Monday, May 17, 2010

My First Experience with Texas-Sized Rain

(Disclaimer: I didn't take this picture.) 

As I was heading out the door Friday evening, I glanced out the window and saw it was raining and was somewhat relieved that I now have a car and wouldn't have to walk in inclement weather.  Little did I know that when it rains in Houston, it rains in Houston.  While the main streets weren't that bad (with only a couple of inches of water covering the asphalt) the neighborhood which I was trying to access was under at least 6-8" of water.  Driving in it (in a Honda Civic, mind you)  was the most frightening thing I've done in a long time.

When I looked out the driver's side window, there was a wake in the street, much like a speed boat, and the water lapped in front of my headlights.  I could feel the floor under my feet shifting from the water streaming under it , but the streets were too narrow to flip a U-turn and get the hell out.  I could feel the beginning of a panic attack as a car in an intersection ahead of me stalled out and the driver tried to flash his or her lights to let people know where the car was parked. Completely freaking out at this point (because I've never driven in even one inch of water, let alone half a  dozen), I put my car into reverse and backed up onto a higher street, parked, and turned the air conditioning up full blast to cool my sweat and let my heart rate slow.  I realize this doesn't sound very dramatic, but I was seriously scared shitless.

Oh, and by the way, next time I probably won't back up to get out of the situation, after reading this story about a woman who died Friday night trying to that.

1 comment:

  1. A little advice from a native Houstonian that's been there many times: the trick to driving through water is to wait until it's clear (no cars in front of you that might block you), go a slow (but not too slow) steady speed, and do *not* brake or go in reverse (so, um, the opposite of what you did - but hey, you didn't stall, so all's well that ends well). What will stall you out is water flowing up your tailpipe, so you want to leave a wake behind you that stays below the tailpipe. Of course none of that will help you if the water gets too deep, so it's good to be fairly certain the water is only a few inches deep before proceeding. Let an SUV or truck go first to check the depth (they think they can get through anything). Insert legal disclaimer here if this advice ever fails you...