5 Things Every Good Houston Car-Flooding Story Has

Categories: Spaced City

fivefloodstoryCROP.jpg
Photo by @TexasStormChasers
Tales to tell.
As you probably know, a freakishly strong surprise storm blasted through Houston Saturday, leaving lots of street flooding.

And street flooding means stranded cars, either deep in water or parked somewhere that's a dry spot for now, watching anxiously as the water rises.

It's a classic Houston experience to go through. And most everyone who has gone through it has a good story to tell. And those good stories have at least these five things in them:

5. The wave-making pick-up
In the never-ending quest for a piece of high ground, at least as it's defined in Houston, you've gotten stuck on a street where the water is high, but hasn't gotten in your doors or maybe, even, your engine. You're not moving, sitting there seething at the rain, when a jacked-up pick-up with about eight feet clearance comes barreling towards you, either from ahead or behind. Trailing it, of course, is a huge wave.

As you increase your cursing exponentially, the giant wave sloshes towards your car, and you sit there wondering if this is the one, while the pick-up driver laughs maniacally as he roars off to get his runnin' buddy who's stuck.

4. The idiot in front of you who SLOWS DOWN as you both are crossing maybe-passable water.
It looks like you'll have enough clearance, but it'll be close. So you get behind someone who's taking the same chance, using the wake he's leaving behind, and all of a sudden his brake lights come on. DUUUUDE!!!! Grow balls!!!! Thou shalt not stop!!! L'audace, l'audace toujours l'audace!!! Don't go wobbly on me, George!! Oh you motherf.......



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10 comments
Rudyard
Rudyard

I hate the #4 people. It should be legal to give them one free slap upside the head when they hit their brakes and cause the person behind them to stall out. I've been behind people like that before and was sweating bullets the entire time.

stinapag1
stinapag1

Years before the advent of ubiquitous cell phones, my mom was one driving down Sage when one of these storms hit. Water started rising, and she realized she needed to get her little convertible to higher ground quickly. The only parking lot in the vicinity was The Men's Club. Her car sputtered and gasped and got her to the lot before it died.  Stuck, she went over to the establishment and explained that she needed to borrow their phone for a tow truck.  

The sympathetic management took one look at the soccer mom standing in their foyer and quickly shuffled her to the dressing room so she not frighten the customers.  They called a tow truck for her.  My mom spent the wait chatting with strippers between acts. 

reverendvelvet
reverendvelvet

So funny that #5 is the the exact reason my car is sitting at the repair shop waiting for State Farm to decide if it's repairable or a total loss.

Saturday 4:45pm heading south on Voss near Westheimer. Slow steady pace in the center lane as the #4's on this list are turning the left lane into a parking lot. The water is 4 to 5 inches deep but passable. The right lane is not - over a foot of water covering the sidewalks. 

Suddenly on my right a jacked up 4x4 cruises by as if he's pulling a water skier in the Summer X games.

The car lunges forward as the tsunami wave slams the back of my car. I hear the exhaust bubbling. By the time the wave wraps around my car and my wipers have cleared the torrent of water off the windshield, the car engine chokes out.

Should I try to start it, or wait it out? A few cranks and it chokes for air that's not there.

Within 5 minutes the water goes from a few inches deep to nearly half way up the passenger side car door. Now the trucks and SUVs are using the left lane to pass. The right lane is even too deep for them. The back end of my car begins to bob in the water.

My car manufacturer's lifetime roadside assistance refuses to come out "conditions too extreme". 

AT&T roadside assistance refuses to come out "My supervisor says call 911".

The airtight car is not taking on water so we decide to bail out the windows and seek higher ground (the bank parking lot only 20 feet away). Then WAABAAAMM - lightening strikes a transformer showering the car in sparks. The only thing missing was hail and it would have been a biblical apocalypse.

20 minutes after the car choked to death, a tow truck pulls along side and tows us away.

RIP my dear car.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

Many years ago, I was working at an office on Richmond Avenue, near Wilcrest when one of these kinds of storms hit. In no time, the street in front of the office complex flooded, both sides, with the median being a makeshift island.  After the rain stopped, some of my neighbors proceeded to sit in the parking lot, watching cars try to navigate the newly forrmed Richmond Avenue waterway. Some were making bets on how far someone would be able to go before stalling out. The most entertaining were a group of men in suits and ties, riding in a Lincoln or Cadillac, whose car gave up and just stopped. They were standing around in the flooded street, pant legs rolled up, with the hood of the car open, wondering what the hell just happened. One of the guys sititng in the parking lot went over and offered to help them push the car to a nearby parking lot. When he got back, he said the guys in the drowned car were engineers and were befuddled as to why their land boat would not run anymore. Um..how about YOU FRIGGING DROWNED YOUR ENGINE! I felt sorry for them, but it was amusing in a odd way.

The guys who slow down when entering a pond of water on a roadway drive me insane too. I have learned to just stop a few feet away and watch to see if they will actually drive or creep through.

MadMac
MadMac

I agree with Hanabi-chan. It's either that or God did not want you to have that car.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

@reverendvelvet Oh wow! There are no words. Glad you and your passengers got out okay.   Sounds like one of those "I shoulda stayed in bed" kind of days.

MadMac
MadMac

In 2010, I was one of those geniuses. Instead of parking and waiting for it to blow over--as I always harp on the Mrs. to do, I said "this road never floods, I'm an expert driver and know how to keep the engine from stalling. And, I've GOT to get where I'm going."

Six hours of standing in soggy shoes and pants later, the wrecker showed up. The $1500 I spent to resuscitate my ol' mule had been my Crime Bake Writer's Conference money. Oh and the road drained/was bone dry before the wrecker arrived. Best of all was the "What were you thinking?" conversation with the Mrs.  

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

Oh dear. That conversation must have been painful.  Well, if it makes you feel better, I did the same thing. The ye old Escort shuddered, then died. Worst part of it was my spawn was in the car with me. So yeah...Fortunately for me, after sitting in someone's driveway, the sucker started right up after drying out for a couple of hours. Got home, which was maybe 1/2 mile away, and never had a problem.  My daughter gave me the old "the hell is wrong with you?" speech. Nothing like failing in front of your middle schooler to teach you humility.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

@MadMac I like swimming, in a properly clean pool. 

Can we add this to the list? News reporters broadcasting in standing water. Telling the viewers NOT to stand in standing water.

MadMac
MadMac

My old man said bought lessons are the best lessons. I bought and paid for that nugget o' truth. Now I keep a book, bottle of water, and a granola bar along with rescue smokes, (shhhs, don't tell the Mrs.) in my hoopty. Swimming sukkks.

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