Greetings from North Texas
I specify North Texas because 1) that’s where I am, and 2) I’ve been getting pings on social media asking if I’m okay what with Harvey slamming into Corpus Christi and the south-central coast. The concern is very much appreciated but fear not — I am a good 400+ miles away from that big bastard, and the most we’ll see up here in the clavicle of Texas is maybe some rain next week. So, yeah, we’re cool (although I do have to say that the atmospheric conditions up here at the moment are playing merry hell with my sinuses).
That being said, I do know people who have had to evacuate ahead of Harvey, and it’s been hard to concentrate today and not stay glued to news reports and stormchasers doing live Periscope broadcasts. The problem with this hurricane is, it made landfall as a Cat 4 and doesn’t have any steering currents pushing it so it’s going to sit there and pump a lot of water from the Gulf over land. Once the bayous and drainage systems fill up there’s nowhere for all that water to go, which is why it’s pretty much a guarantee that we’re going to see some horrific flooding.
If you want to help out the folks who are going to be displaced or even homeless after this weekend, here is some excellent advice from my friend Elizabeth Moon:
Be aware that in south Texas, in particular, most non-governmental aid is church-based and always was, and which churches do what depends on a) the relative numbers of a given denomination in a given area and b) how the churches in a community have agreed to divvy up the load. Frex, in my home area, the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (http://www.foodbankrgv.com) started as a project of Trinity Episcopal Church in Pharr, and grew into a multi-county food bank affiliated with others in the state, while Catholic Charities now handles clothing, toys, other supplies. This might be reversed in another location. In the town I live in now, the First Baptist and First Methodist churches both have programs, but they’re not the same and focus on different needs. At any rate, food agencies/groups need cash to get their vehicles back out on the road when the road is clear, and restock their shelves. If you want to “go local” consider looking up food banks and other agencies in some of the counties likely to be hardest hit with the least existing resources: De Witt, Nueces, Karnes, Atascosa, Bastrop, Bexar, Caldwell, Comal, Fayette, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Lavaca, and Wilson. Bexar (San Antonio) has somewhat more in terms of resources, but a huge population, wide area, a lot of water can overwhelm roads and rail transportation.