By Pat Caldwell
VALE – Terry Coon admits she and her daughter were lucky.
Coon, who was born and raised in Vale, lives in west Houston. While she was visiting family in Vale last month, Hurricane Harvey struck Texas.
Getting back to Houston to check on her property wasn’t easy, but it turned out the potent hurricane left her home untouched. But like other Texans, Coon is dealing with the storm’s aftermath in the region.
She was in Vale at the tail end of a vacation trip when she decided to get home to her daughter, who lives with her.
Coon, who works for an energy company in Houston, said her daughter had never experienced a hurricane. Coon, on the other hand, was in Houston when Hurricane Ike hit in 2008.
“On Ike. I lived two miles from the center of Houston and was without power in my apartment for 12 days,” said Coon.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall Aug, 26. That morning, Coon awoke at 5:30 a.m. and drove to Boise to fly home, arriving later that day.
Her flight into George Bush Intercontinental Airport was one of the last before that airfield was closed.
“We were all pretty excited when the plane landed,” said Coon.
From there Coon reached her car and headed for home.
“I had already scoped out my route home, taking the highest elevation, like the beltway. It started pouring down rain halfway home and got very hairy. I got off the beltway and that was when I was impacted by the high water. I couldn’t get the last four miles home,” said Coon.
When the water levels dropped, Coon made it home, arriving at 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
“I have been very fortunate. I am in a neighborhood where the elevation of my home is higher than the surrounding drainage system,” said Coon.
Coon’s house has a raised driveway which she said proved to be a “good thing.”
Eventually, though, the water crawled up across her lawn and was within 10 feet of her front door before it receded.
“It was nerve wracking to watch the water,” said Coon.
Though her neighborhood was spared, Coon said, “We were all impacted to some degree, either physically or emotionally. The emotional part comes when you see so many neighbors and many others hurt.”
Coon said Hurricane Harvey was notable for the rain.
“It was 6 to 10 inches of rain an hour,” said Coon.
Coon said Hurricane Harvey showed her that no one can go it alone in a crisis.
“Here it takes a village. Everybody should be in that mindset. If a catastrophe happens you just can’t rely on FEMA or the police. You must be able to go into action to help. That is what we did,” said Coon.
Coon also said that social media, particularly Facebook, played a huge role during the disaster for updates and directions to aid centers and shelters.
The storm, said Coon, left an impression with her. Roads were cut off for a long time creating more problems for the huge urban center.
“It has impacted traffic horrendously. That piece impacts everybody. It is 6.3 million people affected and that is pretty amazing,” said Coon.
Coon said that since the storm, the climate around Houston has been beautiful.
“We’ve had some of the prettiest weather since and it has cooled down,” said Coon.