Where Do We Go From Here?

We’re at the crossroads, my dear
Where do we go from here?

After Imelda, I’m afraid we have to start having a serious conversation about the future of Houston.

Look at this list:

  • Memorial Day Flood – May 2015
  • Tax Day Flood – April 2016
  • Hurricane Harvey – August 2017
  • Tropical Storm Imelda – September 2019

Catastrophic floods are coming to Houston at an unprecedented clip, and it’s only a matter of time before parts of city will be underwater again.

Maybe you won’t go, maybe you’ll stay
Oh I know I’m gonna miss you either ways
It’s such a lonely road

The Houston Chronicle published an article asking if it’s worth staying in Houston after these floods. Personally, I not sure I would want to stay in Houston if my home flooded during two or more of the events above. The problem is how do you identify the areas that need to be closed permanently, and then how can you force people to stop rebuilding and/or forcing them from their homes.

The easiest way to pick a fight with a Texan is to threaten their land.

Where do we go from here?
All I can do is, follow the tracks of my tears

That is nothing to say of the particularly troubling realities of relocating heavily flooded neighborhoods like Meyerland. Meyerland has long been the proverbial home of Houston’s Jewish community. It has been wrecked by all of the aforementioned floods, and has led to a “loss of faith” within our Jewish communities.

But even if we believe the best solution is to close off large parts of Meyerland, how do we also protect the Jewish community, and everything it does for all Houstonians?

This is only part of the greater conversation about how Houston must respond to future flood events. In the cases of the Memorial and Tax Day floods, it’s not clear there is much that can be done to prepare. However, in the case of tropical storms and hurricanes, I feel it may be necessary to start shutting down the city ahead of such events. I know it may seem ridiculous, and it would most certainly result in the occasional false alarm, but think about the alternative.

I was talking to a friend about Imelda. Her son was trapped, but very safe at his school. She wasn’t worried about him, but she felt an acute anxiety about the idea of not being able to reach her child.

What if things had been worse? What if children had been trapped late into the evening or over night? What about this?

I refuse to believe needlessly keeping children home in the face of a storm threat is worse than putting children in this or similar danger.

It will take considerable thought and consideration, but it needs to happen. After all, putting the safety and well being of our citizens is the most Houstonian act of all.

Where do we go from here?
All I can do is, follow the tracks of my tears


Houston Scared

Today marked the first time I found myself scared by a rain event in Houston.

My first hurricane was Alicia in 1983. I don’t remember much from it except for the stars of duct tape across my bedroom windows, and looking over the destruction wrought upon a neighbor’s weeping willow while the storm’s eye silently passed.

I was spared the devastation of Tropical Storm Allison as I still lived in Sugar Land at that time.

My first true hurricane experience came with Ike. I remember watching the a freight train of rain barrel down the street in front my house. I remember the glow of my phone’s screen as I watched the eye of the storm creep slowly by mere miles from my location. I remember the utter destruction it left in its wake not only in my neighborhood, but all around Houston. I also remember the great outpouring of goodwill from my neighbors, eager to pitch in to help each other in our time of need.

Hurricane Harvey was a different animal altogether. I lost a part of myself after that storm. A part I have yet to get back or replace. Like many Houstonians, I am permanently scarred by that storm.

All that said, Imelda may be the scariest weather event of them all.

First, we must look at her development. Within a matter of hours, she went from an investigative area (invest) to a full blown tropical storm. Forecasters knew there was a likelihood for rain, but nothing near a tropical storm.

Eerily like her sister Allison, Imelda quietly entered the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast Tuesday afternoon, dumping a moderate, yet manageable, amount of rain. Houston, it seemed, had been spared the worst as Imelda slowly moved eastward. By Wednesday afternoon, things were looking up in Houston while a terrible picture started developing eastward. Still, Imelda lashed out at Houston that afternoon with a torrential downpour. Nevertheless, it did seem the worst has certainly passed.

Then came Thursday morning. Imelda became the petulant middle child between Allison and Harvey, throwing an absolute fit with the seventh largest rain event in U.S. history. This after losing Tropical Storm status almost immediately after making landfall in Texas.

Allison and Imelda are twin sisters of sorts. Two tropical storms whose greatest performances came AFTER we thought them gone. Imelda is the scarier sister as she literally came out of nowhere. At least Allison was polite enough to let us know she was coming to dinner, though she did come back after dessert to wreck the dining room.

I don’t know where that leaves us today, dear friends. It’s clear to me Houston is a dangerous place to live. In all this talk of storms, I didn’t even mention the Memorial and Tax Day floods.

I guess you could look at Imelda as the demon spawn of Tropical Storm Allison and those floods.

Flooding is a new reality in Houston, and that scares me because it seems Mother Nature has made a game of trying a new area of Houston to flood each year. While evidence isn’t conclusive on these events being linked to climate change, it is almost certain some kind of connection exists, and will only get worse.

Indeed, Houston has been the site of how many 100-500 year floods in the last four years? As we limp towards the next election in a few weeks, it’s important to see how our city leaders plan to address this unpredictable, yet frequent, threat.

It’s also a time to put aside pettiness and hate to realize we are all in this together, and we won’t make it through this or the next event without each other. Take care of your Houston, it’s going to need it.


Houston Fallgasm 2019

As Houston swelters in this first week of Steamtember, we patiently wait for the first cool front of the year when Houstonian’s have their annual Fallgasm.

The Houston Fallgasm is a phenomenon happening the morning of the first cool front after summer. On this special morning, Houstonians have an orgasmic reaction to waking up to a morning of low humidity with temperatures in the low 70’s or, hopefully, a chilly 69 degrees!

They moan their pleasure across all social media platforms, quivering in the enjoyment of the coming of Fall.

I’m here to announce, Groundhog Day style, my prediction for this year’s Fallgasm.

The 2019 Houston Fallgasm will happen on September 30th.

You must wonder how I can make such a prediction. I can tell you with certainty, how I know. The annual Houston Fallgasm ALWAYS falls the morning after a disappointing Houston Texans loss.

You see, the Kama Sutra of the Fallgasm is the Houston Texans schedule.

Depending on your point of view, this year shapes up to be a particularly strong Fallgasm, as its enjoyment is always tempered on the expectations the Texans build within their fan base before that, inevitable, first disappointing loss.

This season, the Texans play New Orleans (a Super Bowl favorite) in the Big Easy to open their season. They will win this game, and their fans will revel in the victory like a tourist chomping on beignets at Cafe du Monde the morning after a Bourbon Street one nighter.

They return to Houston to play divisional rival, Jacksonville. I lingered on this date for some time, but felt it was premature. However, I believe the Texans will destroy the Jags, only further stroking the hopes of Texans fans.

Then comes a trip to another Super Bowl favorite, the Los Angeles Chargers. This game too, they will win, pumping Texans fans into an ever more ecstatic lather as they return home to play Carolina.

However, they will return home only to be NEWT-er’ed by the Carolina Panthers. (Non-football fan NOTE: Cam Newton is the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers.)

You see, the Texans have NEVER started a season 4-0, this is the foundation of the Fallgasm, constant disappointment tempered by the enjoyment of the advent of fall.

This is the fate of Houston professional football fans, but a boon to all Houstonians.