Harvey and Our Houston Family

A photo chronology of Hurricane Harvey, depicted with photos submitted by our readers.

By Sara G. Stephens

On Friday, August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Corpus Christi, devastating homes in the area and demolishing the tiny town of Rockport, before making its determined way north through Galveston. The storm proceeded to rip through Houston and west, onto Katy and Richmond, and Sugarland, bringing with it unprecedented rains, and displacing more than a million people from their homes. As the city continues to recover, we would like to dedicate this photographic timeline of Harvey’s Houston visit, composed of photos submitted by our readers, to the unbreakable spirit of the Bayou City. We are Houston, and we are family!

FRIDAY, 8/25/17

1. Trick shot for tricky weather. The rain begins. It will last for days.  –Rampart Logan Vega, the Heights, Houston, Texas 


SATURDAY, 8/26/17

2. These are seven children–my five kids plus my brother’s two kids who evacuated Houston–huddled in one closet during one of the 30ish tornado warnings we got. They all had fully charged devices to watch movies on and entertain the babies. It was a long few days and nights. The kids are Sophie, Bella, Ben, Lucy and Alice Wheeless plus Nathan and Patrick White. –Lerin White Wheeless, Katy, Texas

3. During the worst part of the storm, water had crept halfway up our yard, which has an elevation of 110 feet. Our pool overflowed, and we worked vigorously to scoop and sweep the water away from the back door. This photo was taken Saturday night when the water had just started to gather. My husband had ventured out to help the neighbors clear the drains of debris to give the water somewhere to go. What strikes me about the picture is the “ignorance is bliss” nature of the scene. My daughter thought it was fun to splash in a the flooded street. We truly had no idea the scope of devastation that was happening and that which lay ahead. –Sara G. Stephens, Katy, Texas


SUNDAY, 8/27/17

4. On the night of the bad rains, around 12:30 am, my husband, Sean Donde, caulked and duct taped our front door as the waters rose. We created a barricade on Sunday afternoon in case we got more flooding rains. We did everything we could think of to protect our home.

5. We fought to clean out the drains in the alley. — Laura Chiles Atabala, Katy, Texas

6. We checked on Buffalo Bayou after the big rain, making sure the water didn’t reach our home. Siblings comforted each other.  –Lia Inizan, Allen Pkwy/Tirrell St., Houston



MONDAY, 8/28/17

7. My husband and I waded waist-high in waters on Champions Drive at Cypresswood. The mailbox in the photo is the home at the corner of Champions Drive looking across to Raveneaux Country Club. My husband and I were out in the water in an attempt to discern if we would soon be flooded and need to call for help as our neighbors were doing. Our backyard neighbors, who face Cypresswood, had removed a section of our fence (after climbing over the fence to request permission) as their only way to escape their home. They had family in a home on another street in Champions, not so hard hit, and because we had a bit of yard remaining for a walkway, they could make it to the other home. For days, this family would pass from their yard through our back yard to their car that was eventually parked at our house as the waters receded on our street, Champions to Louetta and civilization. Teamwork with people you hardly know because we were all in survival mode!! –Melissa Fusco, Champion Forest, Houston, Texas

8. I watched the waters rise in my cowgirl boots. Texans are always prepared! –Kay Talbert, Houston, Texas

9. We surveyed the waters at Heathrow and Fox Crossing. –Geneva Castillo, Kleinwood, Houston

10. I took my black lab Hudson for his morning walk, around 7:25 am. –Hunter Sherrill, photo by Janna Carandang, Houston, Texas


TUESDAY, 8/29/2017

11. We have survived! And, like the city, we will hold each other up as we rebuild in the weeks and months to come. — Laura Chiles Atabala, Nottingham Country Elementary playground, Katy, Texas

12. We kayaked down our street in League City Tuesday morning, after the second heavy rains on Monday night, trying to make the most of a very wet situation! –Ashley Donde, League City

13. Many people walked a mile through barricades to view the flooding of Cypresswood Drive (here at Stubner Airline). Water rushed past the buildings of this popular dining strip center, flowing in several different directions, searching for the best possible outlet. A lone car sat in a ditch where rushing flood waters swept it out of the parking lot. –Casey Johnson, Spring, Texas


WEDNESDAY, 8/30/2017

14. My husband, John Starling, FOX 26 News Photojournalist, and all of the other news people worked around the clock 12-16 hours days out in the field (sleeping at the news station), from before the storm started until he was able to go home on 9/1. He is a very humble man, having worked many major events around the country (Virginia Tech Shooting, Boston Bombing…etc), however, seeing first-hand the destruction Harvey did in and around the city of Houston really hit home, and you can see the sadness and compassion in the eyes of all of the guys in the picture. –Julia Baltimore-Starling, Olde Oak – Waterford, Briar Forest, Houston

15. Another Harvey rescue, not an uncommon sight on the streets of Houston these days. –Lynda Lambert, Spring, Texas

16. An inspiring message speaks volumes at the Capstone Family Practice on Cypresswood. –Brenda Chavez, Houston, Texas.


FRIDAY, 9/1/2017

17. I took this picture of Ryan Hummel and his son Jaxson at 8pm as they ventured out from their home to view the flooding. The two are looking west down Clay Rd, west of Beltway 8 and east of Eldridge on the back side of Addicks. The image said a few things to me as I shot it: the power of mother nature; the love a parent has for his child; and the beauty that is to follow every dark moment. –Jessica Barger (Photo by Jessica Barger, JB Photography)


SATURDAY, 9/2/2017

18. We begin assessing damage and cleaning our house in the Kingwood area. –Brenda, Houston, Texas


TUESDAY, 9/4/2017

19. On Labor Day, our Happily Ever After Travel kids and one of our agents from Cypress went to serve with Bear Creek Church. Our agents, Shannon and Thomas, had served four days straight. They were actually going to take the day off, but we decided to come down for Labor Day since the kids were out of school. We pulled out sheetrock, scooped it up along with insulation, put it in wheelbarrows, and hauled wet carpet, flooring, walls, etc. outside the edge of the water in their front yard. You still couldn’t drive up to the house. We had to park way down the street and walk to get to the homes because the street was still flooded. –Chrissy Vorderbruggen, Houston, Texas

20. We continue trying to salvage what we can. It still doesn’t seem real, but I’m thankful to have my family and friends safe. I will never take anything for granted ever again! –Kynzie Medina, Vidor, Texas (photo by Kristen Bearden)

21. What a joy it’s been helping people rebuild their homes. A special thanks is due to my God for bringing my city together like never before. The kindness and compassion is unreal. And the only way to describe it is that it’s a true miracle. God is Good y’all! –Esther Erfan, Houston, Texas (photo by Sam Ghobeti)


WEDNESDAY, 9/5/2017

22. A lifetime of memories… –Josh Blanton, Houston, Texas

22. This was my sister-in-law’s home. We have a daily clean-up crew, and on this day, my 13-year-old old daughter and her best friend helped out. I made the tops we are wearing. –Jamie Cobb (photo by son Dakota)

23. My 10-year-old son, Jacob Alba, has found it fun to be able to break the “no skating in the house” rule and whip around on the concrete floors. I gave the go-ahead since we’ve lost Wi-Fi, cable and all other sources of entertainment. We got about 2 ft. of water and weren’t able to come home for 5 days. Talk about your silver linings! –Amanda Adkins, Houston



5 Harvey Things You Don’t Expect

Posted by Eric Huffman on August 30 at 8:09am

1. The shame. This is my first hurricane, and while most of my friends lost *something* – a house, a car, power – I lost nothing. OK I lost some drywall, maybe. And I lost $500 frantically buying supplies the internet told me I would need to survive a hurricane. I know it’s not my fault that I managed to escape Harvey’s wrath, but sitting inside my dry, well-lit house, browsing Twitter for updates because my wifi still worked, man – the shame was overwhelming. I wanted to do more.

2. The powerlessness. For the past couple of days, I’ve been able to get out and help people, but from Saturday night (when things got bad) till Monday morning, as the waters rose, there was just nothing to do. I knew people all around me – people I love – were losing everything, and I wanted nothing more than to go help them keep the water out of their homes. But floodwaters can’t be kept out; there’s NOTHING you can do.

3. The pre-existing conditions. The difference between watching a disaster like this on the news and living it up-close is realizing that disasters don’t happen in a vacuum. People who had problems before Harvey still have those same problems now, plus Harvey. People who were fighting cancer at the Med Center are now fighting cancer AND Harvey. People who were getting divorced are now dealing with attorneys AND insurance adjusters. People who were paralyzed by depression now have one more reason not to seek help. Alcoholics now have one more reason to drink. I never thought about these things before going through a disaster first-hand.

4. The ordinary heroes. If there’s anything beautiful about this tragedy, it’s that this crisis has revealed the true heart of man. In times of plenty, we think we can afford to be selfish, callous, and divided. But in moments like these, we know we need each other. Harvey washed away the sins of self-deception and reminded us we’re made in the image of God, who laid down His life for us.

5. The perspective. As strange as it may sound, we have Harvey to thank for not hearing about white supremacists, confederate statues, and police brutality for a few days. No one cared about the president’s tweets or unisex bathrooms while floating down the street in a rescue boat together. Rescuers didn’t ask for your sexual orientation before they rescued you, and the government officials working the shelters didn’t check your immigration status before letting you in.

I confess: Harvey has broken me. I’m not the same man I was a few days ago, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I’m not saying God sent that storm to teach us a lesson; I’m saying God can take any darkness and turn it into light.




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