Tropical Storm Allison, 10 Years Later: Where Were You?

Categories: Weather

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Ten years ago today it began. A Friday that didn't seem to hold any particular weather interest, maybe some rain, and then -- if you were in the wrong spot -- a rain to end all rains, it seems.

Portions of Houston flooded like never before; other parts of the area didn't get hit much harder than a typical summer system might deliver.

The Texas Medical Center flooded, as did Jones Hall; highways near downtown turned into 15-feet-deep lagoons, billions of dollars in property was lost.

Our house was flooded out in a process that was in parts utterly boring, scary and funny. (We recounted the tale here, in "Wading For Godot.")

A lot of Houstonians have their own story, of course. We asked and you delivered. Feel free to add your own to the comments.

Nancy Martinez
I was at Edwards Marquee off I-10 and Silber watching Pearl Harbor. When the movie ended we left through the back exit door and ran through the rain to get to the truck. As were trying to exit the parking lot around midnight when then noticed we couldn't go anywhere because the feeders were flooded.

We spent the night stranded in the parking lot with several others until 8 a.m. Worst part, I had to pee all night and couldn't go nowhere thinking the movie theatre was closed. Come to find out people who attended later functions just stayed in the theatre watching movies. Cars were parked on the overpasses and people were walking and watching. And here we thought it was simple rain that was passing through...

Ariya McGrew
I was out at Bar Houston with a coworker. We were mad that our other friends had bailed (we kept saying that it was only rain and it always rains in Houston). I had to go home early...so I was lucky because other people we knew who went out later got stuck. Fortunately for me I lived on the 3rd floor. So those of is who weren't flooded helped others who weren't so fortunate.

Jeff Balke
The morning after Allison had done the bulk of its damage, my grandparents -- both in their 90s -- called to ask me for my help in cleaning up their water-logged home. They had lived in the Timbergrove Manor subdivision since the mid 1950s without a single drop of flood water entering their house; during Allison, they got 18 inches courtesy of White Oak Bayou. I only lived a few blocks away in the Heights, but couldn't any closer than about six blocks away driving.

I waded in that direction as I watched water hit the 11th Street bridge and shoot 20 feet in the air like a geyser. I made it about two blocks down T.C. Jester, felt a fairly sturdy current swirling around me in the waist-deep water and realized that, unlike the feelings of my Klingon counterparts, today was NOT a good day to die. A couple hours later, I drove my truck down the esplanade, avoiding a horse that had broken loose from its pen, and made it to hours' worth of stripping damp carpet and tearing out sheetrock.

J.p. Hamilton
Crazy night. I saw people riding jet ski's down Richmond. I always regretted not doing a cannonball off of the Kirby overpass that night. Never get another chance for that. Will never forgot all of the cars completely underwater with their headlights still on. Eerie and beautiful.


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Layla
Layla

I flew in to Hobby from Chicago that night and somehow made it alive to my home in Montrose, it was one of those I have no idea where I am going and how I am going to get there as it seemed each intersection or road I approached was either flooded, flooding, closed, etc., I could not repeat that route or describe it to any one it was one of those strange occurances where you know you are not alone in the universe and there is a power greater than yourself at work cause this should not be happening...hunkered down in Montrose the remainder of the storm with only saturated carpets to cope with, highly fortunate, still trying to understand how I made it from Hobby to Montrose in a little Mazda 626, why I would try (ok I was 10 years younger) and what a God awful disaster this thing was...

Ms. Pants
Ms. Pants

I was at the Richmond Arms watching the NBA Playoffs.  (Lakers vs. 7Sixers)  If you're ever going to get stuck somewhere, I highly recommend a bar with a kitchen. 

Richard Doll
Richard Doll

I saw the prediction for the flood when I read Poor Richard's Almanac, and was smart enough to build an Ark.  While I failed to collect two of every animal, I did manage to collect two of every bottle of booze, except for Malibu Rum (Craig, my sympathies my man).  I very nearly ran out of cigs, but the booze held out.  Crazy times, however my fortuitous planning got me through with nothing more negative than a hang over and an extra Ark.  By the way, think I can sell it on Craigslist?

ArchieLeach
ArchieLeach

It was my first night for my bowling league out at Delmar on 290 and Mangum.  League didn't let out until midnight and by then we couldn't leave.  We ended up staying all night, sleeping on the foamy cushions they used as bumpers for the kids to bowl and prevent a guarantee of nothing but gutters.  It was one of the scariest moments of my life.  The rain would not stop and I thought it would be only a matter of time before the roof caved in on us.  Around 8a the next day, we were able to get home, back into the Heights, which apparently was not just a name the neighborhood has.  It looked like an island.  Good stuff.

Meredith
Meredith

I was actually working on Long Island when my boss told me there was supposed to be some bad weather in Houston and suggested we go home early. We left Thursday instead of Friday,  luckily for me. If I'd waited, my flight would have been canceled because Hobby flooded and my house would have been damaged by the water that seeped in.

Keith
Keith

I was working at Morgan Stanley in the Galleria. My boss asked if I wanted to stay at the Westin. I've been through some crazy rain in Dallas so I said no, I'm good. Drove home to Clear Lake and I've never seen so much rain in my life. I also moved that weekend to West Houston. Took 3 days. Crazy times.

craig
craig

I caused this storm.  A week before I notice all the trash in Midtown and think "this city needs a good flood".  That's the only way these bums will pick up trash. 

Round one  of Allision my wife makes it back to our Midtown townhome barely escaping the flood in her new BWW wagon.  Close one!  "What were you thinking going out with the girlfriends tonight" I say.  They HAD to go have drinks in Montrose!

Round two (Friday) I'm pooped and pass out on the couch early and wake up to our neighbors telling us 59 was coming out of its "banks" and into Midtown.

So we drag what we can up the stairs and start taking shots and smoking bowls and hot boxking cigs as the water rises.  All we had to drink was Malibu Rum.  If anything this storm taught me to stock a proper bar.

Strangers escape 59 and make their way to our house for shelter.  What a dang night.  The next moring we make the breakfast of kings and start ripping out sheetrock!  We lived upstairs the next month while repairs were made.

MadMac
MadMac

My then-fiance and I were working the night shift at Saint Joseph Hospital, moving patients from one building to another, up and down dark stairways, (because, hey, the basement is absolutely the best place to put generators in a coastal community). Meanwhile my Mom tried to keep the furniture from floating out of my house in Lindale. 

The nuns got Sheila Jackson Lee to declare the hospital 'safe' and then an intern lost his head in the elevator, ('cause who needs sensors on elevators when SJL said it's safe, right?). My Mrs and I didn't see each other for 31 hours. When we were finally released by management, I drove her home on near-dry streets and here's the kicker. Natural disaster, 3:00 am on a Sunday morning, and there was still traffic on I-10 West!

scotter
scotter

At 2:30 Saturday morning, I watched the weather on television and saw a nearly unbroken chain of very heavy rain headed right at Houston.  The ground was already saturated and I could see the water rising over the curb and climbing midway up my front lawn.  I closed my eyes and prayed, "Please, please let it stop raining soon."  It did.  You're welcome, Houston.

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