Update Written 08/28/2017
Thanks to those who have been asking about how KPFT and those of us in Houston are doing during the Hurricane Harvey aftermath.
KPFT has been on the air all the time, although it’s been difficult for people to get in or out of the station – mostly just a few volunteers who live near the station have been keeping everything going. Some of them have been doing 12 to 24 hour shifts because of that. The street that KPFT is on is passable today, although it was a “river” over the weekend. A volunteer brought a generator that can keep our studio going to the station before the storm hit on Friday; it has not been needed (yet). The transmitter has not lost power either and we are keeping our fingers crossed about that, because we have no backup generator there. If the transmitter power goes out, we’ll continue streaming online unless we have other problems at the studio.
We’re hoping the rain may ease up some today, but that’s still uncertain and it’s raining now. A few volunteers have managed to get to the station with food for those who were there. Many roadways, including freeways, are still impassible in places due to flooding where the streets have low spots, although the roads are better today than Saturday and Sunday.
Houston missed the awful winds because Harvey came ashore southwest of here. The Corpus Christi – Rockport Texas area got most of the wind and storm surge damage. The winds there were 130 mph when Harvey hit them Friday night. The highest winds in Houston were 20-30 mph. But there have been at least 70 tornado warnings in the area, and a few of the tornadoes touched down and did some intense damage in small areas.
Although most of Houston (including KPFT) has power, there are hundreds of smaller isolated power outages, including where I live. The temperatures have only gotten up to the low 80s since Harvey hit, so that’s not bad for people without power and air conditioning, but of course the humidity is close to 100%. Some other people, in lower-lying areas with flooding, have it much worse than just being without power, but officials have been telling everyone since Friday morning to shelter in place unless their home is flooded, because so many of the roads have places where the water is too deep to get through, and it’s difficult to get around the city. Even one of the Houston TV stations, not far from KPFT, that has never flooded in the decades they have been there had to evacuate their building yesterday. There were over 2500 high water rescues in the first 24 hours after the rains started.
If you want more details and frequent updates about the effects in the Houston area, See the Houston Chronicle. If you’d like details specifically about the weather, go to Space City Weather, which is my favorite source for weather info. Renee Feltz (former news director at KPFT, now in NYC) and Bryan Parras (co-host of Nuestra Palabra on KPFT) gave a good report today on Democracy Now about Harvey’s effects on Houston.
The weather forecast for the next few days still has a lot of uncertainty. We are hoping that the remnants of Harvey will move out of the area and not come back, because the large amounts of rain are due to it staying in the area and pulling lots of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
A suggestion for any of you who are covering this on your stations – the main stream media is not talking enough about how we may be seeing a lot more storms like this due to climate change. The reason we get most hurricanes in August and September is because that’s when the water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and other tropical areas are at a maximum. Higher temperatures there cause more water evaporation and that’s the main thing that determines when hurricanes form and how strong they get.
For those of you who have asked about me personally – I’m fine and our house is fine. It’s up a little higher than most here, and in Houston a few feet makes a big difference because it’s so flat here. We have a generator and I got it out during a lull in the rains yesterday. [We] ran it for a few hours to cool down our refrigerator and re-freeze all the water bottles we had frozen before Harvey hit, [and] recharged batteries for everything. I’m running it again now, but I’m only using it about 6 hr per day because I need to conserve fuel as I don’t know how long we’ll be without power. It’s the people whose homes [or] cars were flooded that I worry about the most.
From KEOS as of 08/30/2017
The morning of Sunday, August 27th, KEOS 89.1FM in College Station, TX went off the air. According to their website, “Chief Engineer Lance Parr made a visual inspection for what was originally thought to be a power failure, but further investigation revealed antenna problems.” Lance quickly worked on linking KEOS programming with their internet stream from their website. As of Wednesday, August 29th, the station went back on the air.
“A tower technician climbed the tower and found a couple of places where water may have penetrated into part of the antenna. He applied weatherproofing to those areas to help guard against the problem returning.
Efforts were expedited as quickly as possible, the weather allowed for repairing the antenna today and getting KEOS back on the air. The extended period of rains and high winds from Tropical Storm Harvey simply made it impossible to safely climb the tower.”
College Station, TX
College Station sits approximately 90 miles north of Houston. Lance told Pacifica that they have been fortunate to have no flooding and very little evacuation traffic. “Most of the traffic is going to San Antonio and Dallas.”
College Station is being used as a staging area. “There are lots of trucks, helicopters, [and] military moving in and out.” They have also been urged to not send donations to Houston. It’s been requested that those who wish to help donate cash via websites. The community has been donating to Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
“Right now it’s partly cloud, no rain, and mild temperatures. We’ve been blessed.”
KWVH in Wimberley, TX
KWVH in Wimberley, Texas has reported no flooding with everyone safe and sound.