (shampoo) conditioner at the point in the cycle where you are supposed to add fabric softener.  That is supposed to soften the yarn right up.  We’ll see.

Well, it’s after midnight now, so I’ll say goodnight, Gracie.

*high-water pants