Hurricane Harvey Check-In Post August 25, 2017 10:47 AM   Subscribe

With a major storm about to hit southern Texas and then linger around southeastern TX for nearly a week, I thought maybe having a check-in / status update post here might be a good idea. I hope everyone stays safe and sane during these next few days.
posted by hippybear to MetaFilter-Related at 10:47 AM (156 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Stay safe everyone.
posted by Fizz at 11:33 AM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a distant relative in Corpus Christi, and I am watching this storm and worrying.

Good luck, Texans -- and also to everyone else that's going to get soaked and battered by this thing.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:18 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Status from Austin: spent last night laying in snacks and fresh water in the unlikely event we get worse than some minor flooding. (My partner's theory, bless them, is that if we're prepared nothing terrible will happen; if not, something terrible absolutely will.) Flooding we can deal with; Austin (like San Antonio, mentioned on the thread in the Blue) floods if you look at it funny. The grocery store was packed, and I'm not really looking forward to dropping my roomie off for her 6p-12a shift at the grocery tonight.

Our place has kind of shitty drainage so I'll be checking the closets for flooding now and again as the storm goes on. Sigh.

I think the majority of the evac planning seems to be based out of Dallas/Fort Worth, as far as I can tell; the DFW zeitgeist, as far as I can tell from friends out there, is "We're not going to be hit too bad so goddammit we're going to roll up our sleeves and get to work helping." My observations in Austin are that we're a little less enthusiastic and a little more concerned with whether or not Austin itself is going to take damage, but this may be skewed by communications from UT about how we're going to handle student move-in this week. (Classes start Wednesday, I believe.)
posted by sciatrix at 12:23 PM on August 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

My partner's theory, bless them, is that if we're prepared nothing terrible will happen

Sciatrix, in the unlikely event Austin turns upside down, you and your partner are more than welcome to come crash at my house (some ways away in CO but still). See now you have a(nother) place to evacuate to if needed - another level of preparedness for your partner! (Though I'm 100% serious if things did get that bad.)

All of you stay safe please. Watch out for them falling trees and floating fire ants as well.
posted by barchan at 12:31 PM on August 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

(My partner's theory, bless them, is that if we're prepared nothing terrible will happen; if not, something terrible absolutely will.)
I believe this as strongly as I believe anything, even though I know it is totally irrational. I also believe that I can reduce the chances of rain by remembering my umbrella.

Stay safe and dry, everyone!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:41 PM on August 25, 2017 [16 favorites]

My partner's theory, bless them, is that if we're prepared nothing terrible will happen; if not, something terrible absolutely will

If I had a religion, this would be the founding tenet or commandment or something.

Stay safe everyone; as a landlocked Midwesterner, hurricanes terrify me and I will be thinking of that entire area all weekend.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:27 PM on August 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

I said it in the thread on the Blue, but I'll say it here too -- be safe, TX and LA mefites.

The storm could have very well hit us had it turned in the opposite direction, so I'll be watching and thinking of you all on the other side of the Gulf. I hope the flooding isn't too bad, and most of you just have an excuse for drinking too much at your local hurricane party.
posted by PearlRose at 1:27 PM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Y'all just let us know if you're evacuating and need a place to go. Lots of spare beds and MeFites who have been there and know how scary hurricanes are.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:50 PM on August 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

good luck, but I mean it, not like that guy
posted by numaner at 2:30 PM on August 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I'm on board for helping however I can, too.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:35 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

We lived in Houston when Ike came through, Harvey seems to be shaping up to be worse. Worried for all our friends there, both IRL and MeFi. Stay safe, everyone.
posted by arcticseal at 2:40 PM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I lived in coastal Florida for eleven years and hurricanes never phased me, but for some reason here in Austin I'm nervous. Still, I'm stocked up and trying not to worry; I'm more concerned for the coast.
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 2:50 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best wishes, everyone.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:52 PM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Checking in from the Houston area and hoping for the best, although Eric Berger is not exactly optimistic right now. If this system is still sitting here a week That's an ungodly amount of rain.

I've got books and food and a dry house that will hopefully stay that way. If the power stays on, I will count myself very blessed.

Thanks for putting up a check-in post. I may be relying on this for sanity in the days ahead, as long as my internet lasts!
posted by Salieri at 2:54 PM on August 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

We don't have a ton of room, but we've got 1 spare twin bed in the spare bedroom if someone fleeing the maelstrom should find themselves in Austin & at loose ends.

We're not doomsday preppers, but we're up high on a bluff we'll be okay if the power goes out for a few days.

I can be reached via PM, & my number is on my website, I think.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:59 PM on August 25, 2017 [10 favorites]

(My partner's theory, bless them, is that if we're prepared nothing terrible will happen; if not, something terrible absolutely will.)

We're supposed to leave for international travel next Friday. I'm convinced we should cancel now since this would clearly mean Harvey would re-direct to die in the Gulf. Cancellation fees would be a small price to pay for the safety of the State! And also it would prevent me from continuing to dwell on all the preparations we still should do if going but won't be needed if we can't.
posted by beaning at 3:13 PM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Please pardon this vent for a minute. I hope everyone is safe. Houston officials where I am have recommended we shelter in place. That way places like Corpus and Victoria and surrounding coastal communities can use northward roads. Our governor, the Idiot Abbot, told everyone this afternoon in his press conference to ignore local recommendations, think about yourself and get out of here. Local officials staying calm trying to encourage staying put right now. Sorry I'm on phone and can't link article in Houston Chronicle. A bunch of dramatic fear mongering from our Gov. Then Idiot Trump says he's talking to Idiot Gov! Great. Houston is prepped. We bought out the grocery stores by Thursday afternoon. Most of us remember Rita where the most deaths in Houston happened on Interestate 45 from dehydration and accidents in a horrific traffic jam of peopl panicking and evacuating from non evac zones. So H-town is hunkered down for floods this time. We have done this before. If plans and the storm changes then so will we.

I'm at the hospital I work at with my suitcase because I'll probably be sheltering in place here between shifts. The Texas Med Center has generators on upper floors, a hard lesson learned from Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. The sidewalks outside the hospitals here have mechanical lifts under them so cement walkways fold up into a flood guard and window cover for first floors. It's kinda cool looking, but makes people claustrophobic on the inside. We will be locked in when th storm is bad. For Ike I was in here for five days. I imaging Ill be here thru Monday or so.

But if that idiot gov and moron president make my mom who is at home with my husband panic for no reason it will make my job here all the harder to deal. I think my gov and the pres will compete for who can be the most malevolent and stupid during this. Thank God for our local people who throw politics out the window and actually give an intelligent shit about the people here. But our state and federal support makes me super anxious and I need to get my own headspace clear to do this job I'm about to do. Ugh. Thanks metafilter y'all were great support and needed distraction during Ike I bet you will be again. Sorry I'm so grouchy I'll be alright. And pardon my spelling in this post!
posted by dog food sugar at 3:24 PM on August 25, 2017 [86 favorites]

Hugs, dog food sugar!
posted by mightshould at 3:29 PM on August 25, 2017 [8 favorites]

Hey, dog food sugar: thank you for the work you do. Thank you for keeping your city's people as safe as you can.

And I hope a seagull shits in Abbott's eye wherever he's personally sitting this thing out. He deserves it.
posted by sciatrix at 4:12 PM on August 25, 2017 [18 favorites]

I couldn't say it any better than dogfoodsugar. This is how we are dealing with it in the greater Houston area and how we *should* be dealing with it. Those closer to the Corpus area need to evacuate. We are getting wet and may be flooded in, but they need to get out in order to protect themselves.

I'm sheltered at home, but will be providing support for a different hospital during this event and dogfoodsugar's comment is about the most accurate statement I have ever seen in how our area deals with Hurricanes (and bungled help from various levels of government):

"Thank God for our local people who throw politics out the window and actually give an intelligent shit about the people here."

I could fill pages of rant about Ike, but it's not the time for it. It's time for us in the area to give an intelligent shit and help out however we can.

Bless you dogfoodsugar. We'll get through this.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 4:14 PM on August 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

Dog food sugar, back in the day I used to teach an intro to risk management class to new petroleum industry grads. Sooooo *not* on expert, just the person who raised her hand, but I learned a lot about stats and risk at the time. One of the examples I used was the differences between how Allison and Ivan, Rita, and Ike hit/affected Houston, particularly with the mass vs. targeted evacuations and planning/response.

I know there's a lot of people out there talking about how Houston is unprepared for this, but there's varying levels of "unprepared" and one thing I really recall from my research for this example is that there's actually been quite a lot done, with both infrastructure and planning, to correct past mistakes/weaknesses and to mitigate future ones. And while there's still a lot to do, a LOT - I'm super not trying to diminish that in any way - I remember being super impressed by how much the local officials and agencies had taken from each of the previous storms and learned, then adapted. (Like the medical centers! They learned so much from Allison like you said.) IIRC at the time when I was researching it around $750 million had been spent on infrastructure changes to improve flood control alone, and Houston had just approved that major $8 billion drainage improvement fund. Definitely not saying it's all well and good, but I agree with you there's definitely a lot of people who care and who want to do things right if they can, and it's kind of amazing what they've managed to do with what they have. As a scientist who gets super cranky & cynical about natural hazard management, it's hard to impress me, but they did.

But because I also learned about what more could be done, and how certain legislatures and political figures have just played passed the buck and refused to provide any funding/support, right now I've got some strong feelings about what could happen and how that could have been prevented. And I've been pacing all afternoon with anger at Abbot & Co., and feeling really bad for all the actual experts down there who have to deal with his shit on this as well as the people their kind of stupidity will affect, so I definitely feel for you and your rant. What you said, "Our governor, the Idiot Abbot, told everyone this afternoon. . .to ignore local recommendations, think about yourself and get out of here," pretty much describes in a nutshell the attitude of the entire administration and legislature of our country right now to boot. So if you feel the need to vent and don't want to do it publicly, send me a MeMail!

Also, uh, if your mom does panic, I know your husband is there, but I just want to offer that I'd be happy to talk to her on the phone (if there's service) about some of the things I learned at the time (the good stuff) if that would help? Like I said, I'm not an expert, but what I learned made me feel safer as a Houston resident at the time, and I've been through some disasters my own self too. Just sliding that on the table.

Anyway, please be safe, keep us updated, and we're here for you just like the rest of all y'all down there right now.
posted by barchan at 4:22 PM on August 25, 2017 [21 favorites]

Stay safe, and thanks to dogfoodsugar, a non mouse, a cow herd, and others who are supporting those who aren't leaving.

My brother/SIL/niece are in northern Houston. They also tried to evacuate during Rita and failed, essentially, and they're riding this one out;.
posted by dismas at 4:25 PM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

New Orleans is Hunkering with you all. Much love from the city with a hole in the boat
posted by eustatic at 4:26 PM on August 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

My partner's theory, bless them, is that if we're prepared nothing terrible will happen; if not, something terrible absolutely will.

I'm in Austin, too! Went out to run errands this afternoon. Got to the first place and it started pouring. Went back home to retrieve raincoat. Continued errands and rain stopped before I reached my second destination. Coincidence? I think not.
posted by erloteiel at 4:50 PM on August 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

dog food sugar: The sidewalks outside the hospitals here have mechanical lifts under them so cement walkways fold up into a flood guard and window cover for first floors.

What? NO WAY -- SO COOL.

Thanks for staying on the job: you're very important, and I know it's a sacrifice.

(Also, your username sounds like a responsible Harvey-prepper's shopping list for like two days ago.)
posted by wenestvedt at 4:59 PM on August 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

I'm chilling in south Austin. getting ready for the deluge.
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:03 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wenestvedt - I'm with you, that is super cool! Been trying to find some good video but haven't had much luck.

One of the other cool things I know the TMC also does is participate (and I think stepped up to fund? Not sure) in the flood alert system for southern Houston, that divides the area into hydrological areas - sub basins - instead of non-naturally bounded jurisdictions like counties in an effort to provide more specific flood forecasting. It provides a lot of real time data, predictions, and video. It's pretty cool IMHO: Flood Alert System

(There's an older version in case the other one gets borked: Version 3
posted by barchan at 5:15 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Be safe my Texan MeFite friends, met and unmet.
posted by Ufez Jones at 6:15 PM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Can anyone recommend a good live blog to follow? Right now I'm keeping tabs on Dallas news and wsj.

Stay safe and much love
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:37 PM on August 25, 2017

I can be reached via PM, & my number is on my website, I think.

Can confirm Devils Rancher is right-on real-life dude, so if anyone needs help in Austin, this is my vouching that you should call him if you need to.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:50 PM on August 25, 2017 [12 favorites]

I'm in Houston, in a not-as-flood prone area, in a second floor apartment, and I've stocked up on lots of essentials and lots of goodies. (And if the power goes out and I'm just forced to eat this big wedge of soft cheese, well, so be it.) And in some ways I sort of welcome needing to stay in and do nothing but take care. I get to read, study, and listen to music, and really take time for myself where I might otherwise feel 'busy' and be not as likely to do so. I'm hoping that all of Houston fares as nicely. I hope so.

I feel a sense of unease and dread knowing (and not knowing) exactly how much rain is coming our way... it looks pretty damn consistent until mid-next-week(!) and that we can anticipate at least a few inches a day. That's done us in before. If the power or water goes out for big portions of the city like it has in the past, that'll be a mess... it's not been uncommon for there to be a full few days before it all gets restored. And it's almost overbearingly hot during the day down here. We'll see. Hoping for the best.

But yeah. In the Upper Kirby area (77027) if someone close by needs a couch to crash on or a helping hand. Hit me up in the PMs.
posted by a good beginning at 6:52 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

hunkered down. 77063
posted by mrbill at 6:52 PM on August 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

Good thoughts y'all's way from another coastal MeFite.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 7:00 PM on August 25, 2017

Yeah, what Sara said; the Carolinas send their love and concern.
posted by mightshould at 7:04 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Two of my kids were spending the week before school starts with grandparents in north Texas, so instead of going up to get them and bring them back down to Houston today, we went up yesterday and stayed. We had already stocked up, but realized it was dumb to bring little kids back into the power outages and flooding. At first we told the grandparents that we'd come get them when it was all over, but then we decided to go up like we planned and just all stay up there for a while.

We left Houston about 6:15pm yesterday, on a northwest path along 290 and 6 until Waco, and traffic was surprisingly light until we hit 35 at Waco, where it seemed a bit more congested than usual, but still flowing smoothly. The trip to my parents' house south of Fort Worth is usually three and a half hours. We made it in four.

I understand that it would be a mess if everyone left, but I'm glad we were already planning to go north before I even heard of Harvey, so we could head up guilt-free. I hope Houston misses the worst of it and we head back south soon.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:12 PM on August 25, 2017 [13 favorites]

I've been working from home all day (work pretty much said that non-disaster-plan employees had to leave the building by 6pm anyway), and went this morning to pick up the biggest deep-cycle battery that BatteriesPlus had, along with an inverter and a hefty charger (as I only have a 1.1A trickle charger right now) - so I can power my CPAP and charge my phone in case of power outage.

They had the battery - a 100AH Duracell that weighs 70lbs - and a 3.5A charger (which appears to possibly be a rebranded Noco, which is what I was going to eventually buy anyway). However, they were completely sold out of flashlights and every model of inverter they sell.

Called up Autozone, and they had two different inverters in stock. Drove a few miles over there, paid about twice as much as I would have (if ordering from Amazon in a non-rush scenario) for the 400W inverter, and picked up a LED flashlight and some AAs just because. Grand total for this "gotta have it NOW" bundle was $475 - mostly the battery - but hey, i gotta have the CPAP to, you know, live.

They've said to expect about the same rains/flood as the tax day storms a year or two ago. Back then, my street flooded and it got about 5' up my driveway, that was it. I should be fine now even if I lose power. I can use the battery system until the streets drain, and then evac to a friend's house in Brookshire who has generators if needed (and one of those awesome "barndominium" type houses).

This is my on-call week at work (until Monday 8am), and I *just* finished my "day's work" of doing systems prep and fixes while our team lead builds up systems at our colo in Dallas in case we need to "take over" from our Houston datacenter if it has a long-term power outage or connectivity loss. It's 9:30ish; I normally get off at 5:30. Whew.

I'm fine for water and doesn't-need-heating food. Amazon had a sale on Propel flavored water a while back and I bought eight cases; I also have two cases of regular bottled water, and then a bunch of MREs, canned pasta, pudding, etc, etc, etc. Nothing in the fridge is important enough to worry about in case of power loss, just some frozen pizzas and stuff.
posted by mrbill at 7:37 PM on August 25, 2017 [9 favorites]

I'm in San Francisco so I'm splitting my time paying attention to fucking Nazis coming here and being worried about y'all in the path of the hurricane. Please stay safe, everyone.
posted by rtha at 7:38 PM on August 25, 2017

and traffic was surprisingly light until we hit 35 at Waco

35 is ALWAYS terrible around Waco. Plus there's still construction north of there, on the dallas side. There's no greater relief than taking the 35W split towards Ft. Worth.

Was thinking about you all, glad you got out without too much trouble.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:41 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

This is a big dangerous storm. Take every precaution. It has nowhere to go so the rain and flooding, even far inland, could be severe. I tend to scoff at hurricanes because by the time they get up here to NE they are CAT 1 or 2 at best and don't do major damage, but this storm is no joke. Be smart and safe, gulf peeps.
posted by vrakatar at 8:34 PM on August 25, 2017

Definitely thinking about my family and friends in Texas tonight. Most of the folks I know are a bit outside of the most dangerous areas but will still get flooding. Glad to see that the targeted evacuation is in place (although screw the governor for being an unhelpful jackass), and I hope this goes as well as possible. Stay safe everyone!
posted by aka burlap at 8:48 PM on August 25, 2017

35 inches of rain forecast for some areas.

That's the shallow end of a swimming pool.

posted by hippybear at 8:54 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

That damb blue shed better be a monument when all this is over.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:41 PM on August 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

Any TMC Mefites who need a place to crash are most welcome at my place. I'm right off the rail line (Smith Lands) and on the second floor, so sitting pretty for the moment. Just MeMail me.

Anyone who's following along from afar, I recommend you keep up using the Space City Weather site and Twitter (Eric Berger, as mentioned above). He's pretty awesome--in fact he's been linked on the Blue more than once for his space coverage and I'm sure he's already been linked to in the current hurricane thread over there--and the site is zero percent panic-spiral. Although focused on Houston, the hurricane coverage has been stellar and the meteorological nerdery is right up MetaFilter's alley.
posted by librarylis at 9:54 PM on August 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

As of 7:00 AM in Katy (not evacuating; don't ask) we're between rain bands allowing the water to recede a bit. Had a number of emergency bulletins via the FD dispatch system through the early hours about tornadoes south of here towards Richmond, Missouri City and Sienna Plantation including reports of broken windows, trees into houses and roofs gone.

As a jolly volly, I'll be spending the day at the station since we're trying to keep all the apparatus manned just in case of a need for high-water rescues or tarp and chainsaw duty.
posted by Standeck at 4:56 AM on August 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

I've heard that the storm is being downgraded now, but I'm not clear whether it's made landfall yet, and if so, when, and how bad it was.

Everyone okay?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:24 AM on August 26, 2017

The problem for Houston is the rain we're going to get between now and Wednesday.
posted by mrbill at 5:30 AM on August 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's made landfall and from what it feels like in Austin is that it's made "waterfall"
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:09 AM on August 26, 2017

My dog won't go out & pee because of the rain. So far, this is our worst crisis here in Austin. We've gotten about 2" overnight & it's continuing steady.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:24 AM on August 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

It looks like it made landfall at Cat 4 and stayed there for four or five hours according to radio this morning. I've dropped spouse at work and am now grimly contemplating whether I really want to get into my car right now.

Our dog agrees with Devil's, for the record.
posted by sciatrix at 7:24 AM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

How do you even know you are peeing if you're being drenched by rain?

I'm with the dogs on this one. Fuck it, the carpet will absorb everything, right?
posted by hippybear at 8:25 AM on August 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

Note: we don't have severe rain events where I live, and my carpet is not soaked with urine. It's okay to come visit.
posted by hippybear at 8:26 AM on August 26, 2017 [7 favorites]

Just had the dog pee conversation with my spouse about an hour ago. We were both surprised that he actually said, "Fuck it, I gotta go." and peed in the rain. Usually, the lightest sprinkle has him saying, "I can hold it." I think he knows we're under weather for a long time.

According to radar, we look like our area will be "calm" for a while. Everything east of us.... geez.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 8:47 AM on August 26, 2017

My dog won't go out & pee because of the rain. So far, this is our worst crisis here in Austin. We've gotten about 2" overnight & it's continuing steady.

You might be giving them a bit too much water.
posted by Etrigan at 9:30 AM on August 26, 2017 [20 favorites]

I'd be surprised too if my dog actually said, "fuck it, I gotta go", so there's that.

posted by Namlit at 9:39 AM on August 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm safe and sound under sunny skies in Chicago, but as I mentioned in the thread on the blue, 2/3 of my immediate family are in the SW Houston suburbs (Sugar Land and Richmond). Been in touch with them by text - they say there was a lot of rain and some nearby tornado warnings overnight, but they're all safe and sound so far. They are well-stocked and following official directions about sheltering in place. I keep waiting for news and photos of flooding, but this is gonna be a days-long, not hours-long, event so I have to keep reminding myself of that.

Good luck to all storm-impacted Mefites.
posted by misskaz at 10:07 AM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Rockport is fucked.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:53 AM on August 26, 2017

Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management is projecting the Brazos River to rise higher than last's years historic floods, which sent water halfway up my driveway but not into my house. So...things could get wet inside this time. Here's what it did last year to a subdivision immediately south of me.

I'm really glad our plans to buy a house fell through this summer. This is a good week to be a renter.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:26 AM on August 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I just posted this in the other thread, but if one of the USGS stream gauges on the Brazos is near your home you can keep an eye on it - if information is something that helps you in situations like this, that is. Keep us informed if you can. Be safe!
posted by barchan at 11:57 AM on August 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

A short video from Rockport.

Eyewitness accounts on Facebook from a friend that Port Aransas that it's pretty well devastated, at least on the northeast side, near the bay inlet & ferry dock.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:52 PM on August 26, 2017

A friend's mother lives in Port Lavaca, right in the worst place. I emailed him (lives in NY) and he'll keep me posted. I used to live in Hoston many years ago. Am wishing for best outcomes for everybody in that area.
posted by MovableBookLady at 4:16 PM on August 26, 2017

we're just getting a decent hunk of rain and occasional wind gusts just south of the river (bouldin creek) in Austin. Ms. Sparkles and I went walking around looking at the local creeks this afternoon and they are churning and flowing but not scary at all yet. Just cool looking. The ground is getting a lot of water, starting to puddle up at the storm drains and bottoms of hills that dump off into the creek and aquifer recharge zones around us. Will be interesting to see how we handle the next bands that are rolling in. If anything this is going to take a few days to really understand the impact and magnitude. For now it's just drink beer and read a good book and watch the rain fall.
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:07 PM on August 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

(oh yeah there's a thing called "Spotify daily mix" and it's perfect for chilling at the casa.)
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:09 PM on August 26, 2017

We have survived the day's shifts for my partner and roomie, and are currently parked in line for KFC from the poor heroic bastard staffing the drive thru. Her registers are down and she sounded extremely tired as she explained this. We are sitting by the window, cracked in case the registers come back on, blocking anyone else from bothering her until such time as she either announces fuck this, she's going home or says they're up and running. (Asshole behind us just honked at us to move; partner has run out of the car down the whole line to explain the situation so the poor KFC lady doesn't have to.)

I haven't got any cash on me, but I can wait. And I'm gonna see if I can get a PayPal out of this lady and wire her a hell of a tip, because what a shitty fucking day she must have had.

Roomie doesn't get off work for another ten minutes, so it's not like we can't wait for a bit.
posted by sciatrix at 5:50 PM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, those of you with choices, the Sonic next to us is just outright closed and I sort of love them for that. Even if I'm hungry.
posted by sciatrix at 5:53 PM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

The employees have opted to say "fuck this, going home." I'm pleased for them, although still hungry. Waiting for roomie to get off work in an HEB parking lot while my partner cases the deli section, because apparently I've created a desire for fast food.
posted by sciatrix at 5:57 PM on August 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Jesus, I fucking hate corporations and shift work right now. At least roomie's HEB's customers are by and large also broke and therefore generally polite to the store staff.

In my own way more privileged career, I am seeing if I can get my boss to cancel work on Monday since the rain is expected to continue through then. I have a lab meeting for presentations on "what I did last summer" requested for all grad students, and I was really looking forward to the opportunity to unveil that Damore rebuttal to the office incarnation of Captain Mansplainer.
posted by sciatrix at 6:02 PM on August 26, 2017 [11 favorites]

San Antonio: It's been raining steadily but not heavily all day long. Same with the wind. The dog doesn't want to go out to pee because he hates rain so much.

We lost Internet for about five hours. It was dire.

I've been struck by how garbage the weather reporting is here. The Capital Weather Gang in DC were always extremely on top of things and consistent in their terminology, predictions, etc. The major local news stations are covering the hurricane itself, as storm chasers, rather than focusing on forecasting for SATX, tracking flooding and wind, that sort of thing. So it's all "up to 35 inches of rain expected in places that are hours from here!!" rather than "Areas east of 281 are expected to get x inches of rain overnight."

Rainy days are tough on the ol' mood.
posted by radicalawyer at 6:32 PM on August 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've been struck by how garbage the weather reporting is here. The Capital Weather Gang in DC were always extremely on top of things and consistent in their terminology, predictions, etc. The major local news stations are covering the hurricane itself, as storm chasers, rather than focusing on forecasting for SATX, tracking flooding and wind, that sort of thing. So it's all "up to 35 inches of rain expected in places that are hours from here!!" rather than "Areas east of 281 are expected to get x inches of rain overnight.

Lord, yes. Just moved back to TX from the DMV and am sorely missing Capital Weather Gang. Closest I can find is the Space City Weather guy, but he's Houston and I'm Austin.
posted by devinemissk at 7:01 PM on August 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

We've been hunkering down all day, and dealing with alert after alert for both tornado warnings and flood warnings. It may be calming down a little now (no tornado warning for almost an hour - woohoo!), but there will be serious flooding over the next few days as Harvey comes back around for another pass.

Hoping everyone stays safe and dry!
posted by blurker at 8:00 PM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thinking of all you caught and possibly affected by the emergency flash flood notice just issued.
posted by barchan at 8:04 PM on August 26, 2017

Just checked Space City Weather. Thinking of all of you in Texas. Stay safe.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:38 PM on August 26, 2017

Khou in Houston is reporting widespread flooding southeast of town down the I/45 corridor, including Pasadena & Clarr Lake. People are being pulled from attics & rooftops by emergency responders.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:06 AM on August 27, 2017

Yes, Devils Rancher, it's definitely here in Houston now. Last night I was thinking about how much more terrifying it all is when the raining/flooding/tornado warnings are all happening at night. It's going to be a stressful week with all the watching and waiting. I'm lucky that I still have power and no water in my apartment.
posted by not that mimi at 4:36 AM on August 27, 2017

Houston people, please be safe. They are advising people to go to the highest story of your home or the roof (do not go to attic) if the water gets too high.

My brother and his family are likely going to end up on their roof today. (Clear Lake area.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:33 AM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

If you do go the attic, take an axe with you in case you need to chop your way through the roof for rescue. I know a lot of homes in hurricane/flooding prone areas actually keep axes in the attic for just this reason.
posted by hippybear at 5:41 AM on August 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

In other news, it's confirmed. Water is still wet.

That's my poor sense of humor helping me get through this.

We are still doing great, relatively speaking. Hearing stories of people's houses being flooded to the point they have to move to the attic until they can be rescued while our street is relative dry is... unnerving.

Namlit the dog has stopped speaking, which is a great concern. We will survive, but we are certainly distressed. My heart goes out to all of those who are having problems magnitudes of order beyond what we are going through.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 5:45 AM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

Safe at 77041. Mr. Katze is worried about the Addicks Reservoir.
posted by Allee Katze at 5:48 AM on August 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Heavy heavy rain right now, but so far my street is draining well. Stay safe everyone - I'm thinking of you.

This is just a crazy amount of water. I can't believe just a few years ago we were in a massive drought.
posted by Salieri at 5:56 AM on August 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

In Austin, we're having a short respite until the next rain band comes in. Lost power at my house about midnight and since I'm the last person without a cell phone, couldn't report it or find out what was happening.

Spent a long night listening to the the wind whip around and rain pounding. Drainage around the house has been good this time; in other years the garage flooded, so feel lucky.

When it got light I drove to Wheatsville to hang out in the air conditioning. It's not that hot at the house but the air is stuffy and damp. So I'm hanging out in my office until I get the call that the power is back on.

Now I can finally ask a "can I eat this" question about all the food in my without power for 10 hours (so far) fridge.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 7:16 AM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

My sister (in Richmond) and her family are ok but their backyard is flooded and its starting to look like their house will take on water if this doesn't let up.

My parents (Sugar Land) aren't answering their phones right now so we are kind of freaking out, though also aware that they are likely okay.
posted by misskaz at 7:48 AM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

MOM AND DAD WENT TO CHURCH. I'm so mad, but I guess their neighborhood isn't flooded at all so they just went to Mass and had their phones off, like it's a normal Sunday. LOL.
posted by misskaz at 8:06 AM on August 27, 2017 [22 favorites]

Luckily my mom's church (Memorial area) canceled mass today, so she's stayed put. She just informed me she saw a small animal run under her dishwasher but "he's welcome to stay."
posted by jaksemas at 10:27 AM on August 27, 2017 [18 favorites]

I bugged-out to Florida Friday evening and have been watching with horror from afar. My neighborhood is flooding and my apartment building is across the street from Brays Bayou. The first floor is flooded and by the pictures I'm seeing online I'm starting to get worried about my unit on the second floor.
posted by Ranucci at 11:26 AM on August 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have family whose house is already filling with water, they say they are waiting for rescue but I'm not sure if they called the actual emergency line or not..... I really hope everyone stays ok I have heard so far of a few deaths, hoping no more. Call for rescue if you're not sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's anticipated to keep getting worse from what I'm reading!
posted by xarnop at 11:28 AM on August 27, 2017

I should add this message advises only life and death situations but to get to your roof for rescue... the problem is it's hard to tell when the situation becomes urgent.

"The Coast Guard is advising people not to panic - and not to hide in their attics, where rescuers can't seem them.
They are asking people to get to their roofs if they can, and to wave towels so they can catch the attention of overhead rescue teams.
"Stay calm, do not panic. Get to high ground immediately. Mark the roof to be seen from the air. Wave sheets, towels, to be noticed from the air," the Coast Guard said in a news release this morning."
posted by xarnop at 11:32 AM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Still ok in the Med Center but I lost Wifi (thanks, AT&T, for insisting that there's no network outage) so am posting via my phone. There's a break in the rain so I went outside and there's no street flooding here. Very worried about colleagues and friends, though, who are in more vulnerable locations. It's going to be a stressful week ahead.
posted by librarylis at 11:32 AM on August 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

It looks like it may dry out for a little while starting here in a few minutes. The rain bands just offshore seem to have stopped or greatly slowed their development. Hopefully that will give time for some water to recede before the rain starts up again. Here's to hoping anyway.
posted by wierdo at 11:37 AM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I live in the Heights and this is crazy. The flood control website has a gauge at the bayou about a half mile from my apartment and it stopped reporting water level at 6 AM when it was reported at 8 feet about the top of its banks. It hasn't reported any rainfall in the past 3 hours which can't be right so I think it's broken, but before it went out it said we'd gotten 22.4" in the past 48 hours.

So far we're staying dry, but the streets are all flooded within 2 blocks of us in each direction. I haven't read the thread but for non-Houstonians that alone isn't that alarming because the streets are basically part of the drainage system here, but there's so much rain west of us still draining through our bayous that I think my place will flood if we get another night like last night tonight.
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:01 PM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

A picture out of Houston
posted by hippybear at 12:17 PM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

It's hard to rest easy. The water in my sister's backyard and lapping at her house has receded with the easing up of the rain. They took a short walk and the nearest bayou is at capacity. So it's clear if more heavy bands come through, things'll get bad again, and quickly. Flash flooding in that area is no joke at a normal time, let alone when the ground is already saturated and bayous and storm systems are full.
posted by misskaz at 1:10 PM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

I grew up in Houston (Dairy Ashford/Memorial), I still have friends there and my Sis-in-Law and hubby are in the Heights right now. I went through Celia after we moved there in 1969 and it was frightening how much rain came down… I still remember it over 40 years later.

The effects of this storm are overwhelming. Just getting the roads back so that food and water can be sent in will be monumental. The road infrastructure will need to be checked after sitting under water for days. I truly hope that the Republican leadership will address this a hellofa lot better than they did Katrina but I'm not betting on it.

One thing about the place… there is never a shortage of people willing to help. I'm devastated at how terrible this storm has been and hope that all of you down there stay safe.
posted by jabo at 2:02 PM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

Downtown Houston
posted by hippybear at 2:27 PM on August 27, 2017

Just found out I'll be out of work all this coming week, so I guess more sitting tight for me (and figuring out how to rework this semester's syllabi).

It has not stopped raining all day in my neck of the woods, but it's okay. My corner of Harris county has received less rain so far than other, harder-hit parts, and so far everything is still draining well. The constant tornado alerts on TV/phone were stressful earlier today, but so far so good.

What has been happening to so many people in the city is heartbreaking. Feeling very, very lucky that I am currently safe and dry.
posted by Salieri at 2:31 PM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

I live in West University Place, right on the train tracks. Bellaire is on the other side. My house has water flowing under the slab from the back yard to the front yard. Yet it is 8 inches from getting in the house and that is not going to happen. On the other side of the tracks in Bellaire people are reporting that they have 3 inches to a foot of water in their homes or apartments (this was an unscientific man-in-the-street data collection). I just witnessed a WWII era four-wheel-drive ambulance bringing an old man out of that Bellaire neighborhood to his grandson who was waiting on the dry portion of Bissonnet. This road is dry in West University and flooded in Bellaire.

All afternoon long and into the evening there has been the sound of helicopters to the south. This is rooftop rescues in the Meyerland and Braeswood neighborhoods. Homes there range from $400 K to $3 MM in value. That same area has lost a lot of homes over the last few years to repeated flooding, and it sounds like another batch is going.

All day long storm water has been surging out of the storm drains on our portion of the street. I assume that it is flowing from Bellaire.

The shopping scene on Saturday was like a weekday, with easy parking and no lines at the checkout. Contrasted with the bedlam on Thursday and Friday. I am glad I went on Saturday because today would have been impossible.

I saw a jogger on the train tracks this afternoon. He was headed south. I asked, and he said he had swum out of his Memorial Park apartment, and was headed south to get his kids. It appeared to be about a 6 mile journey on the tracks, which were high and dry. No trains have run for two days.

I have been invited to not go to work tomorrow at the bank. I wonder how the building is. Half of the staff left for Austin on Friday to activate the disaster recovery office. On Monday we will begin to discover how badly screwed the infrastructure and workplaces are. Over the next few week we will learn about the middle class and their plight.

This is going to be a long clean-up and a hard recovery.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 6:12 PM on August 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

This is going to be a long clean-up and a hard recovery.

I can't freaking stand living in Texas. I Grew up here, in Dallas. In my 20's and 30's I spent a lot of time working and living down in the coastal plains (Victoria, Cuero, Concrete, Seguin, Luling) with my (now ex) wife's family. I've been planning my escape from this state for a while now, but for as strong as I feel like I want to move, there's another feeling just as strong inside me that says despite every bone in my body wanting to relocate somewhere else, I can't turn my back on these people. They may be conservative, they may never want to see me again because I transitioned, but despite all their damn irritating faults there are people down that way who were really good to me and need help. I can't just up and bail on people like that.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:28 PM on August 27, 2017 [11 favorites]

That startles the fuck out of me, Burhanistan, as its reservoir capacity is nowhere near what it could be. They must be worried as fuck about the dams failing.
posted by barchan at 6:45 PM on August 27, 2017

I'm really sorry.
posted by barchan at 6:45 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm still safe and dry, although shaken, in Westchase.

I am amazed that I still have power and water considering how frequently my condo loses those.

The water from Buffalo Bayou was up onto the sidewalk in front of my unit. That ditch has never had any water in it in the 13 years I've lived here.

I'm contemplating heading to Austin tomorrow if conditions permit to stay a couple of days with my sister.

Hugs to all!
posted by Gridlock Joe at 7:03 PM on August 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

One friend had to bail out this morning, resides in West Columbia, the coastal flats, down around Victoria. I haven't heard from him since this morning, all I know is that they were on the road north. Fingers crossed -- he's a great guy, those are really good people, they thought last night that they'd gotten lucky but it didn't hold, this storm is really stubborn, relentless, brutal.

Another buddy of mine resides in near west Houston, he took off up to yet another friends house up I-59, in the highest part of Livingston. Watching TV, he saw an aerial shot of his neighborhood pretty much under water. He is a clutterer, a bad case of it, and has been struggling for the past couple of years to break free and dump all of the "stuff" which owns him -- you should have heard him laugh as he talked of his hopes that it's all under water, which would pretty much give him a Get Out Of Jail Free card. We'll see, but not until Tuesday earliest, and looking more like Wednesday now.

Myself, here in Austin, couple trees down in my condo complex. Rain and more rain on my bike ride last night, and awfully breezy also. A couple of trees down on the hike/bike trail but I'd actually expected it to be worse; some flooding on the hike/bike trail but *nothing* like what we had last summer, when parts of that trail were under 15" of water for *days*. Only one other cyclist out on the whole ride, a woman out with her pooch, gallivanting happily together, waved each other a big smile and hello as we past.

I went to the HEB @ 6 AM this morning and they actually had what I was looking for -- that store was cleared out to the walls when I went in just after midnight Friday night. High class problems, right, compared to Houston. Thankfully we're far enough inland and high enough that we're not suffering Houston's fate -- I've lived in Houston, so much of it actually below sea level, Houston floods if the skies even look like rain. Fingers crossed, wishing and hoping the best for all of you Houston Metafilter gang.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:20 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

A friend is asking everyone to post this as widely as possible....

Houston's 911 services are being overwhelmed. The Coast Guard is offering alternate numbers to call.
From Click2Houston:
How to call Coast Guard to be rescued:

HOUSTON - The U.S. Coast Guard officials have provided a list of numbers to call for help after receiving a high level of calls for assistance.
The National Weather Service and Harris County officials are urging people to get onto the roof instead of climbing into the attic if there is rising water, then call 911 or the Coast Guard at 281-464-4851, but only if you are in a life-threatening situation.
Officials asked to not contact first responders through social media. If you feel your life is in danger, you can call one of the numbers below:
-- 281-464-4851
-- 281-464-4852
-- 281-464-4853
-- 281-464-4854
-- 281-464-4855
While on the roof, wave a towel or sheet to be noticed from the air.
Five Coast Guard helicopters are conducting rescues in the Houston area.

Please share this info on whatever social media seems appropriate. Thank you.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 10:23 PM on August 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

I wanted to thank everyone who posted resource materials here. I'm high and dry in Virginia, but my aging parents live in Clear Lake. In 30 years, they've never come close to flooding, but water filled their street and drifted up the front walk Sunday morning and I freaked out. Being able to check and the localized rainfall totals of the Harris County Flood Warning System has made a huge difference.

Also, I'm so sorry to hear about people's families needing evacuation and being flooded out. My thoughts are with you and them.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 7:15 AM on August 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

Well, guys, it looks like we are going to lose pretty much everything. I'm near the Brazos, and when it is at maximum flood stage, there will be about three or four feet of water in my home. During the "500 year flood" last year, water was in my driveway, but this is going to shoot way past that. When we left Thursday night, I really wasn't thinking about that level of flooding, so we didn't really do anything to prepare for it. Our stuff is going to be gone.

I'm a little bit in shock. We've been crying a lot. I have three young kids starting school next week; my wife and I go back to work next week; and everything is up in the air. It's crazy not knowing where your family of five is going to sleep; how you're going to get to work--all stuff that was simple a few days ago.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:06 AM on August 28, 2017 [37 favorites]

I'm so sorry, Pater Aletheias. Your family is in my thoughts.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:20 AM on August 28, 2017 [11 favorites]

Hugs, Pater Aletheias.
posted by mightshould at 11:29 AM on August 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

Crap, Pater Aletheias. I'm so sorry. I'm local, so please MeMail me if I can do anything.
posted by Salieri at 11:34 AM on August 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

Love to you and your family, Pater Aletheias; I'm so sorry. We have family and friends around and about the whole gulf hurricane zone, and if we hadn't moved to Greece, husband and I would have been in NOLA for Katrina. It was torture watching it unfold from so far away, and every year at hurricane season I have the terror for all my loved ones ... and Harvey is that terror come to life. My immediate family who used to live in Houston are no longer there, but it was a close decision to move, and they have had serious hurricane damage elsewhere in the region, nevertheless. Sending hugs, love and courage. <3
posted by taz (staff) at 12:22 PM on August 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

My parents went from "we're fine, our levees are protecting us and we have no water near our house" to "welp, mandatory evacuation" at about 10:30pm last night. The levees protecting much of Fort Bend county are not designed to withstand the Brazos hitting 59 feet, which it is forecast to do by Tuesday evening. So, they evacuated this morning. First they headed to my sister's house, which is also in Fort Bend but not in an evac zone, but they couldn't get through. So many roads are impassible or blocked by authorities in anticipation of them being so.

Luckily they ended up finding a friend who could put them (and another family) up. Also still in Fort Bend, but not in an evac zone (yet?)

Hard to believe this is happening.

Love and best wishes to you, Pater.
posted by misskaz at 12:58 PM on August 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

Just walked back to the subdivision behind mine to find some bad flooding there. They had people out with canoes and kayaks for the streets that were impassable. Keeping my fingers crossed we get a break from the rain soon. Unfortunately, the high water is not supposed to crest for another day or two.

I still think I'll be okay, but am a little less certain than I was last night.
posted by Salieri at 3:15 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was looking forwards to going back to work tomorrow. All of this looking out the window is getting me down. I work in the Financial Center at the Galleria. I just got a note that the building is closed until Thursday, which is a real disappointment because it was open today.

I have transitioned from "this is tragic," to "this is boring." And it just keeps on raining.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 3:37 PM on August 28, 2017

We just had to bug out to a friend's house due to the Addicks overflowing. I have no idea what will be there when we return, but I'm hoping we dodge a bullet. A wet wet bullet.

Hugs to everyone dealing with this nightmare.
posted by blurker at 6:33 PM on August 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

So I read this, which seems to maybe be of interest to many reading this thread: Harvey intensifies debate on new insurance law that begins Friday
posted by hippybear at 7:29 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is this a good place to ask about Metafilter-organized Harvey charity? I know a few MeFites aren't just temporarily discomfited, but actual refugees right now. Is there a way for us as a large group to help them as a small group? A GoFundMe just for Mefites?

I'm not offering to organize this, but I would support it. Some questions: Would the mods be willing to put a link up in the header? There will be varying levels of need: if there's a pot of donations, how would we handle that? Do Mefites need to do anything to certify their need? (For instance, well known folks here are clearly credible, but might there be a few lurkers who come out of the woodwork?) Maybe a Metafilter page of GoFundMes would be more appropriate? Or maybe something even less formal, just links in comments with appeals directly from the users in need.

Anyway, I am glad that people are checking in as safe, but I'm worried about the aftermath. Stay safe Mefites!
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:26 AM on August 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Pater Aletheias, you and your family are in my thoughts. Please do let us know if we can make anything easier for you.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:40 AM on August 29, 2017

Is there a way for us as a large group to help them as a small group? A GoFundMe just for Mefites?

Just restating basic money policy as I understand it: any organizing to raise funds needs to happen as a result of user (not mod) actions and more or less offsite. If someone wants to take a lead in putting something together, it's fine to tell people about it and I, personally, would promote it through channels, but there's a hard line put in place against raising money as a site project, and as much as my heart goes out to MeFites in need, I think that is as it should be.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:50 AM on August 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah, that's where we are just at the moment. cortex is just getting back from a (very rare and well deserved!) short vacation, so we haven't talked over options -- it's possible we'll have more to say on this in a day or two.

But in the meantime, if people are setting up individual gofundmes for themselves, they can post those here in this thread and on their profile pages.

To every Mefite affected by this terrible situation -- I, like many people, have been following this intently but not commenting -- so, know that there are more people who care, reading your updates.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:11 AM on August 29, 2017 [6 favorites]

Just seeing how immediate the social media info spreading is, a levee just burst its banks ( Colombia Breaks) and I'm reading about it minutes later on the other side of the Pond...
We're all thinking of you, please do set up a Gofundme, happy to contribute
posted by Wilder at 7:56 AM on August 29, 2017

FYI, the end of this article has a list of some suggested organizations to give money to (based on suggestions from Charity Navigator).
posted by gudrun at 7:58 AM on August 29, 2017

My family left Lake Jackson (south of Houston on 288) Thursday to come up for my nephew's baptism. Since then, most of the area in Brazoria County put under mandatory evacuation.

We are grateful they are here, though they didn't bring any more than a couple of changes of clothes with them. My sister-in-law's cat, Athena, was left on the 2nd floor of her home with a week's worth of food and water in ringworm quarantine.

I'm so sorry about your situation, Pater Aletheias. You are a good man. Please meMail me when you can get back and survey your damage -- I would like to help you, Sciatrix and anyone else who needs basic supplies get back on their feet when it's all over. I'm not rich by any means but every little bit helps!!!!

If anyone needs a dry place to stay in Dallas, you are welcome at my home. Be warned that Uncle Ira is running a 102-degree fever right now, but I can quarantine him!

Mandatory evac maps/live updates along Texas coastal cities available here.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:55 AM on August 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

Today (last night) the storm really starts hitting Louisiana as well - hugs to all of you LA MeFites . Please keep us informed how you're doing too.
posted by barchan at 9:31 AM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

We are going to need labor, lots of labor, to recover from this. I believe that a bunch of the work after Katrina was done by undocumented people. There is going to have to be an acknowledgment about this fact from Texas and US officials.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 10:02 AM on August 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Things are looking somewhat more positive for my situation. Yesterday, the Brazos was projected to hit a height of 59 by this afternoon. The rise has slowed tremendously, though, and it's barely past 52 feet right now, and expected to reach a maximum of 57.5 Thursday morning. That's really great news for the area, because there a LOT of homes that will flood at 59 that won't flood at 57.5. It's good news for me, too, because that's the difference between four feet of standing water in my house and 2.5 feet. That means our TV, computer, and other electronics would probably be okay, and the hanging clothes as well. It would still suck and the house would still be uninhabitable, but that's an improvement over "everything is gone." And I'm really, really happy for some friends who will miss the floods entirely if 57.5 is the max.

I'm going to try not to get my hopes up that things look even rosier, but that foot and a half makes a big difference.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:07 PM on August 29, 2017 [33 favorites]

Some people have asked about our needs, and right now I'm holding off on accepting anything until we know exactly what we've lost and what we need to do next. If a miracle occurs and the Brazos doesn't pass 55 feet, then we dodge the bullet entirely, but I'm not counting on that. If we need help, I'm sure word will spread. If you use Twitter, you can follow me there and I'll keep you posted as we learn more.

One thing we have learned the past few days is how deep my relationships on Metafilter are. I feel connected to lots of people, but I guess there used to be something in the back of my mind that wondered if I was getting a little too emotionally attached to text comments from pseudonymous user names. But the MeMails, emails, and tweets from MeFites have brought us to tears again and again, with your expression of love and support. It wasn't all in my head. This community is real, and we are grateful for it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:19 PM on August 29, 2017 [31 favorites]

Thinking of you, storm and flooding-affected mefites, vocal in this thread or not. This all happened while I was on vacation, so I'm just now catching up on the news and status of things. Fingers crossed that damage is minimal. Keep posting the updates!
posted by Secretariat at 12:42 PM on August 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Sending hugs and support to all of you dealing with this. Heartbreaking to watch, and to know that we won't even know the full extent of the damage and loss of life for some time yet.

I'm supposed to head to New Orleans tomorrow for a reunion and a wedding, and now I'm wondering if I should cancel the trip. I don't want to miss the wedding, but it seems foolish to head directly towards the same place Harvey is headed if it's going to cause a bunch of flooding and stuff. (This is a very minor concern in the grand scheme of things of course!)
posted by aka burlap at 12:56 PM on August 29, 2017

aka burlap, I've got a flight out of Houston that I dearly want to catch this Friday so I totally understand the little things! The Louisiana Mefites had some good comments in the thread on the blue that might be of help to you.

And the being bored in the rain that Midnight Skulker mentioned above--it's really hard because I keep hearing from colleagues who are being evacuated from dangerous situations but I am incredibly lucky enough to just be sitting here dry and safe and watching the rain stubbornly insist on falling and falling. It's a weird state of mind.

Pater Aletheias, glad to hear that things aren't quite as dire as you thought. Here's hoping that the news gets better. I know you don't know what y'all need yet, but please do let us know when you do. You're a stand-up guy and we'd be happy to help.
posted by librarylis at 3:46 PM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

And the being bored in the rain that Midnight Skulker mentioned above--it's really hard because I keep hearing from colleagues who are being evacuated from dangerous situations but I am incredibly lucky enough to just be sitting here dry and safe and watching the rain stubbornly insist on falling and falling. It's a weird state of mind.

So much this. All the conflicting emotions I have right now are really draining my spirit. So many near and dear are going through so much worse, but I'm so tired and frustrated at the whole situation... I'm way more irritable than I should be. And like you both mentioned... the boredom. I'm allowed to work from home, so it's not 24/7, but geez. I have been able to leave the house for less than 20 minutes since Friday afternoon. (And, there I go complaining that the worst thing about this storm for me is that I'm safe and dry.)

From what I have seen and heard so far, everyone is pulling together tremendously.

But, we're still in the midst of all of this. Probably for another 24 hours. And, it gets to harrass my friends in the Golden Triangle, so get to keep the worry going for a bit. Yay.

So emotionally exhuasted.

Thank you, MeFis, for all the kind words in here. They help. And, keep thinking/praying/donating doing what you're doing for all those who are getting pummeled by this.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 4:14 PM on August 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Do any local folks have unsung or niche nonprofits they'd like to put up for consideration for donations? The lists so far that I've seen have been biggies and usual suspects, and I'm not critical of that (quite the contrary!) but also totally down for contributing to smaller outfits.
posted by desuetude at 11:24 PM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

desuetude, I was googling for images and videos of my old Montrose neighborhood and this came up for the Montrose Center's Hurricane Harvey LGBTQ Disaster Relief Fund:
The catastrophic and historic impact of Hurricane Harvey will be felt by the LGBTQ community of Houston Texas for days, months, and potentially years to come. Help our LGBTQ community members displaced by the storm today by giving to the LGBTQ Disaster Relief Fund, managed by the Montrose Center – Houston’s LGBTQ counseling and community center serving Houston for 39 years.
I can't vouch for them but I meant to post it here anyway, hoping someone in this thread knows about them. My heart goes out to my fellow mefites and everyone in all the storm's impact zones. But also, people like one of my BFFs, who is stuck in El Paso because her Amtrak train couldn't get her all the way home to San Antonio. She's likely lost a catering gig and an art opening (she was bringing the art with her from a gallery in L.A.) There must be countless stories like hers; we may never know how far and wide the storm's damage really reached.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:18 AM on August 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, in case anyone is tempted to donate anything other than blood to the Red Cross, the Seattle paper The Stranger put up a post yesterday about the Red Cross's enormous mismanagement of disaster funds ("incompetent at best, evil at worst"), as per a 2014 investigation by Pro Publica and NPR.
posted by theatro at 5:29 AM on August 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

My wife just asked if the rain really stopped for all of last night.

"Yes. You can even see sunlight."

"Really? I have to see this!"

And, she immediately ran outside. Slowly getting back to normal. Rumor has it there is a taqueria open near us. Going there to feed the family and then the "fun" task of finding an open grocery store.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 6:11 AM on August 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Do any local folks have unsung or niche nonprofits they'd like to put up for consideration for donations?

I donated to Portlight who helps people with disabilities in times of disaster and disaster relief. They help people with disabilities not only evacuate but replace durable medical equipment, get set up with new accessibility equipment and navigate working with insurance.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:18 AM on August 30, 2017 [12 favorites]

Sunday's projections had my house in four feet of water by last night. But the Brazos is rising much more slowly than expected. My house is still dry. Even better, with rains stopping, some flooded roads reopened, and a path to my house emerged. We seized our chance. Made it in last night, grabbed my car and everything irreplaceable we could think of. Got back out safely.

This morning, the only entrances to my neighborhood are closed off and flooding. Last night was our only window, and we didn't miss it.

I don't even care much now. Let the Brazos ruin my furniture. I have the pictures, the scrapbooks, and the heirloom quilts. We're okay now.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:28 AM on August 30, 2017 [95 favorites]

As a local datapoint: The railroad tracks that run north/south through Memorial, Bellaire, West U, etc. have had no traffic since Saturday morning. These are major tracks that go to the West Coast, and are economically important. In any case, work trucks have been scoping the tracks this afternoon, presumably to ensure that they are intact and ready to run traffic.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 10:28 AM on August 30, 2017

Good news indeed, Pater Aletheias. I cannot imagine what it's like to make a rush list of most important things and then kamikaze run into the unknown; always on watch for the waters rising and trapping you.
posted by mightshould at 2:58 PM on August 30, 2017

Good news indeed, Pater Aletheias. I cannot imagine what it's like to make a rush list of most important things and then kamikaze run into the unknown; always on watch for the waters rising and trapping you.

It is a story we will tell our grandkids. Even with pretty good road information on Drive Texas, four times last night we ran into roads where the waters were too deep to risk driving through. Once we exited a highway, saw deep water on the frontage road ahead of us, and were forced to re-enter the highway by driving the wrong way up the exit ramp.

Here's one amazing bit of good luck. The main thoroughfare that leads to my neighborhood was marked on Drive Texas as being completely flooded and impassable. But a Facebook friend linked to a live video of a drone flying over my neighborhood, and we saw that there were still cars driving up to the entry point of my subdivision. So we decided to take the chance that we could, too.

When we arrived (after a six-hour journey that normally takes three and half), Main Thoroughfare was flooded just south of my street. And it was flooded just north of my street. But there was a small dry section in between that we were able to get to through a circuitous route--exactly the minimum needed for us to get in and out. If the flood waters had expanded a half-block nearer from either direction, we would have driven six hours just to be blocked at the last minute. But we made it. I've never been so thrilled to drive from the nearby grocery store to my house.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2017 [27 favorites]

I'm so glad you were able to save your precious belongings, Pater!

My dad is still convinced their house is going to get flooded (the Brazos continues to rise and won't crest until Friday), but they keep downgrading their forecast and now it's down to 56', which although still higher than the record flood, is within design tolerances of the levees.

Thanks to the rain finally ending, the streets in their neighborhood were also passable so they ran home and did a similar "grab and go" (including the other car) this morning. So far the house hasn't flooded, and I have more hope than ever that they will escape damage.
posted by misskaz at 5:41 PM on August 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

First: I hope everyone reporting in here is doing ok, and mentally and physically surviving strongly. Especially glad to hear that things aren't as bad as initially thought, Pater Aletheias, and am very sorry that you're going through this.

Having sworn off giving any of my time or money to the American Red Cross (dig through my post history for the rant against the ARC post-Sandy), I'd received a blitz of calls yesterday from several people, including National HQ, the last of which was conferenced in with someone from FEMA. The thing that got me to reconsider was the tone of their voices: urgent, and near-desperate: "It's bad. It's really, REALLY bad." So I told them that I had ten days off to help, but that I could not get any more time off due to work and staffing issues. I understood that the minimum time requirement is two weeks, but they have and would make allowances for me, given my skillset and work I'd done for them in the past.

The lady from ARC asked me to immediately text my name and number to her, said to prepare for deployment to either Austin, Houston or Baton Rouge as staging grounds, and that I'd be receiving a call by in the early evening.

No call through the evening. Spent the night packing clothes and gear. Heard nothing. Figured they were, of course, busy. Went to sleep. Woke up, decided that if I didn't hear from them by 5pm EST I'd call it quits. Got a call at 15:28 from someone local. She said that I'd deploy tomorrow, but that my deployment would be for nine days. No problem. Nine days means September 8. She then proceeded to argue with me that nine days meant September 9. I double-checked with my work schedule (I work in a hospital serving an indigent community and we're short staffed), and I absolutely could not take the 9th off. Called her back. Said I could do nine days, and that's September 8.

She then proceeded to cut me off and explain that this will be a long-term relief effort, and that I would have opportunities to volunteer in the comings months. I tried to explain to her that this is a critical time to establish adequate infrastructure for shelters and population health, which I have provable and documented experience with from their last fiasco in 2012, and that I have the time for this, right now.

No dice. The lack of communication intra- and inter-organization was a huge problem I'd witnessed back then. I'd prepped daily reports and a much larger one at the end of my deployment then. I can only hope that the relief agencies are able to work and talk together better, use resources with less wastage, and treat their front-line volunteers and aid workers with respect and dignity.

I don't mean this to say that things won't be different and better this time. I hope they are more efficient. I also hope that someone, somehow, here, is able to compile a list of reputable charities and non-profits worth contributing to. I've seen several links above. Would it be possible to sidebar them or place them somewhere that's easy to find, and organized?

Finally, it goes without saying that there are a lot of things you can be doing to help out: words count. Actions count, too. If you and your family are safe, help your neighbors. If you're in a position of some authority with a local relief effort, actively recruit people who are in a position to help: the amount of help and volunteers I'd met who were unaffiliated with any organization in NY was tremendous, both in terms of the work they did and the succor they provided the less fortunate.
posted by herrdoktor at 6:05 PM on August 30, 2017 [21 favorites]

Looking for local places to donate to:
Undies for Everyone needs cash to buy wholesale. Brene Brown talked about this yesterday on Facebook after being at GRB. Clean underwear is dignity.
Houston Food Bank is wonderful.
Houston Pets Alive helps all the critters.
Houston Humane Society also helps pets.
Houston SPCA
TWRC Texas Wildlife Rehab Center helps treat and release displaced and injured wildlife.
Fundraiser for Houston Undocumented Communities Flood Relief by Antonio Arellano a local activist who is amazing and gets shit done in this town.
Casa Juan Diego a Catholic organization that has been helping undocumented in Houston for as long as I can remember. They are deeply entrenched in the community here.
Texas Organizing Project helps all communities usually overlooked by larger national groups. In their down town them work to organized disenfranchised voters to vote.

Someone above mentioned Montrose Center and YES YES YES they are wonderful.

Thanks all y'all. I'm back home after working at MDACC hospital for 5 shifts in a row. I've never worked more than 4. 2 or 3 is the norm. In the middle of it I switched from nightshift to dayshift because that where the staff need was. A lot of us did that: we slept for 4 hours then got up and worked a completely opposite shift. It was hard as hell but in a way sheltered me from what was going on outside. Now I'm out at home and my heart breaks even more.

One bright spot. When the sun came out the patients that could walk came out of their rooms to announce it to us staff. It was JOYOUS. Everyone went to the windows and cried. Did you see the sunshine became the greeting everyone gave to everyone as you passed them for the next few hours instead of hello.

And here's these badass flood gates that come out of the sidewalks in TMC. I have sense learned they cost 50 million to put in after TS Allison in 2001 and they are completely worth it. And the design comes from some sort of submarine gate or something. I am completely fascinated with these things.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:42 AM on August 31, 2017 [25 favorites]

Here's another great list of local charities if you want to donate. Thanks everyone. Anyone who knows some local places in Port Arthur, Port Aransas, and Rockport those places also hit HARD. Port Arthur today with rains. PA and Rockport with that C4 that sat on them last Saturday. Feels like forever ago.
posted by dog food sugar at 9:21 AM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

And giving blood is always great. We were short at my hospital we need it.
posted by dog food sugar at 11:11 AM on August 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

dog food sugar, you prompted me to donate. The good news is that locally, all upcoming appointments are booked! (No idea how far out they plan.) I hope that's a good sign that needs will be soon be met.

They do take walk-ins, but unfortunately I learned I can't donate.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:42 PM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

A company that provides tracking of commercial vehicles Geotab posted pre and post-Harvey data in GIFs--they are going to post weekly updates. An interesting visualization that shows the terrible impact of the storm. As I look at the "after" image--I wonder how many of those vehicles are being used in rescue efforts.

I've donated to some of the larger efforts like Salvation Army. And, because I work in transit, I'll be donating to the Texas Transit Association (they are collecting gift cards--they can't take cash--that they will give to the affected transit systems for their employees). 98% of the employees of the Port Arthur Transit system are in shelters but many are still reporting to work because their vehicles are being used for rescue operations and to transport medical personnel.

Here's the address for the TTA: TEXAS Harvey Relief
Texas Transit Association
Attn. Meredith Greene
106 E. 6th Street, Suite 900
Austin, TX 78701
posted by agatha_magatha at 3:56 PM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was lucky - never lost power (except for a couple of blips), house didn't flood (just a few feet up my driveway), and the only inconvenience was losing home Internet for 3-4 days (it just reliably came back earlier tonight).

Been working from home since last Friday, and they're reopening the office tomorrow mornning, yay!

I can't say enough good things about my employer - they're recognizing that some hourly employees are going to be financially hurt by the office being closed for a week, so they've given ALL EMPLOYEES a $750 "disaster recovery" bonus and made a special payroll run just for it. They've also provided a list of charities should anybody want to "pay it forward" to someone more needy, and fundraising is underway for employees who lost houses/cars.
posted by mrbill at 4:50 PM on August 31, 2017 [10 favorites]

Checking in from Fort Worth. We live in Sienna, which was expected to flood when the Brazos got high enough. The levy is designed for the Brazos to crest at 60, but apparently at 58 the neighborhood will flood from the side. Sunday night they announced voluntary evacuations when the predicted high was 59 so we started to prepare, and decided to leave on Monday about an hour before they made it a required evacuation. Took us 6 harrowing hours to make it out of Houston, every path we found was blocked, until we made it out on 290 to College Station, and then on to Forth Worth Tuesday morning. Got here and the relative we were supposed to stay with said "oh, when you asked about the cats we didn't realize you were bringing them, so sorry, husband is allergic", so we ended up at a hotel.

It looks like the river is going to crest at 55.5, well below the flood zone. We're hoping to head back on Saturday.
posted by Runes at 5:11 PM on August 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

And they just extended the mandatory evacuation order. Sigh.
posted by Runes at 5:30 PM on August 31, 2017

My house did not flood, although people a few streets away weren't so lucky. I was looking at the official flood maps, and it's amazing that what happened in my immediate area almost exactly matched the expected lines of the 500-year floodplain. It was sort of extraordinary.

My place of work was ruined. My job is secure, but I'm not sure when we'll be able to be back. I don't know what's going to happen with my fall classes - when they'll start, or how I'll be able to teach them.

Our community has lost at least half of our grocery stores and a huge number of businesses for weeks, at the very least (months, more likely). I still have plenty of food in the house, so I don't plan on venturing out looking for food/gas until next week, when we will hopefully have more local options with resources available. Even after the water has gone down, some of the main roads are impassable until they are checked for safety.

I feel grateful, and guilty, and still strangely on edge. I know that it's too early to make any predictions about Irma, but I'm avoiding the news about it (except from the Space City Weather guys) because of the pit in my stomach. I remember after Rita and Ike that it took a while before tropical weather systems didn't fill me with the same sense of dread. I'll admit that I was almost in tears Tuesday morning when the water was peaking a few streets away and it just would not stop fucking raining.

I don't like living in interesting times.
posted by Salieri at 5:55 PM on August 31, 2017 [7 favorites]

Seeing the "grass roots" support for people by just plain regular ole' folks is nothing short of amazing. My Renfaire clan/"fairemiliy" is organizing around a Google Map with "pins" showing "who has help / places to stay / supplies to donate / labor to help" and "who needs help / labor done / a place to stay", etc.

My normal 20-minute/11 mile commute to work took an hour this morning, and the (different route) 45-minute/12 mile commute home took me over THREE AND A HALF HOURS tonight due to flooded streets, detours, and everyone following the same Google Maps route to get to main streets... Tomorrow, I'm going no further than half a mile down the road to fill up the car with gas, then coming back home.

After the past week of dealing with the storm and working from home fulltime, I'm just exhausted and am going to sleep until I feel like getting up tomorrow.

A bit of humor that came out of all this - one of the things that Rennies are good at, is camping. A friend of mine said "What do you mean, buy supplies and prepare? I've got that entire list of stuff in tubs out in the garage already..."
posted by mrbill at 9:28 PM on September 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

so glad to hear everyone is well! Our in-laws returned home, then had to evac the day after as the lake water rises. (Their home backs up to a very small fishing lake, but what can you do?) Still, they are all safe and Athena the cat is no longer stranded.

Another link for donating/signing up to volunteer -- I donated $500 last week, and my company generously offered to match it:

Shout out to all my fellow Texans who are now okay! xo
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:16 PM on September 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Final report:

Since the Brazos crested at 55.19 feet, well below the initial projections of 59 feet, no water got into my house. Apparently it swirled right up to near the top of my driveway and stopped. So, after all that stress and the mandatory evacuation, we came out okay. Only think we lost was all of our refrigerated/frozen groceries, since I was away from town when the mandatory evacuation order happened, and I asked a neighbor to shut off our power, per the instructions we were given, to avoid this.

So, we came home to a hot house that smells like rotten meat and I threw up three times getting the refrigerator clean, but those are small prices compared to what other people paid. Currently using dorm fridge that used to be in my office while we try to de-stink the main one.

It's quite a thing to be told and really believe that you are about to lose pretty much everything in your home. I wouldn't want that experience again, but I'm glad I had it. Because I realized there's a lot of stuff in my house I wouldn't have missed. In fact, after we got the keepsakes and pictures out, I was kind of looking forward to making a massive insurance claim and just getting rid of everything else. I know that sounds weird, maybe, but there are a lot of things that I find hard to get rid of that I would welcome having stolen.

I'm working on getting rid of them now. It won't happen in one big flood, but trickle by trickle I'm going to sell and give away and trade-in things until we're down closer to where we want to be. For a while now, we've looked around at the accumulated stuff of decades of living and thought we should try to pare it down. Harvey was the kick in the pants we needed to do it. I grieve for the losses so many others suffered, but I am also grateful for the personal priority re-shuffle.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:07 PM on September 4, 2017 [25 favorites]

This is rocking good news. Let's hope the Florida MeFites fare just as well or better!

To my knowledge, only one couple on my in-laws' street actually had their house flooded. It came hella close, to be sure, but my company's actually hooking people up pro bono with inverse condemnation claim assistance, so in a way, I'm going to try and help them directly. Their home was lost as a result of the controlled releases, so if y'all are not hip to this terminology, here's how that stuff works.

Think: eminent domain claim, only specifically for flooding and the entity responsible is the Army Corps of Engineers. It might actually help people who don't have flood insurance recoup some losses they otherwise wouldn't.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:06 PM on September 8, 2017

My two closest connections in Harvey effected areas have faired really well. One guy left his house and took off north to stay with another friend of ours; when he came back, after the streets to his home became passable, he found that his house didn't even lose electricity, and absolutely no water high enough in his area to get near his place. (He's in Spring Branch, which apparently is set on a higher ground than that of surrounding areas. He lucked out.)

My other friend just allowed back into his home yesterday, after 10 days in shelter downtown, sleeping on cots. He also dodged a bullet -- there was water in his neighborhood but his house sits high enough that he didn't get nailed. The streets were water canals, every yard was under water, but hardly any houses damaged. But due to the water flooding everyones back yards there was sewage from septic tanks, needed to be cleaned up before they'd let the ppl move back in. He's in West Columbia, small town in the coastal flats; compared to what so many others in the flats have dealt with, and are dealing with, he got off really light.

herrdoktor wrote about difficulties he's had in dealing with the red cross. I just saw a story in the Houston Chronicle where a city council member told ppl not to donate to Red Cross, as they are inept.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:34 PM on September 9, 2017

Speaking of the Red Cross..they somehow failed to show up more than a few shelters in Miami (if even that many). The county ended up having school employees prep them and partially staff them and used county police and eventually some National Guardspeople. Supposedly it was some miscommunication between them and the county, but it sounds like miscommunication is par for the course for them lately.

It sounds like my old insurance agent is better at disaster relief than the Red Cross. Dude showed up to my friend's house at 3 in the morning to give her a check for a few thousand dollars and $500 cash to pay for emergency costs like a hotel and boarding her dogs until they could adjust the claim when she had a house fire. In the end, they even paid me and Georgia for the nights she spent in our house before she could get the hotel. (He insisted it be included in the claim!)
posted by wierdo at 7:07 PM on September 14, 2017

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