Hurricane Harvey’s impact on lives in Sterling, Kansas

By: Hannah Abbate

By now, everyone has heard of hurricane Harvey and the destruction it has caused to the residents near the coast of Texas and Houston. Rachel and Sam Turner are twin sisters attending Sterling College from League City, Texas, 27 miles southeast of Houston.

“Our personal property,” said Sam Turner. “Wasn’t damaged too bad, but I have a lot of friends in the area who have lost everything or a lot of what they had.” Sam Turner continues,

“It’s kind of surreal, because I’ve been there through all of these hurricanes with my family. And from here [Sterling, KS], it’s weird looking from the outside in. I could facetime my brother and watch water rise over his neighbor’s doorknob. And there’s ten feet of water and he’s kayaking in his street. That is surreal to see, because in my head I know it’s possible. I’ve seen it happen. But to watch it, you just can’t understand unless you’re there. So just, seeing that devastation is really hard. You feel helpless because you don’t know what to do.”

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PC: Peggy Turner

Rachel Turner stated, “Seeing people in that situation, and for me personally, serving in another country [Haiti] that has been affected by such a huge hurricane [Hurricane Matthew in 2016], you see what it does to people. You see how a hurricane can tear people apart, but by also rebuilding, it can pull people together.”

In its early stages, hurricane Harvey was not predicted to be any bigger than a Category Three hurricane, which was still not encouraging for Texans. A Category Three is equal to saying devastating damage will occur. However, Harvey did not stay its predicted course. On the evening of Aug. 25, 2017, Harvey peaked at Category Four on the Saffir-Simpson scale just prior to landfall. Category Four hurricanes cause catastrophic damage and are categorized by having wind speeds from 130 to 156 miles per hour.

With Harvey came an unbelievable amount of rain, breaking the previous record. According to the National Weather Service, rainfall amounts totaled between 15 and 40 inches around the Houston area.

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PC: Peggy Turner

The Weather Channel has said Harvey “may end up being one of the worst flood disasters in U.S. history.”

Along with all this flooding, the Harris County Flood Control District has estimated that there are 136,000 flooded structures in the Houston area. The damage is great, but the need for help is even greater.

As a Sterling College community, we can help from right here in Kansas. Making donations of food, clothing, and even small financial donations can have a significant impact to help in the recovery effort.

During Fall Breather, a time that is usually used as a mini vacation away from studies for most students, the Sterling College softball team and their coach will travel to the Houston area to assist with relief efforts.

Head Coach Alyssa James said, “It’s a life changing experience. I think a lot of people take for granted everything that they have. Just helping people out when they need it. It’s just an opportunity for everyone to lend a hand.”

Full restorations can take several months or longer to complete, and Houston will be needing all our help and prayers to get back to where it was.