Last Thursday, flash flooding hit Brenham, TX (NW of where we live) and they had almost 17 inches of rain in one day. All of that water ran into the rivers and started heading our way.
Friday morning my parents (who live 30 minutes away) called and said they hadn't slept all night and they were flooded in from the heavy rains. My sister Heather and two of her children (her 12-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son) were visiting and trapped with them. Her 6-year-old was spending the night at our house.
My parents didn't have electricity or water and the nearby creek water was rising quickly. I looked at Weatherbug and the app reported that the storms were heavy, but quickly heading east and should soon be out of our area.
I called Mom and told her the heavy rains appeared to be moving out in the next hour or so.
Boy was I completely wrong...
Shortly after I spoke with her, I noticed a Facebook post that said a high pressure area was just under Houston, and the weather guys were concerned this might cause the heavy rains to stall over our area.
The worst-case scenario happened and we received 10 inches in a few hours at our house.
Paul was trapped at work and I was home with my two boys and nephew and I sat there and watched the rain come down. And come down. And come down.
My mom called me on her cell phone and was hysterical and said the water was dangerously close to entering their house and they were trying to see if they could get evacuated.
I was in complete panic mode but I was flooded in and couldn't do anything to help them.
Meanwhile the rain continued to pour down.
The kids and I watched the water rushing by on both sides of our house out to the driveway. The house is pretty high, but I started to worry that we weren't safe from this amount of flash flooding. But I was more worried about my parents and sister.
Finally I received an image (seen above) and call from my Mom. The rescue boat had made it into their subdivision and my family was saved!
The inflatable rescue boot picked up a few other neighbors and my sister and parent's dog and parent's cat (the little cat carrier in the upper left of the photo). They didn't have a vest for the baby so Heather had to tuck him into her life vest and pray that they would make it across safely.
They said the ride down the flooded creek was terrifying. They had to go quickly through the rushing water to keep from flipping over and they were cold, soaked, and scared to death. And we are so thankful for their incredibly brave rescuer. He had to risk his own life to get them out.
Mom started crying later when she called and said she couldn't even recognize her own subdivision. They passed several houses of neighborhood friends that were sitting in several feet of water. Some were completely swallowed up to the roof-line.
She told me that they were going to a shelter and would call me once they got there. She was obviously in shock and said when they had left their home the rain was still pouring and the creek water was still rising. Unless there was a miracle it looked like they were going to lose everything.
I felt completely frustrated and sick with worry. The rain was slowing down and I walked through the house, checking for leaks, and found one small one in our ceiling by a window. But after hearing that my parent's house was possibly underwater it seemed petty to even consider worrying about it at all. The front half of our front yard was completely underwater, but thankfully everything seemed to be slowly draining away.
My parents and sister made it safely to the church shelter with the two dogs, one cat, and the tiny baby. I couldn't pick them up because they were on the other side of a flooded river, but they were safe and dry so I felt so relieved. But I still worried about their house. I grew up in that house and my parents had lived there for forty years. It had made it through every Texas flood without ever getting any water damage, but this was the worst flood of those forty years and they were terrified. Flood insurance won't bring back a lifetime of precious possessions like photos, antique furniture, WWII medals, and paintings handed down from their parents and grandparents.
Paul tried to make it home but we were flooded in and he had to spend the night in his clinic. He went over to Walmart and bought an air mattress and a small single-serving box of wine. He ended up spending 27 hours at his clinic, tired and not too happy.
The sun came out the next morning and the boys and I walked to the end of our subdivision to check out the flooded creek. Last month we had experienced a historic flood and it didn't seem fair that we had another so soon. A few houses were islands, but no one got any water inside their house.
My family were still at the shelter and I had no idea when I could pick them up. My mom said that my dad was getting a ride to their house with a neighbor with a big truck to assess the flood damage. He would walk in through the back woods since their roads were still under water.
I was sick with worry. I didn't want my father to walk in and see his home completely underwater without me being there for him. No one should ever have to experience that. But I still couldn't do anything due to the flooded roads.
I popped some corn and we watched a movie and I tried my best to keep my mind off what my father was experiencing as he walked up to his flooded home. I was worried the stress might cause him to have a heart attack out in the woods. When I get stressed and overwhelmed I am a "worst-case-scenerio" thinker...
I finally received THE call from my mom. I dreaded talking to her, and when I answered she sounded horrible so I immediately assumed that they had lost everything.
"Rita" she said, "Dad just called me and no water got in the house or any of the cars. Everything is OK.".
I started sobbing. I couldn't believe it. It was a miracle.
Heather and the kids finally got a ride to my house from one of our friends with a big truck. We went to our friend's house and the kids all went swimming. They considered the last few days a grand adventure.
Mom and Dad walked through the woods with the dogs and cat to spend the night in their "island house".
They had no power or water, but I think it was one of the happiest night of their life.
The next morning they sent me this picture of their bridge. Duke noticed the broken telephone pole in the background. The house that is circled was the one that had water up to the bottom of its roof.
We had no more rain and by evening the water had gone down and the electrical lines were fixed and they had power in the house. They had lost everything in two outbuildings, but they took it in stride because all of their sentimental things in their home were fine.
Heather and the kids spent one more night before leaving for Dallas this morning. We were all sleep-deprived and cranky but happy things had turned out so well. They left this morning and even though I was completely exhausted and ready to have a quiet house, it was sad to see them go.
Things are back to normal in my house. But unfortunately more rains are headed our way this week, so we aren't completely out of the woods. We already told my parents they should stay packed and be ready to come stay with us if necessary. Dad is coming by today at 5 with all of his important paperwork. Our house has three stories (we have a small attic room) and he wants us to keep them on the the third floor. Better safe than sorry!
And I need to get our tiny ceiling leak fixed. Paul already went outside with his caulk gun and thinks he found the problem. Ironically we had more damage to our home than my parents. ;-)
Hope all of my Texas and Kansas readers are high, dry, and safe.
And I want to thank all of the brave and wonderful people who went out of their way and often risked their own lives to help those in need during this horrible storm.
Also, on this Memorial Day, I also want to thank all of the brave soldiers who died defending our great county.
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