HOUSTON - "We're going to flood!" Chief Meteorologist David Paul said with a chilling assurance. Standing on the front porch of our station that Sunday morning with Paul, I stood there in amazement at what was unfolding before me -- a torrent of water that was consuming everything with an unquenchable thirst.
In that moment, we at KHOU Channel 11 became part of the story as Harvey found its way to our address, sending endless rapids of water into every door of our building. It soon became apparent we had to get out of there and fast.
While evacuating, as one of the last to leave the building, I stood at the top of the stairs that overlooks the lobby of the station and watched with utter astonishment the water ripping through the front doors -- transporting me, at least in my mind, to the deck of the ill-fated Titanic, as our station slipped ever more beneath the waves.
The story of Harvey isn't about us, although we can relate to your story better than anybody. It's about you and the experiences that will ultimately shape and alter who you are as Houstonians from now on. Our story at KHOU isn't unique but how we've reacted to it as a city and country is.
I'm darn proud to be a Houstonian. I grew up here. This is my home. The hurricane tried to take our way of life away but all it did was blow away the sour political tastes and racial divides and bound us together as one people, neighbor helping neighbor. In that regard, we're victorious.
I wish that back on June 1st, the start of hurricane season, we could have told you that in a few short weeks we would be hit with one of the most devastating hurricanes in American history. Unfortunately that's beyond our meteorological abilities.
What I do know is I work amongst the finest group of meteorologists in the city, state and country. Chief meteorologist David Paul, meteorologist Chita Craft and meteorologist Brooks Garner exhibited true professionalism in the fog of catastrophe.
The three of them were instrumental in delivering information that was truly life or death. Getting on television and telling somebody to get on their roof and to call 911 in the middle of a storm is not something I think anybody can be adequately be prepared for. The KHOU meteorologists were -- all while water was pouring into the first floor of the building.
We're one of you. We share the same streets, same restaurants and the same sports venues as you do. We're not isolated from or immune to tragedy. Several people at KHOU lost their homes with feet of water in their living rooms. Several others lost their vehicles. Yet our dedication to Houston was unmatched and unwavering. Reporters kept focused on helping people than worrying about their own homes or vehicles. What a class act.
I count myself fortunate that I live amongst people in Houston like Mattress Mack, J.J. Watt, Joel Osteen and Les Alexander who without solicitation or hesitation opened their doors and or their wallets and began caring for those who needed it most.
More than that, we are blessed to live amongst millions of other people who helped a neighbor out of their flooded house and into a waiting boat or went down the street to help somebody cut wet sheetrock out of their home without pomp and circumstance.
The above tweet speaks for itself. These folks aren't in line for food, water or clothes. They're in line to assist and lend the proverbial helping hand.
What Harvey meant for evil has brought out the best in those who call Houston home. President and General Manager of KHOU Susan McEldoon said, ''Harvey may have destroyed our building but it can't destroy the dedication and tenacity of those of us at KHOU.''
Now we move into the recovery phase of this disaster. Eventually the piles of sheetrock and furniture on every curb, block after block will go away. Eventually the warm, fuzzy feelings of helping our fellow man will erode and we'll transition back to our everyday reality. Let the compassion you feel today become the action we see tomorrow. As a community of one, let's get Houston back on its feet.
There's a country music song by Gary Allen, based on an old poem, that says ''every storm runs out of rain. Every dark night turns to day. Every heartache goes away just like every storm runs out of rain.''
Alas, our storm has run out of rain as promised. The sun is shining again in Houston. Our geographical location on the gulf coast ensures that we'll soon once again stare down the gnashing teeth of ''Hurakan,'' the Mayan God of wind and storm -- where we get the name ''hurricane'' from. I hope and pray that it never happens again. However if it does, you can bet that the KHOU weather team will be here to keep you ahead of the storm. That's what it means to Stand For Houston.
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