Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Texas Flood

By Sgt York in Culture
Wed May 07, 2008 at 05:01:22 PM EST
Tags: Storm, mice, tropical storm allison (all tags)

"It's coming down pretty hard. Maybe we should just come back and get my car tomorrow."

It was the first week of June, 2001. 9/11 was still months away. People just mildly disliked Bush, and for comparitively trivial reasons. Iraq was something that happened about 10 years ago. I was just wrapping up my first year of graduate school. My daughter was 6 weeks old, and we were on our way home from the obligatory 6 week checkup. I had had a test that afternoon, so I had been up at the school. My wife is insane, so she had insisted on getting to the appointment herself. This meant driving 25 minutes through Houston traffic with a baby, after extracting said baby from her body just a bit more than a month prior. She even picked me up at school to go to the appointment, and even that only at my insistance. She had planned to go solo.

Aside from the fact that our daughter was freakishly tall (well, long) and had a lunatic for a mother, everything was fine.We stepped out of the office into the lobby of her OB/Gyn's office, located just west of the 288/610 interchange in Houston, Texas. The lobby is a large atrium, capped with a skylight four stories above and ringed with balcony walks in turn lined with office doors. The skylight usually bathed the atrium in warm sunlight, but not today. Not the waning reddish light of a Texas sunset, not the cool gray light of a thunderstorm, not even the green hue of an approaching hurricane. The sky was black. The glass ceiling a roiling chaos of flowing water. Individual raindrops couldn't even be made out, it was as though God had turned a hose on the roof. We watched for a minute.

"I'll get the car, you two just wait here inside the door."
"No, honey, I'm pretty sure that's my line," and took the keys from her hand.

I darted out to the car. I wasn't out in it for more than a few seconds, but I couldn't have been more wet if I had spent an equal amount of time in a swimming pool. It was coming down hard. I pulled up and herded my family into the car.

"How bad is it supposed to be? Can we just wait it out?" Houston is in a subtropical climate. It's right on the coast. It used to be a salt marsh. When it rains in Houston, it rains. And with the terrain in Houston, there's almost no way to prevent flooding, other than to prohibit building on or near flood-prone areas. Ever tried to tell a Texan what he can and can't do with his land? Good luck. To the typical Texan, land is a family member, and her honor shall be defended at all costs.

The alternative is to just build one hell of a drainage system, in true Texas style. The city is crisscrossed with bayous; wide cement lined rivers, fed by a system of tributaries and drains. Each one dumps into the ship channel, which penetrates deep into the industrial eastern side of the city. The result is rapid, severe, and localized floods. Water will fill a bayou in minutes, sometimes up and over the bridges crossing them. It will just as rapidly fade when the rain stops or slacks. Hence the choice: Go now, or just wait until the water subsides? If you go in the middle of the worst of the storm, you brave all the dangers of flooded roads, limited visibility and idiots on the road just to have the sun burst through the clouds as you get home, and the streets to be filled with happy children minutes later. If you wait, you run the risk of having misjudged just how bad that storm was going to get.

Tropical storm Allison had whipped through the city a few days before. There were the (generally ignored) announcements of voluntary evacuation, the scaremongering in the news, etc. It tore through the area at warp speed, drenching us and knocking down a few limbs. No big deal in the grand scheme of things. Rough storm, but not that bad. It headed towards Arkansas and out of our lives to dissipate on the hills.

Or so we thought.

Unbeknownst to us, there was a high pressure cell somewhere around Oklahoma, and as Allison ran into its fringes, the storm system slowed....then stalled...then.....holy fuck, it's tuning around. We, however, were in the throes of caring for a newborn and studying for a bitch of a biochem exam. We didn't know any of this. All we knew was that there had been a storm a few days ago, and it was gone now.

She craned her neck and looks up at the black sky, "It looks like a tropical storm....there wasn't another one behind that one from the other day, was there?"

"Nah, they'd have been all over that." There is no point in listening to weather news in Houston. It's always the same thing. Sunny day? Heat Wave? We're all gonna die! Drops below 60F? Cold weather brings city to standstill! We're all gonna die! A little rain? Floods! Animals fleeing to large boat! We're all gonna die! Snow? Unknown white flaky material falling from gray clouds! Apocalypse? Manna from heaven? God's dandruff? Doesn't matter which, we're all gonna die!

"It's coming down pretty hard. Maybe we should just come back and get my car tomorrow," and so we went. We avoided the places we knew lay low...288 going under the loop, Old Spanish Trail, feeder roads. We finally made it to the elevated paradise of highway 288 and headed out of town, towards home. The rain fell in a steady sheet, coating the windshield with a continuous stream of water against which the windshield wipers were completely ineffective. I focused on the other drivers, bracing myself for a skid, a hydroplane, a fishtail, or, God forbid, brakelights. You never, never, NEVER hit your brakes on roads like this. If you need to stop, let the water stop you. Once your wheels stop rolling, the tread won't pump the water out from under them anymore and you'll wind up skiing, completely out of control.

My wife watched the baby and the feeder roads. "They're under...wow, that's a tractor trailer down there..." I glance just in time to see an abandoned tractor trailer on the feeder road...

I must have been mistaken. I just looked quick, that must be it...."Was that truck....?" She nodded nervously and glanced back at the oblivious sleeping baby. The water had nearly covered the wheels. Just a bit of tire poked out of the water, and the water was flowing like a river.

"Just get us home, OK?"
I nod silently and grip the wheel.

Getting home took a lot longer than it usually did. I couldn't go faster than 30mph, mainly because nobody else was. There's a low point at an intersection just before the cul-de-sac we used to live on. A Texas-style big ass pickup truck was stalled out at the intersection, the water stopping just below the windows. No way in Hell our little Saturn coupe was going to make it. I parked the car in a school lot nearby, the rain was finally starting to subside. I found the highest spot in the lot and stopped the car.

"Damn...guess we should have waited."
My wife just looked at me and shook her head, "I don't think it's over." Never doubt the intuition of a new mom when it comes to danger.

I turned around and wrapped my raincoat over the baby carrier. We stepped out into what was now merely a downpour, rather than something requiring Biblical adjectives. My wife took the umbrella and we started out into the parking lot, towards the lake that had formed at the entrance to our neighborhood. The sidewalks are raised, and there's always a grade leading up towards the houses. We stayed as close as we could, and wound up through only knee deep water. The street was almost dry in front of my house. Puddle deep.

Little girl slept through the whole thing. I got them home, changed, and settled, then waited for the waters to recede. About 8PM, they had dropped enough for me to go get the car. I put it in the garage and collapsed on the couch with a prayer of thanks just as the rain came back for a second assault. Dinner, baby down, turn on the weather, take out the trash (it's Friday night. Habits are hard to break)...damn.

There wasn't even that much wind. The noise from the sheer volume of rain on the roof woke me. I lie awake, listening. I looked at the clock....1AM. I drifted off. An hour later, an increase in tempo woke me again. Holy crap....is it still raining that hard? I went to the front door, switched on the porch light and opened the door to blinding white light. My porch was sheltered by an overhang, resulting in about 3-4 feet of protected concrete patio before the walk to the driveway started. I was standing behind a cascade, the porch light reflected off the droplets, obscuring anything behind it. I switched off the porch light and my jaw dropped. The street was full.

The water was over the curb and in our lawn. The trash bags I had set out earlier that evening were floating. Oh, crap...those are diapers... I waded out into the flood to collect them, putting them in the garage. Across the street was parked my neighbors brand new Mustang, water already at the bumper. Screw the time. I phoned him....no answer. Shit. He's not going to be happ- oh CRAP my car is up at the med center! No time...let's worry about the house first. The backyard was a lake, the front yard a rising, slowing river....slowing? No, no, nonononono!

I could do nothing but watch and wait. There was a shelter that had been set up at the school up the road, it was high ground. I packed a few bags...just in case. I set the computers up on the counter. Moved some things into garbage bags. Just in case....just in case.

The water stopped at my doorstep, literally. It was kept out by the doorjamb, that's it. The entry hall got sloshed a bit, but it was ceramic tile. The garage got some water in it. I lost the lawnmower. No biggie, it was old as hell anyway.

8AM. My front lawn. Knee deep in floodwater, shouting across the street to neighbors, finding out what we could do to help each other. The flooded houses up the street were evacuated, living with family members on higher ground. We had spent the morning watching dramatic video from around the city. Highway 59 was filled, tractor trailer tucks completely submerged, invisible under the water. Houses up to the eaves, rescues from rooftops.

My wife came out, holding the phone. "It's Dr K. He wants to talk to you." K? He was the chairman of the department. What the hell?
"Alvin, this is Dr K. I couldn't get a hold of Mike (my boss), and you were next on the list."
"Yes sir, he's out of town. Went to see some family in Tennessee."
"Ah. Well. Uh...Alvin, are you sitting down?"
I glanced down, my legs invisible from the knee down in the still, muddy water. "As much as I can , yes sir."
"The med school is flooded. There are three feet of water standing on the first floor. There is no power."
"Wow, three fee-" the realization hit me like a train, loaded to capacity with both trucks and bricks. "The animal facility..."
I was silent.
"Alvin? You there?"
"Yes sir, sorry. I'll get up there as soon as I can. My street has about 5-plus feet of water on it right now."
"Don't worry about it. Nobody can get in the building without a HAZMAT suit anyway."

The animal facility at the University of Texas was in the basement, so was the loading dock. Trucks got to the loading dock by way of a ramp, leading down some 30-40 feet. The doors there were century flood rated, watertight. But Allison actually redefined the century flood level for Houston, nearly 40 inches of rain had fallen in just over 24 hours. At the time of failure, there was probably over 25 feet of water sitting on top of those doors, exerting tons of force on them. When they gave, they gave catastrophically. A wave of water rammed through the facility, knocking out walls, doors, cages, animals. Nothing survived. Some didn't even get the chance to drown, they were killed by the force of the water, crushed.

It took weeks. After four days, they let us in. They had an area for us to park, and I had to walk the last mile. Pumps were working furiously, emptying the basement. I climbed the 7 flights of stairs to my lab in the dark to retrieve notebooks and hard drives, and see what could be salvaged. All the samples were toast. Hot, humid and dark. Even the bacteria had succumbed to natural selection. Water was pumped out of the basement, into drums, and taken to hazardous waste disposal. The loading dock was the holding area for outgoing biological, chemical, and radioactive waste. And it had been under water for three days, along with a few thousand rotting animal carcasses. Most of them weren't even recognizable by species anymore.

Allison hurt us bad. Our lab worked heavily in genetically modified mice, and most of them were lines we had made ourselves. Many had been shipped out to other labs interested in collaboration, and we got breeding pairs from them. One serendipitous line was completely lost. One guy in another state had a pair of elderly females, and Mike got in his car and drove to Jackson Labs in a fruitless effort to salvage them from their ova. We even sent tissue off to try and get it cloned, but no dice.

Twenty-three people, over five billion dollars, thousands of animals, and decades of research were lost in one night. Personally, I was set back to zero. A year of work as a grad student, years of work as a tech in that same lab, all gone. It was six months before I could get back into the lab. Two more before I had limited access to animals. It took me a year and a half just to get back to the point where I could start to recoup my losses. But I was lucky. My house was unflooded. My family was OK. Several houses on our street had to be abandoned years later, as the families fell ill and black mold was found in the recesses of every wall.

Oh, and the car? It was fine, but I couldn't get to it for couple of weeks. It was bone dry, that lot just so happened to be the highest point in the med center. Unfortunately, both FEMA and the Red Cross knew this, and my car was surrounded by support trucks.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o Also by Sgt York

Display: Sort:
Texas Flood | 43 comments (26 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
Ouch. (2.25 / 4) (#8)
by xC0000005 on Tue May 06, 2008 at 03:57:13 PM EST

I've been in an 11 inch down pour and a 13 inch flood and both were exactly as you described - the sky had opened up like a hose. My wife wanted to drive in the 11 inch one (We have to get home!). I pointed out that the car was floating (a tiny mazda) and that even if I could get it started the exits from the mall were all lower. We sat there for the next three hours. The rain stopped after two or so hours, the rest of the time was waiting for the water to run off. I retrieved the car, about two hundred yards from where I parked. Car ran for 78,000 miles after that. Suck it, Ford.

The thirteen inch flood was like the end of the world. The cockroaches were lining up two by two and I was thinking that a few months ago would have been a really good time to take up ark building as a hobby.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't

Well its flooding down in Texas (none / 1) (#11)
by TDS on Tue May 06, 2008 at 09:35:55 PM EST

all of the telephones lines are down...

Hell yeah.

And when we die, we will die with our hands unbound. This is why we fight.

Glad somebody (none / 0) (#12)
by Sgt York on Tue May 06, 2008 at 11:01:04 PM EST

got the reference.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

+1, disasters of Biblical Proportions (none / 0) (#16)
by HackerCracker on Tue May 06, 2008 at 11:19:00 PM EST

Also, Texas hill country FTW!

At that time... (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by b1t r0t on Tue May 06, 2008 at 11:43:37 PM EST

At that time I was safely 100 miles away in Bryan, watching the (t)rainwreck on TV. The thing I remember most was how that I-10 trench got flooded to the brim, with a tanker trailer and a fire truck amongst the other bobbing apples.

And a few days later, Allison had gone around the coast and sat on Pennsylvania, flooding there too.


-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.

Bryan? (none / 0) (#18)
by Sgt York on Wed May 07, 2008 at 12:05:25 AM EST

Heh. I went to Texas A&M for undergrad. Lived in Bryan a while.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Research is so much different in mathematics. (3.00 / 2) (#23)
by givemegmail111 on Wed May 07, 2008 at 09:46:01 AM EST

My three years worth of research can be and is backed up on a flash drive. No mere summer shower is going to wipe me out.

Of course I don't get to poke things with a scalpel until they die, so I guess you win some, you lose some.

McDonalds: i'm lovin' it
Start your day tastefully with a

Yeah (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by Sgt York on Wed May 07, 2008 at 09:53:51 AM EST

but can your research survive an EMP bomb?

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Fair enough. (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by givemegmail111 on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:00:38 AM EST

I'll go burn it to a CD as well.

McDonalds: i'm lovin' it
Start your day tastefully with a Parent ]
FOILED AGAIN (3.00 / 4) (#26)
by Sgt York on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:11:19 AM EST

BTW, I'm meeting with some of your kind this afternoon regarding my little problem. I like this working together thing. Biochemist, physiologist, physicist, and mathematician all coming together in the interest of rodent torture the advancement of human knowledge.

It's a weird thing, meeting with scientists from other fields. We all see things in such a radically different way and for the most part, we're not even aware of it. For example, it drives physicists absolutely nuts that we get variance, and we find it hard to believe any graph they put up with no error bars.

"You mean it's the same every time? That's not even possible!"
"Ummm...yeah, well, math kind of works that way."

"You get different results on each repeat? Your model must be wrong!"
"Ummm...it's not a model. It's a rodent."

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

A guy I know has a PHD in Bio (none / 1) (#28)
by wiredog on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:15:22 AM EST

and went back to school for his BS in CS. He picked up quite a bit of math, too. I think his ultimate goal is a PHD in bioinformatics.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

We need more (none / 1) (#29)
by Sgt York on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:25:19 AM EST

people educated like that that stick in the life sciences. Most people like me are shit for maths. I know the basics, but I'm getting to the point where it would be useful to know differential equations, and I just don't. I've tried a few times, but it just looks arcane. It's not something I can just teach myself.

When these guys give talks, it's like all of a sudden they pull some symbol out of their asses, and I have no idea where it came from. I wrack my brain trying to figure out what they did, and by the time I realize I don't have a clue they've moved on and it's too late. They've completely lost me and I start pouring over the old data stored in my head. Or napping.

In all fairness, we do the same thing. Last time I gave a talk, I noticed about halfway through that all the physics and maths guys were either napping or typing away on their laptops. The bio and med people were enjoying it, but the physics guys were just somewhere else. I don't even know where I lost them.

In hindsight, I should have just stopped the talk right there and asked them where they got lost.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

diff eq (none / 1) (#33)
by wiredog on Wed May 07, 2008 at 12:45:34 PM EST

Not that hard. It's linear (or matrix, depending on the teacher) algebra. A bit weird, as b X a != a X b, and other things like that. Take an undergrad course. You shouldn't need calculus for it.

But I would highly recommend taking calculus. Usually a one year (two semester) course. Then you can take calculus based stats and probability courses. It's amazing how much easier it is to do statistics and figure probabilities if you use calculus rather than just algebra.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

Take a course? (none / 1) (#34)
by Sgt York on Wed May 07, 2008 at 01:51:18 PM EST

I've gone to school for well over two decades now. I'm done.
I took calculus in college (I was actually an engineering major until second semester Sophomore year), but it's been a while. I could probably relearn calculus on my own, but I just can't seem to be able to teach myself diff. Mental block or something, I don't know.

Fortunately, I have mathematician collaborators.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

In honor of the H-Town reference (none / 1) (#27)
by Strom Thurmond on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:46:16 AM EST

I present, Wanna be a Baller by Lil' Troy.

Wanna be a -- baller, shot caller
Twenty inch blades -- on the Impala
A caller gettin laid tonight
Swisher rolled tight, gotta spray my ice
I hit the HIIIGHWAY, making money the FLYYYY WAY
But there's got to be a BETT-ER WAYY!
A better way, better way, YEAH-AHHHH

I'ma -- baller, I'ma twenty inch crawler
Blades on Impala, diamond rottweiller
Octane hauler, not a leader not follower
Break these boys off I'ma twenty inch crawler
Bust a left, a right, I'm outta sight I'm throwed
I'm bouncin off the road I'm in a modem with them foe dem
Tiny tune -- hop out my big body form
Chain with the chong, can't forget Moet along
I'm hot, find me lookin good, diamonds against my wood
Man it's understood -- got money in my hood
I'm pushing big body can't stop me
For the nine-eight got to sell a million copy
I'ma crawl slow puffin on the Optimo hit the sto'
I'ma go real slow -- puffin indo out the do'
I'ma lit the stash green, man I'm lookin clean
Want remote control screens with ice bezeltynes

Repeat Chorus

[Fat Pat]
Big ballin, smashin, makin my ends
Smokin big killa gettin high in the Benz
Big ballin, smashin, makin my ends
Smokin big killa gettin high in the Benz
In the wind smoke goes as I crawl down on Vogues
Twenty Lorenzo, smoke all up in my nose
Yo' eyes, get froze, as you see my low
Candy-red, two-do', let my top down slow
Hittin, my remote, sittin, in my shit
Presidential V-12 with that AMG kit
It don't quit, as I get high
from K.C. to H-Town, connectin SouthSide
Now we worldwide, watch me highside
Fat Pat blowin killa, can't be denied
187 thugs, oh yeah we got love
Blowin sticky green we flow through and above

Repeat Chorus

[Lil' Will]
Sittin' Fat Down South, rollin Benz on blocks
Mo' scrilla I got, signin with Shortstop
And that's for real, so tell me how you feel
to make a million dollars out my first record deal
Shortstop -- puttin up your motherfuckin ear
Really really don't give a fuck and I ain't drinkin on no beer
Codeine what I sip, pistol grip when I ride
Trunk hit fo' life baby it's SouthSide
We on a fuckin mission Expedition Navigator
That's how we be ridin, alligator suitcasin
Puttin it in your face, and that's for real
Shinin harder than the grill it's the player Lil' Will
Down with the 2-Low, Yungstar be a thug
So nigga nigga what? I'm down with my own thugs
Mo' thugs in the pound, you know it's goin down
Represent that H-Town, pop trunks surround by sound

Repeat Chorus

I gots to get better man, it gots to move on
Switched from Motorola to a PrimeCo phone
Broke in two chrome, now you know no dope pigeon
Used to count my spoke, now these hoes count my inches
Had to get older -- man it got colder
I done got grown and got a chip on my shoulder
Licks in Kuwait, got links in Pakistan
Boys don't understand virtual reality Caravan
Double doors marble floors naked hoes around me
Everytime I'm comin out, niggaz they wanna sign me
Got the Lil' Will diamond grillers ??
Blaze in the Benz and you can't forget the den
The boo went down to Rueben's, I'm watchin on a movie
Drop the top it's cotton, and you know I'm in a jacuzzi
Bourban and I'm swervin, man it's gettin hot
My last name Lemmon, drive my tight'um off the lot, David Taylor

Repeat Chorus

[Big T]
I hit the highway
Everything's my way, I par-le
Everyday all day, ain't no way
Boys can't stop as i slide through your neighborhood
Chop chop chop, headed straight to the top
I only play to win -- bout to close up shop
Showstoppin dead end, pimp the pen once again
Peep the message I send
Take these levels that you devils can't comprehend
Big bout it Benz -- as I floss through the south
Big blue lens -- now whatcha talkin about?
Close yo' mouth -- as I settle all scores
Scream and shout -- my similes and metaphors
Mansion doors -- I contstantly close
All you hoes -- go and take off your clothes
Lord knows -- ain't no time to pray
Commence to fuckin and-a suckin on the H.A.W.K.

VEGETARIAN: An Indian word meaning "lousy hunter"

So what you're saying... (none / 1) (#30)
by BJH on Wed May 07, 2008 at 12:08:35 PM EST

...is that the Houston sewers are now full of radioactive, chemically altered, virally infected mutant mice?

Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

dam's broke loose (none / 0) (#31)
by ray eckson on Wed May 07, 2008 at 12:19:11 PM EST

flood's gonna wash away this town

wampsy: hey ray why don't you start up a site. you could call it ray5.
rusty: I gotta fix that stupid cancel bug.
booger: How's that for daring to get ray eckson all sniffy, you cow?
poopy: Not that I'm gay or anything, but for you I might make an exception.
Sgt York needed to ride dirty in Noah's Ark (none / 1) (#32)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Wed May 07, 2008 at 12:29:53 PM EST

Film at +11. (FP, interesting stuff)

"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
I remember that flood (none / 0) (#36)
by localroger on Wed May 07, 2008 at 05:14:54 PM EST

I wasn't there, but the loss of your lab was national news. I know I read a detailed account somewhere of the aftermath and cleanup. There was also a particularly horrible account of someone who was trapped in an elevator that was submerged, which is not exactly the way you think of going when "death" and "elevator" get mentioned in close proximity.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
My boss's road trip (none / 0) (#37)
by Sgt York on Wed May 07, 2008 at 05:33:06 PM EST

to Jackson Labs to save the mice made the front page of the Wall Street Journal. They even included his picture. I remember the story about the lady in the elevator. Apparently, she went down into a parking garage and when the doors of the elevator opened...whoosh.

I'll do you one worse though. This is the story of what happened to a Houston doc just a few years later. Basically, a doctor was running for the elevator and tried to get it. The safety mechanism failed and he got pinned at the shoulders. The elevator started going up and he was decapitated. To make it even more gruesome, there was somebody already in the elevator. And to just add some icing to that cake of nastiness, she was trapped in the elevator for 20 minutes with the man's severed head.

Freaks me out just thinking about it.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

That's just Darwin in action (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy on Thu May 08, 2008 at 08:14:24 AM EST

What kind of idiot goes into an underground area open to the outside world in the middle of a flood?

One who won't be breeding anymore.

I'm a pompous windbag, I take myself far too seriously, and I single-handedly messed up K5 by causing the fiction section to be created. --localroger

[ Parent ]
At the time it came out, the doc story (3.00 / 3) (#39)
by Sgt York on Thu May 08, 2008 at 10:23:12 AM EST

reminded everyone of an old hospital joke.

A surgeon, a radiologist, an internist, and a nurse were running to catch an elevator. The doors were closing, so each reached to stop them before they shut. Not wanting to lose the part of their body their livelihood depended on, they stuck out different portions of their anatomy. The internist rarely did hands on procedures, and needed to walk around a lot, so he stuck out his hand. The radiologist did most of his work sitting down anyway, so he stuck out his foot. The surgeon had to stand all day, and his hands were obviously important, so he stuck out his head.

The nurse, of course, just used a clipboard.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

3, I lol'd. (none / 0) (#40)
by The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy on Thu May 08, 2008 at 11:07:02 AM EST

I'm a pompous windbag, I take myself far too seriously, and I single-handedly messed up K5 by causing the fiction section to be created. --localroger

[ Parent ]
I remember that (none / 1) (#41)
by Shreela on Thu May 08, 2008 at 03:47:06 PM EST

IIRC, the lady was worried about her car parked in the basement, she took  an elevator, run by electricity, DOWN to a basement garage, during the biggest flood in Houston's recorded history. OMG!

According to the media reports, the elevator shorted out from the flood waters, which continued to rise, drowning her. Her family sued! I think they sued the building owners, and maybe the elevator company. The judge seemed sympathetic to the family's loss when s/he ruled this as unforeseeable.

I remember another loss: A mother and her son were putting valuables up higher. The son picked up a TV, that wasn't unplugged. The mother was electrocuted when she tried saving her son. Apparently she did not turn off power at the main once flood waters came into the house.

A house caught on fire one street north of me. By the time my neighbor pointed out the flames, it was already engulfed. I told her I was going to bring my extinguisher to the old man living next door in case the flames jumped to his roof, so my old neighbor asked me to bring back our giant trash cans that had floated to that street.

The old man didn't answer his door, so I left the extinguisher on his porch nearest the burning house, then went to collect two trash cans. I was dragging them back home when the big fire truck showed up. The driver yelled to ask how high the water was. I answered I wore 35" inseam. He cursed, probably because he couldn't see my legs, but they went on through anyway.

They put out the original fire, as well as the next door fire (not the old man I had given the extinguisher to, the neighboring house on the other side). Later on we heard that that block's houses didn't flood until the firetruck showed up, displacing the water just enough to get into their homes.

I'd rather have a few inches of water than an uncontrolled fire burning next to me, jumping roof to roof.

I remember one of Allison's bands had semi-flooded our neighborhood a few days before the big flood, so with the daily rains, we were pretty saturated before Allison proper. I looked outside, super dark clouds to the south as far as I could see, wind barely tickling my wet pinkie. I checked the TV news, and the radars online. I begged my husband not to go to work that evening (he's from desert country). But he was a supervisor, so he felt more responsibility I guess. I packed him extra non-perishables for lunch.

He worked a bit north of where people were cannon-balling off the beer truck on I-10. I guess my worrying rubbed off on him, because he parked on high ground and walked to work that night. His truck was the only one not flooded, and he drove everybody that lived south and west of the plant once waters receded enough for a half-ton to get through.

[ Parent ]

Glad I'm not there anymore... (none / 0) (#42)
by QillerPenguin on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 05:07:55 PM EST

I'm a Houston native, born at Hermann Hospital, grew  up in Bellaire ("biggest city in Houston!"), attended HSVPA and the U of H, graduating with a degree in Biochemistry. The week after getting my degree, me and my new wife moved to Orlando FL. That was 25 years ago, and I don't miss Houston one single, fricking bit.

Hey, we get hurricanes and nasty rainy weather here, too. Afternoon thunder showers that come and go in a few hours, with sun shining in between. We live in a mostly dry swamp (the Everglades used to reach its northern limits around Orlando), the bugs are even more atrocious, termites are epidemic, and the worst to boot, the horrible infestation of Yankee-type people that like to push the genteel Southerners around, like a butter knife likes to push margarine.

But We Don't Have Houston Like Floods. It's damp a bit, somewhat muggy, life goes on. Until tomorrow, and everyday after until about October. Then it's the most delightful winter weather one can imagine. So nice, most of Canada moves down here during the Christmas season. We have *nothing* in Orlando that compares to River US-59 after a normal Houston thunder and rain storm. Thankfully.
"All your Unix are belong to us" - SCO, 2003.

OK... (none / 0) (#43)
by nutate on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 11:40:11 AM EST

first off this is meant as a thanks for the lye soap recipe, which seems to top my random google for nutate irc today. also. I was in Houston this past summer for an internship (part of gradual student life), but left right before it got real hairy. Crazy. thanks again for the personal recipe! -rich

[ Parent ]
Texas Flood | 43 comments (26 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!