The night of the Houston Flood 2015: Last Monday night, my daughter and I were traveling home after attending a family graduation in Minnesota. It was supposed to be a 2.5 hour flight. The flight was scheduled to leave at 8 pm and arrive at 10:30 p.m. We were very excited about this short plane ride. We thought we’d get home at midnight at the latest.
We forgot to buy water until we were at the gate. The only place nearby to get water were vending machines. We rushed to the machines and tried using cash and credit cards repeatedly, but the machines didn’t work. In the middle of our struggles to get water, we were called to board the plane.
We had to abandon the plan to get water and get in line to board the plane. In the shuffle, my credit card must have fallen out of my hand. The Bottom line–I lost my credit card!
Boarding was fine and the flight took-off on-time. Once we were in the air, the pilot told us that we could expect delays and a rough flight.
That was the understatement of the century. The flight was so rough that it felt like driving a bicycle down a gravel road–only the turbulence was worse because we continued to experience big drops from the rough winds. Plus, people got sick so the plane smelled like the morning after a keg party.
My daughter is usually pretty calm when flying, but this time she was stressed. She held my arm tight and looked at me with wide eyes wanting reassurance that
it was all going to be okay. I comforted her.
Approximately 2 hours into the flight, the pilot told us that the plane had enough fuel to circle Houston for another 40 minutes. However, he also told us that he was instructed we would have to circle for at least an hour. Later, he explained that if the fuel level got too low, we would have to fly the plane to Dallas and refuel. Later the pilot updated us with this message, “There is no update.” Our plane continued to circle the airport with great turbulence.
We were finally given permission to land 30 minutes later after using most of our fuel. The descent down to land was horrible. It is as if we were in a toy plane in the hands of a 5-year old who recklessly ran, jumped, and played.
When our plane finally landed, and we were safely on the ground, I said to myself–YES!! My daughter and I thought that it wouldn’t be long now and we would be heading home.
We were all feeling great about landing until the pilot spoke again. He told us that he had good and bad news to share. The good news was that the plane landed. The bad news was that the airport was at a standstill. This meant no planes were not allowed to move away from the gates so we would have to stay on the runway for at least another hour. Bummer!
Sitting on the airplane wasn’t pleasant. The plane smelled bad. The air flow was minimal. I got that caged-in feeling. I was tired and hungry. At around 2:15 a.m. the flight attendants gave us cookies and water. To keep myself calm, I practiced breathing techniques.
The entire situation was kind of humorous in a weird kind of way.
Then after an hour our plane moved. Yeah!!! I thought, “Now we can finally go home!!!
My daughter and I were conflicted as to whether we should take Uber or a Taxi, but after we walked to the airport exit, we discovered it wasn’t an issue because NEITHER ONE WAS RUNNING. There were no Uber cars in sight and the taxi coordinator explained, “No taxi’s are coming.”
We checked for hotels….they were all booked. We thought about trying to go to the rental car area, but we would have had to take a shuttle and decided against it since the odds were in the favor that all rentals would be sold out also.
After some time, we saw a taxi go by and decided to get back in the taxi line. What do you know, a few taxi’s began to come. At this time we had no idea how badly Houston was flooded. If we would have realized the severity of the storm then we would have slept in the airport. I thought it was just a bad storm.
A bit later, we got in a taxi. I didn’t have a great feeling about the driver because the taxi coordinator told him not to come back because of a disagreement they were having. The driver seemed like a bit of a mad man. He drove very fast through the heavy rain and storm. Occasionally, the car hit air pockets and would hydroplane slightly.
As the drive home we discovered many major highways and roads were closed due to excessive flooding. The flooding was massive and widespread. We saw hundreds of vehicles parked or stranded along the road. When I asked the driver about the vehicles he said, “They were stranded because the exits were flooded over.”
I also saw vehicles entering exit ramp. Entire freeways were closed. What I was seeing was a surreal experience. I focused deeply on staying positive and having faith that we and everyone else would be okay.
At one point, the taxi driver made a turn into the overflowing bayou. Bad move. The water was getting deeper as he moved forward. I asked him to turn back and he did. I told him that this was one of the worse roads for flooding. We backed out, and then continued to our home. We were zig zagging trying to find streets we could drive on so it took a long time to get home.
We went through high water that was scary, but at that point there we didn’t have other alternatives. It was almost 3:30 a.m. when the taxi turned down a street in our neighborhood. There was more flooding. He navigated through water, and when we were close to our house, we had to get out and carry our luggage to our house. The water was too just too high for the taxi to go further. I tipped the driver extremely well and thanked him profusely.
It took us two trips from the taxi to the house, but we gladly waded through the water and pouring rain! We pulled our luggage to the house, opened the door and there was no electricity! We were soaking wet when we got inside, but we were happy because we were safe! We found candles and flashlights and all was okay because we were home.
This was a crazy adventure for my daughter and me. I am quite grateful we were kept safe throughout this journey. One of our cars flooded that night, but that was a small loss.
I know many people suffered severely that night. There were lives lost, people stranded, houses damaged, and vehicles totaled. My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by this massive Texas flooding of 2015.