Matt: My Harvey story, our call to action for Houston

Harvey was an incredibly emotional forecast that challenged many of us in ways we’ve never been challenged before. In writing this personal retrospective I sought a way to process this experience and convey the emotion of the last couple weeks in words. So this is my story, my call to action, my open letter to the city I’ve come to love.

I grew up in New Jersey and became fascinated by weather, most likely at the age of three. The memories are broken up and fuzzy now, but they’re firmly in my mind. In 1985, Hurricane Gloria came barreling up the Eastern Seaboard, forcing my family to evacuate my grandmother from her home in Atlantic City. My dad taped up windows around our house about four miles inland from the shore. I remember going to the coast after dark as the storm pulled away to (perhaps my parents would now admit, unwisely) “assess damage” to the beach. Gloria’s impacts on the Jersey Shore were modest. My grandmother’s house was unscathed, and life got back to normal in short order. Somewhere along the line Gloria ignited a passion for meteorology. It started with a hurricane in New Jersey, and as I sit here 32 years later, I openly wonder if a rain-laden hurricane in Texas is what extinguishes it.

Boardwalk damage in Ocean City, New Jersey from Hurricane Gloria. (Wikipedia)

I’ve dealt with a few stressful forecasts in my career. There have been blizzards when I worked in Upstate New York. Hurricane Irene in 2011 had me considering telling my parents to evacuate the same home we shored up for Gloria. In 2012 came Sandy. I had many friends and family members back in Jersey and New York directly impacted by that storm. The lead-up to that storm was one of the most stressful I’ve dealt with, though now a fading second to Harvey. At the time I worked as a meteorologist for the energy trading arm of Deutsche Bank here in Houston. My boss was on a required two week leave, and the onus fell on me to prepare our New York City office for Sandy’s impacts. I remember conference calls, and giving a worst-case scenario forecast I didn’t really even grasp. Sandy was the storm that, as a passionate weather geek, I drew on a map as a kid that wasn’t ever supposed to happen. It was difficult to see the Jersey Shore, my homeland, so ravaged. But my life had brought me to Houston by then, so there was a buffer there to reduce the storm’s emotional impact. But it remained difficult to watch.

Life had indeed brought me and my wife to Houston. We moved here in 2012 after stops in Jacksonville, Southern California, and Upstate New York. Maybe it’s because I somehow grew up deep in Philadelphia Eagles territory as a Warren Moon and Houston Oilers fan (not kidding here at all, I have the 1990s-era Starter jacket to prove it), but I have always had an affinity for Houston. I had no family here, and the first time I visited was on a job interview in 2008. As a broadcast meteorologist in Upstate New York, I had decided that the route I wanted to steer my career toward involved the energy industry. After discussing it over a long period of time with my wife (then fiancée), we decided that Houston would be our goal. It took a few more years, but we arrived in 2012, a year or so after my wife’s brother moved here. My wife’s parents wouldn’t be far behind. Houston didn’t become a home. It became our home.

I grew up in the southern part of New Jersey, so we aligned with Philadelphia rather than New York City (think a little bit of the Dallas vs. Houston rivalry). And New York and northern Jersey basically view Philly as a younger sibling that isn’t necessarily fondly appreciated. Philly was always considered a little dirtier, a little flawed, and a lot smaller. And it was, but it never made Philly a bad city. So the area has an edge to it, a chip on its shoulder. It’s gritty. It’s tough. It has changed a lot in recent years, but it will always have that attitude. Houston is similar in a lot of ways. Houston is a world class city. It has flaws, it has blemishes, but it doesn’t necessarily hide them. You either accept Houston or you reject it. Either way, Houston’s gonna continue to Houston, and we really don’t care if you like it or not. And I adore it. Houston is a place where you can do big things if you’re willing to work hard enough. It’s a city where things get done. Problems are solved. And over the last couple of weeks, the bond I have with Houston has strengthened to a point where it’s virtually unbreakable. This isn’t where I live. This isn’t where I work. This is home, and it will always be.

Eric brought me on to help him out a couple years ago when he was still at the Houston Chronicle. As a former broadcast meteorologist and new media adopter, this venue is perfect for what I enjoy doing. To most of our readers, I’m the Friday forecast person and the one who occasionally posts stories about Houston’s weather history. My day job, yes my actual one, is to work as a forecast meteorologist for Cheniere Energy here in Houston. I owe them an enormous thank you for allowing me to continue doing this on the side. And they have been absolutely incredible to work for throughout this event. For Cheniere, I follow U.S. and global weather, as well as local weather that could impact our LNG export operations. Things like, you know, hurricanes. On August 14th, I included a note in my daily tropical outlook I send to folks at Cheniere during hurricane season. It read:

“Weather models have been hinting at Invest 91L being an issue since last week. The upper level pattern over North America would support a track that could bring a tropical system into the Gulf in about 9-10 days. So this has me taking notice, and we will need to watch this disturbance very closely over the next week and beyond. It’s worth noting that it’s still much too soon to think about specifics with this system. There are European ensemble (and other weather model) members that keep this from developing at all, take it north well to our east or keep it far south into Central America.”

That cluster of clouds did indeed become an “issue.” One of the toughest things about hurricane season is its duration, akin to running a marathon. You may see something emerge off Africa, and it will take 2-3 weeks before you’re done tracking it. You need mental and at times physical endurance to handle forecasting tropical systems. Here we were on August 14th discussing it, after watching it emerge off Africa on weather models a week prior. And here we are in early September, still talking about floodwaters from it. This storm has consumed a month of my life, and counting.

By the time we got to Monday, August 21st, the forecasts had evolved some. My tropical note read, “Regardless of the final landfall point, it’s likely that Harvey’s remnants will end up in South Texas this weekend, delivering several rounds of potentially heavy rainfall.” As the week progressed, writing the forecasts became more foreboding. My situation was unique in that our company has sites near Corpus Christi, Port Arthur, and we’re headquartered in Houston. For me it wasn’t just flooding, but it was a Category Four hurricane, a biblical flooding event, and more, that I needed to focus on. It involved our business, but it also involved people, like our Space City Weather readers, that were concerned about their family, their properties, and their safety. Eric was incredibly understanding of my situation and my limits on being able to contribute to our site early on in the storm, and I thank him for that.

(Department of Defense)

During Sandy, the physical distance from the Jersey Shore helped limit the emotional toll that making a forecast like that would have. With Harvey, there was no such buffer. Houston is home, and here I am creating a forecast that I know could potentially devastate this city, my city, our city, and change it forever. Weather models constantly indicated risks for 30, 40, or 50 inches of rain in high confidence fashion somewhere between Beaumont and Victoria. I couldn’t comprehend that amount of water in such a short time. How do you reconcile a patently absurd forecast with the reality that it’s probably going to verify? We see messages from people wondering if they should just leave. I get emails from co-workers, worried about losing their homes on the coast near Port Aransas. What do you tell people? How do you express this?

As the event unfolded it got harder and harder to do. Seeing pictures of devastation, getting text messages from family who live nowhere near a bayou and still took water into their home, getting messages from friends who are worried about water coming into their apartments. I came close to breaking down on Sunday morning, completely. I’ve never felt so heartsick and helpless in my life. Disasters which had, for all my life to this point, been mostly impersonal, finally became real, raw, and very personal. My wife gave me some advice that helped sustain me through the rest of the storm. You have to be like a doctor, giving a patient bad news. You don’t have to be steely and impersonal about it, but you have to be able to keep yourself strong enough to give them the information they need to help them get to the next point. And from Sunday onward, that was the only way I was able to keep myself together. Denise and I are truly fortunate. We did not take on water and our home is fine. I have survivor’s guilt because of this, and I realize how lucky we are. I’ve always been someone who tends to absorb other people’s problems. If you are feeling pain, then there’s a part of me that feels a little bit with you. It’s why I try not to ignore many questions from folks when I see them. There are people I know that are scared of storms or nervous about things, and I feel that, so I feel obligated to respond. But after Harvey, with so many hurting and as someone who had to deliver that message along with so many other meteorologists, I feel immense pain for our community.

It all has forced me to ask myself questions. I’ve always loved weather and been fascinated by the natural world. I like to try and deal with forecasts that are challenging and in situations where my forecast can be utilized to benefit a person or a business or a planner. It’s why I transitioned to energy from broadcasting. The challenges are significant, and the results of a bad forecast are very easy to see in a bottom line. I don’t want an easy problem. I want to solve big problems. And that’s always going to be who I am I guess. And I want to inform. It’s why I happily stayed on with Eric when he developed Space City Weather. I like taking complex information and turning it into something anyone can understand and do something with.

But do I still love weather? I guess so, but if we’re really being honest here, I don’t know right now. As a kid, I was scared to death of lightning. Lights on, hide under the covers, run to my parents’ bedroom, something. At some point that fear disappeared completely, and I grew to appreciate the stunning beauty and power of lightning. But between Memorial Day 2015, Tax Day 2016, and Harvey in 2017 (along with a few other significant flood events in between), I honestly think I’m not going to be able to sleep now when it’s raining. There’s no rain gentle enough that will allow me to drift off to sleep in peace. Why? Because it will make me worried. Worried for myself and my family? Maybe a little. But worried for Houstonians. For people who have been through this once or twice or even three times. And I know so many in this city will never be able to experience the soothing, relaxing, gentle sound of rain again either. And it saddens me. Maybe that “fear” of rain will disappear with time for Houstonians and myself too. I hope so. But I do wonder where my passion for weather goes from here.

When you love a place, yeah, you love it for the things in the community, but you love it for the people. Without the people, the things wouldn’t exist. The stories in the wake of Harvey of people helping, contributing, volunteering, they’re awesome. I mean, to a lot of us in Houston, we already knew that we live in an exceptionally caring community. But to see it on display in such an enormous way helped ease some of the heartache. It’s J.J. Watt, it’s Mattress Mack, but mostly it’s average Houstonians, Texans, and Americans who just knew what to do once the devastation was clear. We’re going to be okay. It’s not going to easy or fun, and a lot of people are going to need a lot of help for a long time. When friends asked me what they could do, I told them to contribute money to local Houston charities. But then I told them to think about coming down here in November or December. When the rest of the world has moved on, there are still going to be many Houstonians who need help. Memories and shock wear off over a period of time. I want others to remember the example Houston set in the wake of Harvey, and I want them to want to come down here and be a small part of it.

Eric and I will forge ahead on Space City Weather. The kind words and thank yous from readers have been overwhelming and a bit difficult to reconcile in the aftermath of this devastation. Houston is blessed to have one of the deepest meteorological benches in the country. There are a lot of talented meteorologists in this city, many providing valuable public information. For this reason, I’m humbled by those that have chosen us as their go-to source, and I intend to double down on what I can do to inform and educate our readers. I know Eric feels the same. There are going to be a lot of tough questions to ask after this event about the kind of future we want in Houston. And we are going to be involved in that conversation. We have to be. We both care too much for this city and region. Houston has proven to me time and again it is capable of being the greatest city in the world. The diversity of the people, the food, the culture, the ability to DO things…it’s amazing. But we have to be willing to put aside our differences, as we have so beautifully done since Harvey struck, and work toward a common end goal: Keep Houston a city that can sustain and thrive in the future, despite an occasional flood. We’re never going to prevent flooding in Houston, but we can work out better ways to plan for it, manage if, and live with it here. Previous Houstonians came up with innovative solutions to help keep the city growing and thriving, despite the occasional flood. Those solutions have become somewhat obsolete in the 2017 version of Houston. It is now time for a new generation of Houstonians to work out new solutions to this complex problem. And if Eric and I can keep that conversation going and progressing forward, then we will have contributed positively to the long-term growth and prosperity of Houston.

Much like Houston itself, this quasi-love letter to Houston is complicated. Choices have brought me here, and experiences have affirmed time and again that it was the right decision. I may not be a native Texan, but Houston is home. And despite everything we have been through in the last few years, there is no place on Earth I’d rather call home than Houston, Texas.

118 thoughts on “Matt: My Harvey story, our call to action for Houston

  1. Janet Covington

    And we’re glad you’re here, Matt. Thank you – this made me cry….in a good way for a change.

    – A Native Houstonian

      1. Glen

        Discovering your reports and now your heartfelt writing were a small but significant bright spot during this breathtaking last-week.

        Thank you for what you do.

    1. Mary Norman

      Ditto here. In August of 1960s and living in Louisiana our family’s experience with Hilda (among others) we will always remember. Thankfully little water in the house but busted windows, roof damage and no power for three weeks with a baby, no baby food or diapers (no disposable diapers at that time) and a damaged car in the carport. Our neighbors kept us going in the same way that neighbors are helping each other today. We also love Houston, its people, and know that whatever the challenges, like the phoenix, Houston will rise again, better than ever.

      There have been other ghastly storms, Camila comes to mind, but working together and helping each other we will pull through after

    2. Cleotilde santos

      Thankyuo for rent yuor help to support the people with all need someone in our life’s can be yes like a brother or yes like a friend or uracan y yes best friend yuo needed know wath god want to be in the face of this desastre but God love us and everything else is going to be Okinawa jesus name amén

    3. Sanjay

      You guys helped us so much through Harvey. We needed honest analysis without any drama and you gave it to us. Please dont stop.

    4. Jim Magnant

      I have to say, of all the love I have for your posts, the human ones revealing your heart are the ones I’ll long remember.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your story. It’s a completely unique perspective, one filled with exactly the same heroics we suddenly and unexpectedly witnessed all around.

      You both have a great future ahead of you. We read you because we trust you. What we could only sense before this email is now clear. We were right to do so.

      Jim Magnant
      League City, TX
      Former resident Bayou Chantilly, TX – 16 y.o. when Claudette pulled this crap in ’79. Deja vu all over again!

    5. Kathy Fountain Boss

      Thank you …I have forwarded your reports that I follow to everyone I know, even those NOT in Houston. Harvey spread out far and wide, and so many people need your good reports, with no drama. I’ve posted them on Facebook too. Again, thank you for all you do and smile….we will come to appreciate the sound of a gentle rain again.

  2. Blackhawks Fan

    I’ve been here 36 years since graduating college. I decided before Harvey that I’m not retiring here because I don’t want to deal with a hurricane when I’m 70 or 75 and with my nearest family 800+ miles away. Harvey showed that’s the right plan. So I’m here a maximum of ten more years and perhaps as short as 5 if an early retirement program hits (PICK ME! PICK ME! PICK ME!…). It’s been a great run here but it’s time to think about getting out and to where.

    1. lee

      I was born in Houston and I’ve lived here my whole life (turned 39 last month), and I while Houston will always be home, I can’t deny that over the past few years I’ve wondered how long I’ll be able to tough it out here. Harvey was bad enough that I’m finally, really-for-real thinking about relocating in the next decade. Unfortunately, my family and my wife’s family are all here, so pulling up stakes and moving is complicated and would lead to a lot of fighting. Plus, the idea of me being 1000 miles away and watching my 70+ year old parents potentially drowning in a flood makes me feel a tremendous amount of guilt.

      No choice is easy.

        1. Mike N.

          I’ve been wanting to relocate to the PacNW (insert rain jokes here..though Houston historically DOES get more rain y/y than Seattle…believe it or not), and this Harvey episode only reinforced that desire. Hopefully like you too within 5-10 years…

  3. Mike B

    You and Eric have been my go to weather information source for years. I’m attracted to it because of the no nonsense, no hype approach. The timely updates during the storm were reliable and accurate. Thanks for the great job you guys do!

  4. Mavis Fujii

    Thank you Matt for the open letter to all Houstonians. Eric and your work through this horrible devastation has been incredibly helpful, both practically and emotionally. Thank you both again for guiding us through this mess. Many blessings.

  5. C. Creed

    Living in southern California but having grown up in Beaumont, I have family and lots of friends there and in Houston. Being able to read your posts daily has been such a great help for me. And indeed, my family…as I passed on information from you to them when they could not access weather reports. Thank you…thank you. You are greatly appreciated!!!

  6. Robin

    Well said.

    I hope you keep your passion for meteorology. I’m not in the profession, but I’m a little in touch with your post-Harvey emotions. Falling asleep or waking up to the sound of rain used to be one of my favorite simple pleasures, especially after the 2011 drought. I don’t know if I’ll ever enjoy it again, but I sincerely hope so.

    And this site did and continues to matter to people like me.

    1. Lucie

      I had a very difficult time when it rained the other day, just the drops hitting my window woke me up. An airplane had flown over and in my mind, it was torrential rain, rain like I’ve never witnessed before and never likely will again, was coming through the window. Not what happened for real, I had relocated to a safer part of the house. My crappy aluminum framed condo windows held their ground. But my nerves certainly didn’t.

  7. Dorothy M Moore

    You’re not crazy. When we love something so much, and major issues come along, that love gets turned inside out. It makes us question everything. I believe that God can use things that happen like this, and make good come from it. For example, because of this storm, my husband just wanted to really invest in the children — he spent all week sleeping at night on the floor with them. It was a beautiful thing. I don’t know if that helps you, you’re certainly allowed to vent and I can just “listen” as a reader. But I guess I wanted to encourage you that what you’re dealing with as far as trauma and guilt — they are very real issues, and need to be dealt with/allowed to work themselves out tenderly. I found in our lives, if you look at them like a garden, the root of bitterness is very serious and stems easily from trauma, and it has to be meticulously taken up as we see it sprouting. Don’t let the trauma take your sleep, your love of storms, or your love of life in Houston. The best thing you can do is just deal with the trauma itself, and recognize that it’s a very human process, and I believe it’s one that God understands also. If you read about the story of Elijah in 1st Kings 19 he tells God he’s done, it’s all a mess, and he can’t see straight. And what does God do? He helps him rest and to eat food. I hope this helps. God bless you.

    1. Liz Hendler

      Great thoughts in this reply. You are still in a state of trauma, all of you in Houston, and need to take the best physical and emotional care of yourselves that you can, and give yourselves a big break in terms of what you expect of yourselves in other areas of your lives.

  8. Kelly

    I love this story, and I thank you for sharing it. I thank you for your candor and openness and mostly I thank you for a weather forecast that kept me sane while I was with my kids in Dallas, wondering how my husband was in our home in Houston and what would happen to him. (All safe, and survivors guilt is real.) I will continue to follow your posts and hope to be part of the many conversations to come. I’m not a native Texan either … and I’ve lived in both Dallas and Austin before Houston. Houston is home.

  9. Catherine Teague

    Loved this. Thanks for sharing with us, Matt. You and Eric are the voices I trust to tell it like it is, and you guys were amazing through the storm, though I could tell it was hard to deliver that kind of forecast as things just got worse. Thanks to you both for sticking with us throughout!

  10. Jenni Jett

    Matt,

    Thank you and Eric for keeping up with this blog during Harvey. It was the only thing that helped me keep it together during the storm. I don’t know if I can accurately convey the comfort it brought me and countless others, but it brought me comfort and peace of mind when I felt like the sky was falling and everything I’ve ever known would be washed away. Thank you for caring enough about Houston to give us the bad news without ever making us feel hopeless.

  11. Paulette

    Similar to your circumstances, while I was born in Michigan, I got to Houston as fast as I could. I don’t live there anymore, but my heart is there and all my exes live in Texas so I feel for them and all Texans who suffered losses because of the devastation wrought by Harvey. My thanks to you Matt and Eric and all others at Space City Weather for calming our souls and keeping us readers well informed. Stay away Irma! Just sayin’!

  12. Eileen Reed

    Dear Matt, this is such a moving and heartfelt story. Thank you for your effort and time in sharing it. I identify with so much of what you have said..both the fear, sadness and the respect and admiration for all of those who are helping so many in need. Thank you for staying the course and to you and Eric, we really have needed you throughout this nightmare and continue to do so. Blessings.

  13. Brian LeCompte

    Thank you Matt. Your patience and perseverance pulled us all through a long dark night. A lot of us dry-landers have survivor’s guilt. But you did your part, and in a way most of us couldn’t comprehend. Having to stay awake all night, analyze and synthesize data, guard your family and friends, and write meaningfully, is a task not too many can undertake. Some of us readers can’t stand to be alone (out of data) in times like this. Thanks for helping us making it through the night.

  14. Suzi

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and personal post. I can’t even begin to comprehend the stress that you and Eric were under from both a professional and personal perspective during Harvey. All I have to say is THANK YOU to you both for being such a calm voice throughout – I only relocated to Houston from Australia a week before Harvey and the whole thing terrified me but the posts on this page was what kept me sane.

  15. Deb

    I’m in south jersey girl married to South Philly guy, transplanted in Houston years ago. Although I’ve traveled frequently for work and moved around a lot, I always come back to the place that’s home in my heart, Houston Texas. Your story brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t be prouder of the city. Thank you so much for being part of our great Houston family!

  16. Fred

    Cannot overstate my appreciation for what you guys have done/are doing. Thanks for the insight into how this has affected you. Your wife gave you good advice. Doctors are charged with sometimes delivering bad news, but in an accessible way. They can’t quit medicine because of that, instead they continually work on perfecting their skills, both medical and communication. You’ll do the same. God Bless You All!!

  17. Brian Weatherall

    To extend your “doctor” analogy a bit further I’m sure I speak for all your readers “patients” here. This blog along with the daily HCFCD/COE briefings we could at least try to get a grip on what was happening. I would much prefer to know the bad news than not. I can at least prepare. You all helped provide a little peace and comfort in the face of a huge disaster. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

  18. Bobbiejean

    Well spoken Matt. I too can’t shake this fear even though it’s sunny outside. We’ll get thru this! Stronger together.

  19. Marc Mcleod

    Matt your passion for meteorology is infectious. Thank you for sticking with it and doing the best you can. All of us out here that rely on weather forecasts often crack jokes about the accuracy of the predictions we here or read but the truth is we also take great comfort in y’all being there and keeping an eye on things. Keep it up! 👍

  20. T Carroll

    <3 <3 <3 <3
    Much love to you and Eric for what you guys did for Houston during a very tragic event. You guys kept cool and level headed even when your own lives were washing away. You are definitely my go to weather guys from here on out!! I even tell my husband sometimes to hold on! Let me see what MY weather man says about upcoming weather!! lol

  21. LINDA S MERCER

    identify location in photo please.
    I see {Department of Defense} but am
    not able to set my compass …. is it HOUSTON??

  22. Judy Bee

    Survivor’s guilt: I also experienced this and asked what can I do to help? So I donated supplies I purchased for the storm, clothes, etc to help those hit heavily. You and Eric helped me by getting me to prepare early because you don’t sugar-coat or over-inflate the weather. So you helped me help others and you helped numerous Houstonians in this and many other ways. So, a deep, heartfelt thank you from all of us for your help. We each do what we can to help and your gift is calling the weather as you see it

  23. Tom aka m9777

    Great to know! Thanks for sharing your story.
    I live in far west Houston south of Kingsland between Greenhouse and Fry Rd. I measured 32.76 inches due to Harvey and another 11.67 inches during August. My August rainfall total is 44.43 inches. Surely that is some sort of record rainfall for August here. I’m and old (72) USAF weatherman who just enjoys tracking weather stats. I enjoy your postings very much. You are a complete pro!

  24. Rod Snyder

    It’s always important to reexamine our assumptions and not become hardened in our opinions beyond what new evidence suggests. I suspect that a lot of the things that we love about Houston are the same things that we are being criticized for in national newspapers headquartered in the Northeast. The reality is that neither completely unregulated growth nor excessive regulation is the answer. As far as building cities on the coast and on barrier islands, that ship has sailed. Hopefully we can take the criticism as being constructive and learn from it. I found myself wondering what would happen if 50 inches of rain fell on any city in 4 days. I suspect flooding would have occurred.

  25. Randy Rutherford

    Well said! Thank you for your honest and very personal opinion, I sincerely appreciate everything you do for me and my family. I have followed you and Eric for several years because of the area I live and the very real potential to flood that I have each time it rains for several days in a row. I have lived in my home for almost 15 years and can tell you from personal experience that I have to flood proof my home if we get 8″-12″ within a few days. So no matter how small a forecast you give me, I honestly watch each and every inch when we get into early spring, late october, late summer. God Bless You and Thank You again!

  26. Darrell Gerdes

    Matt–Thank you for the post and heartfelt message. Thank you for moving to Houston and working with Eric. I’m not sure any of us to can express to you exactly how much this Blog and your postings really mean to us.

    Eric got me through Rita and Ike without a breakdown. You and Eric got me through Harvey. And whatever happens with Irma, you both will bring us through it as well.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you from a 61 yo native Houstonian.

  27. Kristi

    Love hearing your story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Question – you mentioned the floods from 15 and 16. Why do you suppose some houses in the memorial area that flooded in those didn’t take in water this time? Did they close the floodgates in the reservoirs earlier this time so that the water we got early on was able to drain to the bayou quicker than the last couple floods?

    1. Matt Lanza

      Thanks for the kind words. Tough to reply to all, but your comment underscores a point here. No two floods are the same. Even if it floods similarly in one place, the overall big picture is different. So I used to cringe when people would say, “We didn’t flood in Allison.” That doesn’t make you invincible. Flooding is a thorny problem and it’s related to how much rain falls, how fast, for how long, where, and what’s it falling on, and then unknowns like the reservoirs, etc. And those equations are different in every single storm. So I think one thing Eric and I need to really do is sort of try and educate (? probably too strong a word here)…but there’s a lot that people don’t understand about flooding and the whys and hows. We need to explain that. The more informed you are, the better prepared you can be when it comes time for a storm or time to research a property, etc. Thanks for helping bring that point out.

      1. Steve B

        I agree. If it had rained 2″ more on 8/27 Lakemont would have flooded also, as well as all the other subdivisions upstream from us. If we were to get 20″ in one day, we will flood. As it was, I got 35″, but spread over F, S, S M and T. There were enough breaks to allow water to recede, even a little bit helped.

  28. Estaban

    I grew up in Philly and like you bounced around a bit before ending up in the Houston area. It was the right choice. In fact I had an opportunity to move here earlier than I actually did and I regret not having done so.

    We left when Rita came and did the same for Ike. Both times the damage to our home was minor.

    This time we stayed. I probably should have left but the roads were impassable by the time I decided it was time to go. It was stressful watching the water level jumping up but luckily our home did not flood. Unfortunately far too many of my neighbors were not as lucky. I’m in Galveston County. A college buddy who lives in Katy had his home flooded. It is difficult for our friends in the Northeast to grasp how big the Houston area is and how much of it flooded.

    I don’t think there is any political will to do anything about the area wide need for flood planning and hurricane surge protection. Ike was a long time ago politically and nothing has been done.

    I might pull up stakes when I retire. But almost everywhere has issues. I remember seeing a map about natural disasters. The place that had the fewest was a sliver of land along the New Mexico / Arizona border. No matter where you live, there is always the danger of some sort of natural disaster.

  29. John Clarke

    Thank you for making my day and for taking time to write such an eloquent piece. I too am from Philadelphia and spent my summers on the Jersey shore, Ocean City, NJ to be precise.

    I feel exactly about Houston as you do. It is the City that I have come to love and it pains me to see such destruction and so many people devastated by this catastrophe.

    We will come back better than before but we all need to realize the hard work and patience with one another that it is going to take.

    Thanks for all you do to keep us informed!

  30. Helen Stevison

    Thank you so very much. My daughter sent your link to me and your posts were the voice of reason, proved over and over again. What a blessing. Houston is very fortunate to have you. I think you’ve earned your ” native” wings by now. May God bless you and what y’all do for us.

  31. Lindsey G.

    Thank you for sharing your story. My husband introduced me to this blog and it did help to read it during Hurricane Harvey. You both told it like it was and it helped calm us and feel less stress in everything that was going on. Thank you again!

  32. Rach

    This was a beautiful read from the perspective of the news bearer. We feel your pain, Matt. My apartment was flooded too and we were watching the water rise all Saturday night, seep into our house. I too can never relax with the sound of rain. However, it was your (you and Eric, both) diligent efforts and reliable advice that we looked forward to in our time of need. Your forecast even though grim were humane and we could really feel the stress you both went through. I hope you continue this service to our society even though its hard at times.

  33. Flypusher

    I moved to Houston back in ’85 to start graduate school, with some trepidations. But the city has grown on me. I’m officially living in one of the ‘burbs, but my work and most of my play has me in Houston proper almost daily. I say that I’m from the Houston metro region. I am proud of all the people pitching in, and I so badly hope that this is the start of realistic discussion, followed by action, of how we adapt to our new normal.

    Matt and Eric, you rock!

  34. Angie

    Matt and Eric – I want to thank you so much for your dedication throughout Harvey. I have one question that I’ve been wondering since last Sunday … knowing the forecast and possible devastation, why didn’t you all evacuate? It was your Friday afternoon forecast that convinced me to leave that evening and I’m so glad I did. What made you stay and if you were to do it again, would you still make the same decision?

  35. MTinCypress

    I feel ya man….I felt so bad stuck in my house due to surrounding water and not being able to get out to help anyone. We poured ourselves into the recovery efforts this weekend. Me and my group of friends helped friends, neighbors and strangers clear out houses and demo sheetrock and pull out carpets. Personally I spent about 30 hrs this weekend and I know some of my friends spent even longer doing the same. Its the least we can do to help our fellow citizens out in this time of extreme need.

  36. Greg

    Thanks for this great timeline and transparency of your view. Harvey is my families second disaster Katrina took our home and business in Gulfport MS. We relocated to Houston and have called this our home every since.

  37. Patricia Gunnells

    Thank you so much for sharing! I read Space City Houston constantly during Harvey. It was so helpful, easy to understand and comforting. All your hard work is appreciated!

  38. Shirley S

    I read your article with great interest. I am 5000 miles away in Scotland but my daughter, her husband and three children moved to Houston over ten years ago, a year before Hurricane Ike. My daughter later described that as an exhilarating experience because with a generator at hand and only three days without power, they were able to help out a good number of people and became part of the Houston Community. Their oldest daughter is severely disabled and I had a couple of bad nights worrying about how she could be rescued. Fortunately their house did not flood but my daughter has found Harvey a debilitating experience. I told a relative that I,thought she is suffering from survivors guilt, a phrase you use. So many of her friends have had their properties flooded. In our visit over the years we have come to know a number of them and feel deeply for them. Concern and worry over the past week has made me unwell. This devastation is so much worse than post Ike but hope and pray Houstonians can pick themselves up and rebuild their special city.

    1. SEAN

      I moved back to Houston a year and a half ago. I went to high school here. I felt the survivor’s guilt. My outlet was volunteering. I cleaned up some houses yesterday with a local church group. My wife is taking care of children during the day so the parents can do similar demo work. We give money. We will be going out seeking those that need a hot meal.

      Its all you can do. You have to see you being spared as a blessing, but you must acknowledge that the blessing has a purpose. The purpose is for others. We seek to give and serve to our ability and capability. We give until it hurts. Perhaps it is in giving up something financially for a while. Perhaps it is lacking the recreation time. In my case now, my muscles ache terribly.

      I swear, I think it is cleansing in some way. I feel better than I have since the storm began. I might not have felt this good in a long time.

      Perhaps this storm is giving us something in return for the pain and suffering. Purpose.

  39. Barbara

    So many people don’t “get” Houston; it’s nice to hear from a kindred spirit who understands and loves its
    unique energy and attitude.
    Many thanks for keeping me company on a wet trip through hell.

  40. A. Lopez

    I had several moments in the last week that forever will be etched in my mind:

    8/26 – My neighbor and I furiously trying to sweep water to the front yard from our side yards after midnight. The only word I can think of to describe such rain was “relentless”- it just kept coming. His yard was in worse shape than mine and it was getting close to going in his house, and he and his wife are expecting their first child in a few weeks. As I sat there staring into nothingness in the pouring rain, he asked me, “what should we do now”? I said the only thing we could do at that point, “pray”. But you know the rain eventually did stop and water did not get into either of our houses. We are fortunate and blessed and need to help those that were.

    8/29- Seeing Memorial Drive east of Beltway 8 and the Beltway (lake) just south of I-10. After much of the rain had subsided- getting in my truck to explore where I could help. Then I found standing water on Memorial Drive and went immediately home to get my waders and kayak. There are many things on this day:
    1) kayaking down Memorial Drive
    2) being able to assist a couple of families to evacuate- the look in their eyes/faces when they pondered and came to the decision that it was time to leave their home
    3) the smiles on the kids’ faces as we walked them out of their complex on my kayak. Their joy of just riding on the boat was a sight to see.
    4) working out there with first responders and ordinary folks (some of who came from out of town) was so beautiful
    5) seeing a bird struggling in the water and putting it in my lap. I expected it to fly off, but instead it just rested for quite some time on my lap. I found higher ground and was able to place it there.

    8/31- getting a call from one of the neighbors I helped previously and telling me there was an emergency rescue in that same townhome complex. I immediately got loaded up and found the young man who needed help. Two things from this day:
    1) As I kayaked into the complex I remember just how quiet it was in there. Mostly everyone had left and the only sound I could hear was me paddling. I can only imagine how quiet it was at night for those folks that didn’t evacuate.
    2) The young gentlemen I helped get out that day- the look of helplessness on his face. He had stayed with 3 feet of water in his first floor and with the power on. He really didn’t have a clue what Houston looked like a half mile from his house- for all he knew all around him was flooded as well (it wasn’t- there was dry land not far from him). The great thing was that he got instant confidence when I showed up.

    And that is what we need to get us through all this- each other and to keep our focus on heaven above.

  41. BMG

    Matt it’s tough when you’ve loved weather for so long. I’m no meteorologist, but have been a weather “nerd” for decades. I had posters with could formations and their names on my wall as a child. I tracked hurricanes on tracking maps every year as a kid.

    In 1992 my wife and I were in the infamous Harris County tornado outbreak and hid in a bathroom with our dog as an F-4 tore up Channelview (I never wanted to be THAT close to extreme weather). It took years before I could sleep through a thunderstorm again. Even now I’m a bit wary of them at night.

    Time will march on, and your passion will likely remain, and maybe even grow stronger as mine has since 92. I wish you well however it turns out. Thanks for sharing and for the work you and Eric do.

  42. Jaime

    I am also originally from South Jersey! Ocean City! My husband and I moved to Houston in 2014 for an oilfield services company. Thank you so much for everything you do. Your forecasts helped us through this storm and gave comfort when so much was unknown.

  43. Zed

    The responses post-Harvey by the two esteemed bloggers have been totally keeping it real (“100”).

    They have been a pilot light of weather observers in lighting the way of awareness for the general public.

    Their measured commentary on the passing weather phenomena has been hailed (pun not intended) time and time again.

    Many of us who follow Space City Weather have personally witnessed the resiliency of our core community values when the outpouring of concern from locally and beyond roared in.

    We now know ‘the rest of the story’ as it pertains to Eric and Matt. The concerns they had while hunkered down during the past maelstrom. Trying to find the balance in keeping it real and the deluge of concerns that came into the Facebook/blog venues.

    Raising the goblet of your favorite beverage in their honor, and saluting those who came in and helped answer some of the unanswered questions (airport yea/neigh, car journey doable/hold for the duration, …).

    #HoustonStrong
    #WeAreStrongerTogether

  44. Louise R.

    Hugs to you and Eric! Who knew that a mere storm could make us quake at the sound of raindrops? This will fade with time. Meanwhile, thank you for your straightforward blogs that served as tools to help us make decisions. Harvey was one very fast storm and second guessing decisions serves no one. Houston will come back! I bet for the rest of this hurricane season and for many to come, all of us will be well prepared.

  45. Julia Z.

    My family too was very fortunate to have sustained no damage and we never even lost power. I too have survivors guilt and haven’t slept without nightmares and some insomnia since the whole thing started. It made it worse that my husband was out of state working so I was alone with our 4 daughters praying I was making the right decision to wait it out. Your forecasts helped me keep my sanity. I saw way too many negative comments and stories on Facebook and the media during the storm. When someone told me about your forecasts I was relieved. I am now and will always be a faithful follower. Thank you for sticking to the facts and keeping the drama out.

  46. Barbara

    Matt – my dad was born & raised in South Philly. His sister and brother-in-law, my aunt & uncle, had a restaurant/boat rental/bait shop called Dad’s Place on the Jersey shore in Cape May Courthouse.

    I’m a native Houstonian, born in Memorial Downtown (which was razed many years ago, of course) and have only lived 18 months out of it (in Austin attending The University for grad school). I feel as though we could be related, the way you talk about Philly and the Jersey shore and about my beloved Houston.

    I discovered Eric’s and your weather posts during Harvey when someone shared one of your posts on Facebook. I subscribed and shared every post after that with all of my friends in and out of Houston. I thought even if folks didn’t have power, they might have a way to keep their mobile phones operational and be on Facebook communicating with friends and family. And y’all’s weather posts were the best of the best. I had more compliments about y’all’s easily-understood, hype-free posts than anything else I’ve ever shared. I’ll be keeping up with the weather with y’all from now on.

    I’ve been through Carla, Alicia, Allison, Ike, and now Harvey, and have thankfully come through all of them pretty much unscathed. But I felt that survivor’s guilt this time – it weighed on me like a pile of boulders. I used to LOVE thunderstorms, both the sound and the sight of them. And, like you, I’m not sure if I will ever feel the same way about them again. And these things make me feel a kinship to you as well.

    To both you and Eric – please keep up the stellar work you do on this site – and I hope and pray that you never lose your love of weather and that you can one day drift off to sleep to the sound of a gentle rain. Blessings on us all as we forge forward together!

  47. Joy Jackson

    Thank so much for showing us your heart. I understand how you feel as a transplant myself. Like you, I consider Texas home after living here for over 32 years, and Houston my adopted hometown. You and Matt provide an invaliable service to so many if us and I thank you for your tireless work. I read every post and depend on you to tell me what I need to know and how to plan my days. I am praying for you that you will come to terms with Harvey and have peace. Once again, thank you and fight the good fight.

  48. Stephen Blyskal

    Thank you for your heartfelt story. We appreciate the forecasts we received during the storm. They were a good counterpoint to the Hoopla of the Weather Channel and the Oh My Gosh! of the local news channels. We (my ex, my current spouse and I, my daughter and my stepdaughter and her family) survived the tornado blitzkrieg Friday and the Sunday night flooding with no damage, and we are very thankful for that. As others have mentioned, maybe now is a good time to leave. Colorado is calling and we don’t have that many more years left to climb mountains and explore real geology. My stepdaughter and her husband just want out period. After surviving “the big one” in Japan, and now Harvey, they want to go someplace where the disasters aren’t so overwhelming. On the good side, homes in our subdivision should sell better since we took on no water.
    Thanks again and I look forward to being a dedicated reader as long as I am in Houston.

  49. Jenny Moss

    Thank you, Matt, for you and Eric leading us through this terrible past week.

    So much of what you said resonates: your thoughts about Houston and being a Houstonian, survivor’s guilt, the sound of rain eliciting new feelings, and real concern about future flooding issues for the city.

    Hopefully, we won’t have another event like Harvey, but we will continue to flood. We have to do something.

  50. Sean

    The capture so much of what I’ve felt since the storm. Harvey was a bastard that we will be experiencing for a long time. Those of us that stayed dry, we are lucky and blessed. But I am right there with you: I feel incredible survivor’s guilt. Why was I so lucky? How am I so lucky? Everything is wrong now. So many aren’t in my shoes. I can see the pain in their eyes at work today.

    I think I began to find the answer, for me at least, just yesterday. I went to a local church (A New Hope off 288, if you are curious) and joined roughly 300 volunteers. We broke up into a dozen teams to take care of homes in the area. Our team took care of two homes almost entirely. We helped out as much as the owner was willing on a couple more. They couldn’t let go of the things ruined in the water. We can’t make them do what needs to be done, but we will help them do what they can.

    I made some lives better. I saw people that were overwhelmed, no longer from the size of the problem, but seeing an end come. They were now able to let their home dry.

    I haven’t felt so good in a long time. I can’t wait to do it again.

    My wife saw it too. She decided to volunteer with her talents. Demo work isn’t her thing. She’d likely hurt herself or someone with a hammer. But she found a way to serve. She will likely be watching hosts of kids in an ad hoc daycare while the parents do demo work.

    I think the answer to survivor’s guilt is serving. It is purpose. It is doing whatever small thing you can to bring things back the way it was. Maybe it is a plate of cookies for a neighbor as they gut their house. Maybe it is a box of masks for a team knocking out dry wall. Heck, maybe it is just lending some tools to a neighbor.

    All I know is that I now feel like a part of a city and community. This place will be bigger and better than ever.

  51. Sandie

    Matt and Eric,

    You are my heroes. Thank you so much for the great, drama free forecasts you provided during Harvey. I’ve shared your site with all my acquaintances here in Houston. Like you … I love this city and the devastation hurts. All we can do is help each other through this. You both were instrumental in keeping me fairly calm during this, my first hurricane experience. I can’t thank you both enough for your dedication and the personal sacrifices you both made to keep us so well informed. You’re the best.

  52. Matt Lanza

    I just want to thank everyone for the kind words. I meant what I wrote, and I am glad it resonated with some folks. Let us forge ahead together.

    PS: It’s so awesome to hear from so many South Jersey folks here! I’m glad I’m not alone. 🙂

  53. Sara O'Dell

    Thank you for this note. Thank you for this website. During the storm I got sick watching the news, I just couldn’t do it too much hype. So I turned everything off, a friend recommended your site to me and I was hooked. Good information, honest information, but firm and straight. No beating around the bush. I told my out of state family and friends to only speak to me about weather after reading this site. You guys did a good thing during a hard time. Hard doesn’t mean bad. You provided a much needed service to the public, thank you.

  54. Jim

    Thank you Matt a very heartfelt message. I was living in La Marque when Hurricane Carla came on shore at Port o’connor. I think Galveson had a 20 + ft storm surge. Tornadoes may have done the most damage. All these years of living in Houston (46) I knew most people just did not appreciate the devastation of a really big hurricane. Nothing can top Harvey except maybe a category 5 coming on shore west of Galveston and going north. It could happen. I was not flooded with Harvey but have seen the flood devastation in my area and know I could still see what others have seen. I once considered where could I live and never experience weather trauma and concluded no place is immune. Helping others in time of need is what we were created to do and I am glad I can help. Hope you continue such outstanding service. You and Eric are right there with Leon Hale a wonderful read.

  55. Darin & Hali Coble

    Matt & Eric- We learned about your service on day two of the rains. To be honest, we were worried enough before the storms so am embarrassed to say we are a little glad we didn’t know about y’all before then.

    That being said, my wife (Hali) and I have begun daily readers. Amazing work by both of you throughout this disaster.

    Thanks for keeping Houston ‘HOUSTON’. The service you all provided is equal to that of what JJ Watt and Mattess Mack in mour eyes. You got us through it.

    Thanks!

    Keep up the great work and we’ll keep reading.

  56. LizMD

    As a physician- great analogy, and you (and your wife) are right– similar situation to that of physician delivering bad news. Hope you can stomach it to keep going, and please know that you are providing an incredibly valuable service to the community. Thank you for what you and Eric do. Houston appreciates you.

  57. Faby

    Matt, your post make me cry. Thank you for all you do. This whole experience has been surreal. I’m glad your house didn’t flood. Hopefully your love for weather will return bigger than ever. Keep up the great work. Many of us are counting on you and Eric. May God bless you all.

  58. Mary Clancy

    Thank you Matt. I am so glad you made your home in Houston and, with Eric, made some sense out of the insanity of the last weeks. You both absolutely succeed at putting complex, scary, information in plain beautiful prose.

  59. Sallie Watts

    What a beautiful message! Thanks for all you did during the storm. I’ve been a Houstonian since 1955 & gone through Carla which was nothing like this! Now donating dollars, prayers & calling church members to see if they are in need is what I’m able to do at age 85.. But my son, daughter-in-law & grown grandkids have made me proud in their volunteer efforts helping clear out debris, serving food to evacuees besides giving donations. You are so right that Nov. & Dec. we’ll still need help! Pass the word!!

  60. Kristin Falce

    Like so many other commenters, your article made me cry. And then when I tried to explain to my husband why I was crying, I started crying harder. Beautifully written and especially moving to me because you explained how I feel about this wonderful city too. I have lived here all my life, and I love Houston. I want to thank you for your service to our community and our home.

  61. Patrick

    Thank you Matt.
    I’m originally from Corpus Christi (where I went through several big storms as a kid), and I’ve always said I would live anywhere in Texas except Houston. Well, we’ve been here now almost 10 years, and I’m proud to call it home. Glad to have you and Eric as neighbors and sure-footed weather advisers.
    Best to you both.

  62. Lori

    I’ve never commented on one of your posts here but I have to with this one. Please keep on doing what you’re doing. Just keep on keeping on. It’s what we all do as Houstonians, as Texans, and as Americans. Don’t leave us. Please. I love you both and feel comfort in your forecasts whether they’re good or bad. Get high and stay dry! 😀

  63. Katherine

    Houston love. To you, your wife, your family, your weather wisdom and marathon.

    I pray the responses to your open letter are like the smiling, cheering, water cup weilding strangers at the midway point. Somewhere along the welcoming and winding Allen Parkway.

    God bless your work. Your calling. Your storytelling.

    From,
    Your fellow Houstonians

  64. Shelly

    Thank you for sharing your story, Matt. I was extremely grateful for the thoughtful, caring, non-dramatized forecasting you and Eric faithfully provided through Harvey. Reading my weather reports from you instead of listening or watching weather on TV helped preserve my sanity and calm. I recommended your work to many others who said the same. The toll on you and Eric was obviously enormous. The difference you made to me and others was likewise great.

    Like you I feel even more rooted in my city after all we have been through and how Houstonians have come together in response. This city’s spirit and heart are incredible, and you are part of that. You belong here. Thank you for your part in making Houston what we are.

  65. Cher

    Great article and writing! Thank you for your work! As a native Houstonian, I am so very proud of our community, city and state! Harvey was a bad storm but it brought out the best in people and united us as the strong Texas family that we truly are. We are brothers and sisters coming together to help one another. Human”kind” and man”kind” is what life’s all about. I love the diversity in Houston which is one of our city’s best asset. I pray that we can be an example to all that love and kindness always wins even during the roughest of times. Thank you to all those from out of state for your wonderful help and support! We are most grateful and will never forget. God Bless the world, the United States, and Texas! Texas proud and grateful!

  66. Stephen

    From the bottom of my heart thank you. Yes I flooded , yes I left by boat , but thru it all you and Eric gave me peace. No hype , no bs, just the facts. God bless you both

  67. Christi

    Thank you so much Matt, this was a beautiful story. We are so lucky to have you and Eric in Houston! Thank you for everything you do.

  68. Chris Doyle

    I’m an older met, very near the end of my career (got kicked upstairs a long time ago). Like you, I was fascinated with weather from the day I could toddle over to a window. The transition from “wow” to “oh no!” only started happening the on few occasions when my family were at the direct effect of high impact weather. Once we become vulnerable to the very thing that rivets our attention, then we really start to appreciate the human impact and consequences of severe storms. It probably makes us much better forecasters, but the loss of innocence, for me, has always felt like a high, if inevitable, price to pay.

  69. Jim R

    Thank you Matt (and Eric)! Well said. You both are not only exceptional meteorologists, you are fine, talented writers as well!
    It is good to know that you have some roots from NJ, Matt. I just can’t help it to post this question: is it possible for that amount of Harvey-precipitation, to fall in the northeast cost in the form of snow?

  70. Mary Jo Sminkey

    Wow, I have to say if you ever wanted to change careers, you clearly have could make it as a writer, to be able to so beautifully open up a window onto your heart like this and speak with such passion for the city and what this disaster means in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen so well described anywhere else, particularly for those of us around the country that have no had to experience something like this first hand. This is not an easy thing by any means to do but thank you so much for sharing such intimate thoughts… and I do hope you continue to do the excellent job that you are doing.

  71. Richard Price

    A humble suggestion: make your case on flooding without reference to climate change.
    Rationale: many in the Houston metroplex believe that climate change (formerly known as “global warming”) is a Democratic Party bogey man and will resist any practical flood management solutions that are designed, even in part, to respond to it. I believe (at least am hopeful) that you can make a solid case for changes in infrastructure and management through education on flood engineering and meteorology (including weather patterns, multi-decadal or otherwise).

    1. Mary Jo Sminkey

      Considering that he doesn’t once mention climate change at all in this article and can’t find it mentioned elsewhere on the site, it’s curious you would even bring this up. And the problem is that once you allow for science denial on one topic, it becomes acceptable for everything else. Which has been why alarms that have been sounded for years regarding the progress and type of development in the Houston area in regards to making flooding worse, as well as calls for building the necessary infrastructure improvements to handle large storms have pretty much been ignored by those in power….and that ultimately cater to business interests, not those of the people, especially the ones most affected. Whether the size of this disaster will finally result in some real changes will remain to be seen, but in the end it’s all of us taxpayers across the country that end up paying the bulk of the cost, not the ones that created the situation in the first place, so resistance to those improvements that are really needed at a local level will continue on par…and similarly in other areas that are at risk. The current political environment has been manufactured to keep the majority of us divided on issues that ultimately have little effect on our lives so that the power resides elsewhere in terms of what really gets done (or not). We also need to address the insurance issue that so often makes flood insurance only available to middle and upper class families that can afford it and leave the poor (who can least absorb such losses) at far higher risk…but again, there simply is no constituency with less power to make changes to help themselves so it’s not likely to change in my lifetime. https://www.texastribune.org/boomtown-floodtown/

      1. Richard Price

        My suggestion was:
        *not intended as a correction to Eric and/or Matt for raising climate change, but more as a possible caution as others do raise it;
        *a tactical, practical approach in our political environment, not intended to take any position in support or opposition to climate change;
        *made in hopes of the kinds of changes you (we all) want to see.

        BTW, thanks posting a link to the Texas Tribune article. I had previously read it and hope others find it helpful in understanding the practical issues we face.

  72. Karen

    Adding my thank you to the masses. Your site kept my family and our friends informed and calm throughout the event. You gave me an understanding I could turn around to my kids and family out of state that it would be bad, bad, bad, but we were prepared. You gave us confidence that we’d ride out what came our way because all of Houston was here together, all of Houston was watching and waiting for what would happen and would do what needed to be done. Your writing prevented fear. You prevented panic. You prevented needless driving about in dangerous situations – and likely lives were saved as a result.

    I’ll be back to follow your thoughts on Irma, and the rest, I’ve come to think of you as my “foul-weather friend”.

  73. Ujwala

    Very well written and touching. I moved to Houston just few weeks ago from the city of Bangalore, India, predominantly a safe city from natural disasters. We had only heard of Hurricane and this was our first experience of any sort. I was shaken and so was my family. Continuous buzzing alerts of Tornadoes, flooding on the phone gave us sleepless nights. Among everything that we read and heard on the media, space city weather updates were by far the best and realistic. Thank you for helping us sail through this hell of an experience safely!
    Love – Uj

  74. Jack G

    Having discovered this blog & reading this post, from the United Kingdom, our isolated island on the other side of the Atlantic, reminds me of how lucky we are to not experience these sort of weather events. It also reminds me how resourceful & caring people can be, that they devote their time (and risk their safety) to provide updates to those who aren’t being served by their government or media. Lacking in today’s form of mainstream news are organisations who’s main priority is to inform rather than entertain. Keep it up. Seeing the spirit of Texans willingness to help is inspiring. J

  75. Teresa

    The fear of rain will indeed subside. It will happen over time, though. After the Wimberley flood here two years ago, I too worried that I would never love the rain again, and that it would always be accompanied by fear. Now I again enjoy a gentle rain. We’re just as overjoyed as we always were when it starts raining, or when a (normal) thunderstorm approaches. However, I definitely feel a wariness and go on high alert when the rain is really pull-off-the-road, super-intense (CTX “rain bombs”, surprisingly common here ), or when heavy rains go on too long. A sort of hyper-vigilance that was not there before the awful flood in our county. I don’t think that will ever go away. While you’ll not look at weather the same way again, I think your interest will remain; and the fears around more normal rain will fade away as the trauma recedes further and further into the past.

  76. Jill

    Thanks Matt. I’m coming home for the holidays and already thought “I should probably plan to stay longer because they’ll still need help.” Your beautiful post confirmed. Happy to have you as a Houstonian and thank you for all of your hard work.

  77. Tom M

    Matt and Eric, thanks probably doesn’t suffice to express the enormous gratitude I feel to you guys after experiencing Harvey. We, as Houston, have been pummeled and sent reeling. But we are still here and your forecasts, dire as they were at timed helped sustain many folks through the storm. You all were a sane, concerned voice in what was an insane experience. Was it Kipling that wrote “…if you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs…” Yeah, you both have proven in spades that you can. Not without effort and difficulty but YES!!! Your abilities were challenged because Harvey came knocking at YOUR door and became the obnoxious, uninvited party crasher that would not leave.
    It’s no wonder you ponder what’s next…do I stay or do I go? A retired, high ranking command pilot and very close friend gave me some sage advise when I faced some personal challenges during the storm…”sometimes you just got to fly the plane”. A retrospective period, digesting this experience is appropriate and necessary. We all need to do that. I think you will return stronger. The return may not be quick and no one says it needs to be. But, your personal note confirmed what your and Eric’s posts have revealed through the past months…this thing called weather is in your DNA. You guys are gifted and passionate and your work through the storm, I believe, saved lives. This was your Apollo 13. Well done gentlemen, I don’t think you can ask for better than that.

  78. kmk

    genuine & heart-felt. you call my hometown your home. you love it too. many non-houstonians, and even texans – some born & raised – don’t understand or appreciate houston. i’m born & raised with family & dear childhood friends here. my parents grew up here … fell in love here. my grandfather left his imprint on this city, shaping the structures & architecture, even building what others thought couldn’t be done that still stands today as a wonder and a landmark. that building became refuge to thousands of katrina evacuees & survivors. a gesture of our city’s heart & continued kindness, of which there were countless during harvey and still. with many more to follow. many more before these. work took me away from texas some years ago. watching my loved ones go thru harvey from 1000 miles away was just as emotionally draining as i think it was for them. both heart wrenching & heartbreaking. however, i’ve never been more proud to be a houstonian & a texan as watching the countless acts of selflessness & kindness to all … for all. your spacecityweather.com was our collective go-to source. thank you for your refreshing style of forecasting & delivery, your raw emotion & love of this great city. #spacecityweatherornothing

  79. Barbara B

    Thank you for your honesty, Matt. This storm has been traumatic in so many ways. Sometimes doesn’t understand my anxiety. I pray I can help others and find a way to feel safe again when storms are forecast and tornado warnings go off and the water rises in the streets.

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