A look back: Allison

As August gets underway and a severe drought continues in Texas, we were disappointed that the recent tropical storm Don did not produce the hoped for rains.  But the old saying applies:  be careful what you wish for…

In early June 2001, tropical storm Allison dumped rain on Galveston and Houston, Texas.  Downtown Houston was severely flooded.  I was living in Houston at the time, and I joined thousands of others looking at the flood.  In those pre-Katrina days, Allison was a dramatic weather event indeed.

When I first saw Highway 288, south of dowtown Houston, I was astonished.  I thought that maybe I had taken a wrong turn and come across a flooded bayou.  But this was no bayou.  Highway 288 had become like a Mississippi river, with only the tops of 18-wheel trucks showing.  Who knew what lay beneath the water?   Cars?  People?  We did not know.   One fellow told me, “I’ve been in Houston 45 years, and I have never seen anything like this!   Not even with hurricane Alicia.”

One woman drowned when she took the elevator down to the lower level of a parking garage.  She did not know that the lower level was flooded, floor to ceiling.  When the elevator doors opened, water poured in on top of her.

Businesses, government offices and even hospitals were closed.  A pregnant woman went into labor at home.  Friends put her on an air mattress and floated her down the street to a waiting ambulance.  All went well and, presumably, the child is now 10 years old and has an exciting story to tell each birthday.


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