Houston residents have returned to their hurricane-ravaged homes, ready to rip out drywall, tear up carpets and sift through the destruction for surviving valuables.
Robin Good, director of business development with GateHouse Media, was among those homeowners. As devastating as her situation is, it could have been worse.
Good and her elderly dog were nearly stranded in their home in Katy, Texas, while the flood waters rose. But a connection with another GateHouse employee resulted in a timely rescue.
The Thursday before the storm really hit, Aug. 27, Good was returning home from a business trip. Officials were urging residents to shelter in place, so Good stocked up on supplies, made sure all her devices were charged and prepared to hunker down.
“It didn’t seem so bad that night and of course there was no flooding. It was overcast the next day but the sun came out,” Good said. “Then we got 48 inches in 48 hours. Houston floods, but I’ve never had a problem before.”
Still, Good’s home hadn’t lost power, and her backyard only had a little flooding. Saturday and Sunday go by, and the roadways leaving Good’s neighborhood were unpassable. She was stranded — but still safe. The water hadn’t risen.
That changed on Monday, when the water swiftly began flooding her yard, then her home.
Good retreated to her attic but didn’t have an ax in case she needed to break through. She began posting increasingly distressed status updates on Facebook, where they were seen by a friend.
Aimee Thomas, a multimedia account executive with the StarBanner in Ocala, Florida, met Good for just a week when Good was in Florida on a work trip. The two hit it off and friended each other on Facebook.
Thomas happened to have a friend who lived in Sugar Land, Texas — about 20 miles from Houston — who had a Jeep prepared for rescues. Thomas put the two in contact, and Good was whisked to safety as the waters closed in around her.
The water was too high for the Jeep to make it to her house, so Good waded through waist-deep water to make it out. Her 13-year-old dog, Bonnie, swam “for the first time in her life,” Good said.
As the storm raged, Good made it to Dallas, where her niece met her. The two drove 22 hours to North Carolina. After an agonizing wait, Good was finally able to get back into her house late last week.
The house, she said, is a complete loss.
“I put some things up on shelves, but at that point you just get out. You get out with your life,” Good said. “About 80 percent of people in Houston don’t have flood insurance and I’m one of those people.”
Now, she’s facing the monstrous task of cleanup.
“We’re tearing every bit of drywall out now. All the floors. All the furniture,” she said. “It looks like a war zone.”