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September 20, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

All wet.

Newbie.

Shuffling the groceries, she complained about the heat. “I guess we’ll have to get used to it with global warming”

I looked up from zipping the eggs and yogurt into the cooler. “No. We call this summer. I grew up here.”

Startled she panicked. “This is normal?”

“It’s only 97F. Back in 1980 we had 22 days in a row of over 100 degree temperatures. That not too unusual. There were some really long hot summers during the 1800’s. It’s been a relatively nice summer: cloudy and enough rain so sprinklers didn’t have to run much. Past August and everything’s still green? Now that’s unusual.”

She gasped.

Not sure that woman will manage living here.

Manatee at Merritt Island's Nat. Wildlife Refuge/near Kennedy Space Center (USPD. NASA image/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Oh this is too related. It’s a NASA photo and we have NASA. Also we shelter lost manatees sometimes. One hung out near an east downtown warm water discharge in Buffalo Bayou during a cold spell. It was not a fish out of water. (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

This semi-tropical environment is harsh and unforgiving.

You can live here, but you’re going to have to adapt, not it.

Summers so hot and humidity that sitting closed up inside with a fan can kill you. This is AC country.

Although for many, many years, many, many lived just fine without it. You dressed differently, ate differently, built houses differently, worked differently, and shrugged.

The men and women who settled in this wilderness were not hot house flowers. Just darn hot.

It is what it is. A place of extremes. And a good place to know how to swim

We’ve had great weather for ducks…manatees…hippos…floating rafts of fire ants as Imelda, one of the shortest tropical storms in history, waddled and dawdled around SE Texas.

No waves or storm surge (a long way from the beach), just the usual. It’s flat. If it rains hard enough and long enough in one area, it’ll flood. Sure as the sun rises.

Depending on location, rain amounts totaled between 8-43 inches this time. Luck of the downpour.

It floods, often. Past, present, and future.

But look at it this way, you can end up with waterfront property no matter where you buy a house. 

Not to lessen concern or minimize the despair of those flooded this time, but folks help each other and know how to paddle on.

Large yellow duck tethered to ground. (Image: Johnscotaus/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Plan ahead: Schools may be encouraged to tether inflatable ducks on campus for transporting students once the waters rise. (Johnscotaus/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Besides, how many kids can say they arrived home from school in a high water vehicle instead of a bus? Or how many preschoolers ever get to duck into a tiny orange life jacket and get carried by a sheriff holding onto a guide rope as he walked through thigh deep water to their waiting moms?

Future “when I was young” stories: The local version of the old “I had to walk 20 miles in the snow …”

How about keeping gills as a regional accessory? Evolutionary redo, anyone?

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Woman walking with fish on postcard by Curl Teich before 1964.(USPD.pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Early adopters are always popular?(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

20 Comments

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  1. easyweimaraner / Sep 20 2019 7:06 am

    yes… the story of coming home with a submarine could replace the dashing through the snow tale… but I hope for the best for all of us…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shoreacres / Sep 20 2019 7:14 am

    Everyone who has lived in Texas for any period of time — particularly on the coast — knows that droughts here tend to be broken by tropical systems. Even people who haven’t lived here could pick up a book and read about the same dynamic in earlier centuries. Of course we’ve exacerbated problems with development. Water doesn’t soak into concrete, after all, and the subsidence caused by canal-cutting is a more significant problem than many know. Still…

    Yesterday, I watched one of my big, fat pigeons happily using the birdbath at the very height of the rain. At least someone enjoyed it.

    My trip up to the Sandyland sanctuary this weekend probably is out of the question. The intersection where I turn north to go up 326 to Kountze — the little town of Nome — got something like 38″ of rain. They aren’t going to need to irrigate the turf farms for a while. Those poor people in the Winnie/Anahuac/Beaumont areas are going to need a lot of help — not to mention anyone who depends on crossing I-10 at the San Jacinto Bridge. Some barges took it out, and there’s no telling how long it’s going to take to get that sorted out.

    As soon as I finish my coffee, I’m off to see if I can get some work done before any more rain builds up. I’m so stir crazy even going to work sounds good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 20 2019 7:56 am

      How many know the San Jacinto was a major navigated river from the beginning? Guess barges are a bit like cows in a feed lot – when the opportunity to make a break for it, run!
      Winnie lost 700 homes? At least the hopsitals took the warning seriously and evacuated before ti all hit except for the ER ( but the county sheriff noted, having the roads/I10 closed kept the traffic incidents down) Lucky most was in daylight hours.
      Once again there will be wails, but as far as actually addressing things that have a major role in this flooding – as you mentioned too much concrete, shrinking green yard sizes for monster houses, 3-4 story town house canyons built right up to the sidewalks, big box store, strip centers, parking lots…all permitted gladly without a thought to sewer capacity/dranage. Tell us again TXDOT why taking an elevated FWY down and tunneling it under ground is a smart idea in this area with our yearly rains. Humans seem determined to do ourselves in without any help (although what’s with the incoming meteors pelting us these days?)
      Stir crazy, definitely. Additional storm band already seeing up for heating of the day. Keep and eye out. Trying to encourage the dogs to use what time we have…wish they could wear water skies or some sort of snow/mud shoe to keep them from churning up the backyard swamp…hey, maybe some unusual wild flowers will spring up there? Might as well hope for the good. Thanks for the splashy remark

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kate Crimmins / Sep 20 2019 7:36 am

    Hope you are all ok. You may need more towels for muddy paws! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 20 2019 8:10 am

      The laundry room floor is smelling like wet dog from the towel mounds. Must get ready for the expected afternoon rain bands. We selected this location very carefully and have been OK so far as water quickly drains a block to the lake here. All the area lakes were able to contain the run off, it’s just that there was so much for so long as this system wobbled around. Friends and family were all busy sending images or water inches from their doors (Hey there a new thing Lowes sells – looks like a high back of sand, but when wet expands and turns into big solid “sand bag” type barrier – then when dry shrinks up again for storage.From the pictures, it works. Might be something good to toss in the garage just in case just about anywhere)
      Despite the heat, the dogs need to get outside a bit – talk about cabin fever and stirring up crazy.(RC Cat is grumpy about the noise – and the rainy day dog activity of “let’s peek under the door and bark at the cat”)
      Thanks for sloshing by with a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean / Sep 20 2019 7:58 am

    Your region is not for me. And your appeal that we all could have waterfront property will not change my view on this matter. [Yes, pun intended.] Stay safe, worried about you when I see the weather news…

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 20 2019 11:45 am

      Hurricanes and tropical storms, give warning ahead and you can prepare for them. Earthquakes, sink holes, and tornadoes? Shiver.
      If I was the ultra wealthy, I’d have an elevated sturdy house on the Bay or shore – and just lock it up and leave for a fabulous cool mountain retreat during when it was wise. But there’s a point where fall/spring weather watch parties cease to be fun – and there’s the time and money costs of rebuilding. (Not to mention the stress). I worry about the elderly and the new to the area families. Floods not a fun surprise. (Add in the delight of the mosquitoes…)
      The second storm of the day hitting us now. Flood watch until 7pm. Dogs are just bonkers – but at least they were out during the sunny break to make use of the facilities 9 and get yelled at for digging in the mud.).
      Thanks for adding to the views (and a note to brighten the grey)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anne Mehrling / Sep 20 2019 8:04 pm

    When I saw the tiny image of the manatee, I thought you had a new mouse avatar. Silly me.

    Like

  6. Pied Type / Sep 20 2019 10:34 pm

    I suppose you take it in stride when you’ve lived there a long time. But my sister lived in Lake Jackson for a couple of years and I visited her once. I couldn’t wait to leave the humidity and giant insects behind. I lived in the “dry” heat of OKC at the time. But now that I’m in Denver, even OKC seems terribly humid. Anyway, glad to hear you’re okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 26 2019 1:19 pm

      It’s always stressful. Now the humidity and the mosquitoes have arrived – so much for getting outside while sunny (rain Sat and Sun. expected). The dogs are bonkers with boredom.
      Our little area is gathering food, cleaning supplies, toilet paper for Winnie and the areas east of us that were hit so hard. Reciprocation for their previous help.
      It would have been really great if the NBC station manager had done community spot the day after the flooding about how despite the broad diversity in the region, everyone works as one during emergencies…instead of “We’re going to spotlight the contributions of Hispanics/Latinos for the next few weeks during Oct Hispanic history month. So easy, yet they can’ seem to get it right…don’t want to.
      (Insert universal in solidarity of living things cat growls and dog snarls here)
      Thanks for rafting up a comment here

      Like

  7. cat9984 / Sep 21 2019 12:25 am

    How long does it take the ground to absorb 43 inches of rain? Or is there some sort of run-off system for it?

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 23 2019 7:58 am

      If rain stops, generally it drains quickly in most areas. As the President said yesterday, “I saw people hauling furniture outside and bailing out house one day and a couple of days later, they are out mowing lawns.”
      They used to call this the Bayou City for good reason – flat as a table crossed by large ditches/bayous which drain into multiple large rivers(navigable for small boats and bares – once used by settlers to get to the interior now recreational in most places) which drain into the lakes (they had warnings days ahead so lake levels were lowered so no flooding from overflow there fortunately), the ship channel then to Galveston Bay and off to the Gulf of Mexico. Many of us have concerns about this proposed “Ike Dike” that would swing across the Ship Channel and park of Galveston Bay. Not smart to us as it would trap water inside and increase flooding – and considering that all this flooding is caused by rain falling, not storm surge or waves. Houston is quite a way from the beaches)
      The biggest problem now is 1. new people aren’t used to the normal weather, 2. there used to be miles and miles of rice fields, pastures, and farm lands which are now concrete subdivisions, strip malls, and such without any thought to where water will go/city didn’t limit building or upgrade sewer system…some of those residences were built in “river bottom” or low areas that we all grew up knowing flood frequently – wrong spot to build or at least build up to protect your stuff, 3. subsidence has been increasing since the 70’s which is why drinking water/household water now comes from surface water instead of wells.and it just rains a lot in the semi tropics with yearly storms.
      It is really bad, but so many people here know the process of picking up the pieces. Now we have to guard against the criminal opportunists who take people’s money without doing the repair work. Sometimes people are worse than the floods
      We’re still getting daily rain, today may be severe again (“cool” fall fronts running into the moist hot coastal air – also typical fall and spring) So keep that umbrella ready..and get the dogs out while there’s sun. Thanks for floating a comment this way

      Liked by 1 person

  8. lookatthemyt / Sep 25 2019 11:00 am

    Aha! you have clearly portrayed the glimpse of the article through the title itself 😉

    BTW, if you have time, please visit my channel and do read my articles 🙂

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 26 2019 1:50 pm

      Oh the time honored tradition of a title that actually relays what the piece is about…something of a rarity here. HaHa. Thanks for stopping by to sit and chat on the porch a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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