Anticipation of this storm started early. The hum of worry echoed through the hallways as early as last Monday. Our school even had an emergency weather drill on Thursday. It become more real when school was cancelled Friday but even then the rain stayed away for the most part. Many became complacent and felt they were not going to be affected. Saturday came and a few showers occurred but still most of Houston remained basically dry. Over night Saturday my neighborhood flooded. As did much of Houston proper. Evacuations are numerous. Streets impassable unless you are in a Hum-V. The National Guard made its way through a few hours ago. Bringing the realization that this disaster is only going to get worse. Boats and tall trucks are rescuing many, yet, on my street children were splashing in the streets as the announcement was made that our school district is closed until after Labor Day. But for adults, this is when reality set in. We are trapped in our houses for days to come.
We have only seen our students for 7 days. We are still learning their names, still creating those bonds. It feels strange to not see them for another week. My students are all on Remind and Canvas and I am sending messages of positivity to keep the conversation open. I added some study tools so they can access some if they want. But, mostly I am asking them to check in and let everyone know they are safe. Our district is large. While some locations are flooded, many are underwater. Others are weathering the storm easier, so far. It is scary that it has only been about 16 hours since the rain has really hit us. We have 3-4 more days of this. Tornadoes and heavy winds are causing the alarm on my phone to ring out frequently. We are now in a flash flood warning and a tornado warning. I feel safe but I know the worse is yet to come.
The pause button has been hit. Learning has stalled. It is important when we come back to not brush past this experience but to incorporate it into our lessons. Talk about what happened. It is a great opportunity to strengthen relationships, build a deeper community connection and together come to terms with what has happened to ourselves and our friends and neighbors. For now, 15-25 more inches yet to come. So my current plans are entering my garage and moving the boxes to higher areas. Hunkering down and keeping an eye on the flood level outside. To get my mind off 24-hour coverage on CNN and the howling winds outside, I am writing. I am staying safe and focusing on what I can do to incorporate this event into a learning opportunity for my students. If I focus on that I get less stressed out. This is nothing like I have seen before or Houston has experienced before. The simple fact of focusing on my teaching makes all this seem less frightening.
Prayers for everyone in Texas who are being impacted by this storm. We will weather through, we will make it to the other side of this flooding. Stay safe.