HOUSTON, TX

Updated June 12, see link at bottom.

I’ve been in Houston for a little more than three years now and were it not for a precious family member living here, I’d be gone.

A month after I moved here we experienced the 2021 Freeze.

“On February 11-20, 2021, a historical winter event occurred that set many records, including being the first billion-dollar weather disaster of that year.” Source

246 people DIED. I was without power for two days. Nearly 10 million people were in the dark for more than a week. We were without heat, and unable to cook, water pipes bursting, and water boil advisories issued. And the impact to wildlife and nature was huge, as well.

Once things were ‘back to normal’ I discovered how treacherous it was to drive in Houston. If you drive the speed limit on any of the major roads, you’re a hazard, a moving chicane, and the subject of much rage. Oh, speaking of which:

“Houston led nation in road rage shootings during last decade, data analysis shows.” Source

I’m frequently still surprised by the brazen disregard for traffic rules. Examples: People driving with the back of their trucks full of stuff and no tailgate or none of the stuff secured. Me waiting for a light to give me a turn signal – someone races around me – they don’t wait for lights. Total lack of turn signal use. And on and on.

And then there are the fire ants and mosquitos. The former are everywhere and my gods do their bites hurt and itch, and do so for days! But the mosquitos, well, this area is a natural swamp. Bayous abound. Even if they’re covered with cement that doesn’t stop the bugs.

“Mosquitoes are swarming around Houston. The future could bring even more
May 18, 2024″ Source

Let’s not forget Mosquitos are the deadliest animal in the kingdom. In Texas we have Dengue:

“Dengue (break-bone fever) is a viral infection that spreads from mosquitoes to people. It is more common in tropical and subtropical climates. Most people who get dengue will not have symptoms. But for those who do, the most common symptoms are high fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and rash. Apr 23, 2024″ Source: WHO

What is the mortality rate for dengue fever?

When treated, dengue hemorrhagic fever has a mortality rate of 2-5%. When left untreated, dengue hemorrhagic fever has a mortality rate as high as 50%. Survivors usually recover without sequelae and develop immunity to the infecting serotype.

Nice.

And I won’t even get too deep into the heat and humidity (H&H). I liken it to what it used to be like in New York in January and February – you did what you could to avoid going outside. In Houston, you avoid going outside (due to H&H) from June through August. Last summer – when I was volunteering at the ranch I’d regularly experience heat exhaustion despite keeping myself hydrated.

It made me feel so bad. I wished I would have went down there and put that air conditioner unit in myself. I just couldn’t do it. I’m disabled. I really didn’t know he was suffering like that,” Jenkins said. “It’s very dangerous. I come outside, and I can’t even stay outside for 20 minutes.

Source

I could include the politicians as dangerous threats to life because, for example, last year the power dudes decided to ban water breaks. And we all know about their campaign against women who aren’t ready to have a baby.

And then there was last week.

I experienced my first Derecho. I’m a weather geek but I never heard that term before this past Saturday.

I caught it rolling in on video:

Thursday, May 16th, 2024 – Jersey Village – Derecho

That horrific storm actually scared me. The wind sounded like a banshee (okay, I’ve never heard a banshee but you know what I mean), the rain threatened to flood my apartment and the visibility at peak was less than 10 feet. And it knocked out my power for 45 hours.

8 people died from this storm. It has done billions in damages. As I write this there are still more than 200,000 people without power and the wet bulb temperature yesterday was nearly 100f. This storm also devastated wildlife, one example: The surge of fresh water devastated the oyster population in Galveston Bay.

I love being near my most favorite family member but I’m starting to believe that Houston Texas is not a safe place to live.

June 11 Update: Texas named one of the worst states for disaster preparedness

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