Monday, January 1, 2018

Revisiting this blog and another hurricane visits as well.

A major tropical storm targets the Texas coast near Victoria.

Apparently I only manage to return to this blog after major events.  We will try to change that. Actually, I was working on my class reunion and saw someone else link to their blog in an email. That reminded me that I had started this blog - so I went looking it up. Well, what do you know? It's still here. So I will link to it from my web site and try to post periodically. Please, let me know if you've checked it out!

But, back to the topic, we DID indeed have Hurricane Harvey hit us this August of 2017. Rather than a direct hit, it landed about 80 miles south of us, yet we were surely going to be impacted on "the dirty side" of the storm. We could certainly have been much more severly impacted, but by the time this slow moving storm came inland to Victoria from Rockport and Port Aransas, it had time to bleed off a deal of its original strength.

To be sure we did have damage to the surrounding structures and to some infrastructure, but it could have been so much worse. Tree fall was the worst effect from the storm. Citizen's Hospital had lost its bitumen roofing which enabled a ton of water to drain through the building and closing it down for weeks. A few other businesses had smaller leak damage occur.  Many homes and businesses received just minor exterior damage causing the need for spot repairs and some full roof replacements but not many when compared to the number of rooftops that could have been destroyed.  So, as I said, it could have been worse.

The loss of power for our city was just a matter of a few days for most. Further south, the power lines and poles were devastated -- and it took weeks to restore power. The second phase of this unrelenting storm came when it again struck Houston and Beaumont causing horrible flooding to areas that did not have a historically significant risk of inundation by flood. But this was no ordinary rain. It was greater risk than a "500 year return" event in probability. Residents living in these areas may never see a flood affecting them again in their life times. Or, it could happen again next year. That's the unpredictability of it - and a decent argument to provide oneself with flood insurance, even though you do not live in a special hazard flood area.

Others will better document the event to the region. I will leave that to them.

Running an office without power, phone or internet. 

Try as I did to prepare for the storm, the damage and the down-age will will occur none-the-less. I even put boards in the metal framed windows at my office. The only occupant to do so. But we lost all services to the building, and wouldn't it be my luck, mine was the only air conditioner to be blown over on the roof.

So, we struggled without air conditioning and worked in 90° in our office using fans until they could repair the AC six days after the storm. Meanwhile, we managed to be available to our clientele by forwarding our landline phone to a cell phone; we also used cell phones as wi-fi hotspots for our laptops which we kept charged along with running lights and fans plugged into a generator.

Thankfully, our primary carrier, Germania Farm Mutual was the first insurance company to set up a Catastrophe response trailer in Victoria.  So we were able to supply almost immediate response on the week following the storm. It felt good to be able to assure our customers and friends that help was available. Through adversity, our greater selves often come through and we all worked together to get through a difficult situation. It made me proud of the company I represented these many years.

Well, here's to a better year in 2018. How about we go one year with less storm activity? Is that possible?