Hurricane Harvey has caused catastrophic flooding in Houston and surrounding communities. Already the scene looks eerily similar to Hurricane Katrina, with the streets completely impassible because of rising waters and people desperately trying to escape their homes by boat or being rescued by helicopter.
Many hospitals have been inundated with water and high winds have grounded their medevac helicopters, while ambulances have been unable to maneuver through the flooded streets.
And it’s not over yet.
Unbelievably, rain is expected to continue for five or six more days, dumping 15 to 30 inches, and in some places, an insane 40 inches.
The National Weather Service called it “unprecedented rain” that is “beyond anything experienced.” The National Hurricane Center called the catastrophe a “multiday rainfall disaster.”
It is truly heartbreaking. I hope for the safety of everyone affected by this incredible tragedy.
Be prepared for congested roadways as Texas residents seek refuge
Houston is the fourth biggest city in the country and many of its 2.3 million residents have to evacuate. Then there are the many smaller towns and cities, which will empty out in coming days as well.
Where will all these people go? Fortunately, our community has offered help to victims of Harvey.
That means Dallas and Fort Worth should expect an influx of people seeking shelter and medical care. Several Dallas shelters have already reached full capacity, including those set up at the Samuell Grand, Tommie Allen and Walnut Hill recreation centers. The city is opening up a mega-shelter on Tuesday morning at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which is expected to house up to 5,000 people.
Of course we all want to help. One of the most important things residents of DFW can do is to remain patient with the evacuees that are flooding into the area. The roads will be more congested than usual. Many of these people aren’t sure where to go, adding further confusion on the roadways. Plan ahead to avoid areas around shelters and roads that lead from the affected areas of the state. And leave a little earlier for work and school in case you hit heavy traffic.
How you can help victims of Hurricane Harvey
How else can you help the victims of Hurricane Harvey? Here are a few suggestions for donating and volunteering.
You can donate money to these important emergency aid organizations:
- American Red Cross. Go to http://www.redcross.org/, call 800-REDCROSS or text the word “HARVEY” to 90999 to make an automatic $10 donation.
- The Salvation Army. Go to https://give.salvationarmyusa.org or text the word “STORM” to 51555 to make an automatic donation.
- Catholic Charities USA. Go to https://catholiccharitiesusa.org/ to donate.
- Trusted World. Visit https://trustedworld.org/hurricane-harvey-relief/
Volunteers are needed, not just in Houston, but in North Texas shelters. For more information, visit:
- American Red Cross. http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/
- The Salvation Army. http://salvationarmyusa.org/usn/volunteer
Don’t forget about the animals. Many pets have been separated from their owners and some shelters don’t take pets. Consider donating money or supplies to organizations taking in hundreds of displaced and rescued pets, including:
- SPCA of Texas. https://www.spca.org/gift
- Humane Society of North Texas. https://www.hsnt.org/donate/