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IMG_5813There is an amazing engineering feature in Houston.  It is called the Buffalo Bijou.  This is a creek for most of its existence, meandering from downtown Houston due West and into the region of Katy.

Katy is my home town and the Buffalo Bijou is familiar to me and my fellow residents.  We appreciate this cavernous grassy canyon snaking through our community because it is a constant reminder that it is ready to take away the deluge of water that visits our part of Texas several times a year.

When there is no rain and the weather has no prediction of precipitation, I along with my fellow Texans overlook this massive amount of real estate.  Green grass lines the banks of this very large creek and overpasses allow traffic to flow unimpeded.  But, it is always ready.

Most of the year a small creek travels through this piece of land.  The slow-moving waters do not cut much of a trail through the dirt.  Most adults could easily leap over the creek without much effort.

I bicycle along this body of water and marvel at its great expanse.  For miles my bicycle wheels roll along the cement trail that lines one of its banks.  Several times I cross a bridge to keep my journey going.

But, then there are those storms, those Texas-sized storms that drench our home with lots of water.  Drains, and canals flow into the Buffalo Bijou.  It comes quickly and flash flood warnings dominate the airwaves to keep people away from flooded areas.

Torrents of water turn a normally calm creek bed into a raging river.  In a short period of time a calm quiet creek fills up that entire flood plain and muddy waters threaten to lap against the massive concrete bridges that gives people safe passage over the rising waters.  I paused for a picture and to marvel at what makes people feel so small and helpless.

When God turns on the spillway of the heavens and stalls the weather front to hold a pattern over Houston, we hunker down and hope for the best.  Neighbor encourages neighbor.  It is the way of the image of God seeping through the desperation of men who find themselves in need of a helping hand.

Good engineers designed a lot of Houston to weather such moments.  I am grateful to those very good planners who looked beyond the pleasant sunny days.  Their planning for these occasional horribly rainy days has given me peace.  I thank God for them!

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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IMG_4413Thursday was not unusual for Houston, weather wise.  The clouds overhead were dark and overly pregnant with moisture.  Meteorologists had forecast heavy rains and sent out flash flood warnings.  I listened but did not hear.

I was shocked when I entered my usual surface street route to my office.  It was flooded.  Water covered the road from the side ditches all of the way over the center line.

Ahead of me several cars were driving slowly through water.  Each vehicle left a wake behind it.  I had never seen such high waters in my three years of Texas driving.

At the end of the road was a mandatory right turn.  Normally, it is a round intersection with plenty of turning space for 18 IMG_4412wheeled rigs.  Now, it was a lake with no name.

One car made the mistake of driving the perimeter of the waters.  It was so deep on the edges that the little car stalled as water crept up the side of the car and was surely seeping into the car cabin.  My pickup truck was blessing me with high ground clearance.

Nevertheless, I felt incredibly vulnerable.  There was no relief in sight.  As far as I could see the road ahead of me was a muddy river.

People had pulled off the roads and parked in strip mall lots.  They stood under umbrellas and watched us ford our way through the waters hoping to find higher ground.  An emergency vehicle was with them standing by to lend a hand.

IMG_4411They were not looking at me.  A small subcompact car was stranded.  The driver had tried to make it into the strip mall lot but the water depth on the sides of the road are especially deep.

The driver had his emergency flashers on.  His car was flooded.  It was a sad sight.

I rounded the last turn to my office.  After several attempts I drove into our lot from the back.  That’s when a driver and a Good Samaritan were pushing his stalled car through the deep water and up into a parking lot to assess the damage.

Floods make little humans feel very small.  Our expensive vehicles are easily made vulnerable when the waters rise over 12 inches on our roads.  I made it safely and breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God for the high ground clearance that He made possible for me to purchase three years ago.

photo credit: brucefong photography

 

IMG_3034The temperatures were cool.  My morning weather check made several decisions for me.  I would wear my riding jacket.  My fingered gloves were the choice of the day.

It was not cold enough for me to wear long pants.  My riding shorts would do fine.  Once I was out on the road and pumping my legs up to my cruising speed, enough body heat would keep me comfortable.

The rains from the last two days soaked up the ground.  Scattered puddles on the road made an agility ride essential.  Dodging pockets of water was a lot better on bicycle than splashing through them, causing a rooster tail behind me and giving myself a muddy shower and a skunk stripe down my back.

Yep, past experience can be seen all over my previous description.  It takes a longIMG_3038 time to wipe down my bicycle after a wet ride.  If I can avoid it I will.

Down our artery thoroughfare I peddled.  My destination was our Buffalo Bayou culvert.  After the large amount of rain in this past week, I was curious to see what kind of water run-off was represented in our flood control outlets.

Forward thinking engineers made sure that the flooding from thunder bursts in our Texas region would be channeled away from the homes of its residents.  The weather reports noted a warning for flash floods.  A lot of water had fallen over our city of Houston.

IMG_3040The bridge over the Buffalo Bayou spans a creek that is usually 8 or 10 feet across.  However, the expanse is very large.  This visit over the flood plain surprised me.

Now, a muddy river taking up nearly the entire width of the Bayou was steadily pushing tons of water to the East.  It was clear that the rains that fell did leave a massive impact in our region.  Our drought in Texas needed this turn around.  We were getting used to the “moderate drought” conditions signs.  Most likely someone will start taking those advisory signs down.

I watched as the massive amounts of water moved undeterred to the lowest point on the temporary river banks.  Fish, snakes, alligators and turtles were no doubt exploring new territory lazily allowing the flood waters take them on a new journey.

The parched land was getting a good long drink.  Our Creator was taking care of the land.  His personal touch was amazing to watch.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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