tree 5 things I learned about Hurricane Harvey from a Texas veteran

(Photo courtesy Rodney Weedon)

By Phil Briggs

When I first saw Facebook fill up with posts about Hurricane Harvey, one stood out.

It was from my buddy Rodney Weedon, who I served with back in the 90’s, aboard the carrier USS John C Stennis (CVN 74). After the Navy, he put down roots near Corpus Christi, TX.  Over the years, I’ve enjoyed seeing his posts of fishing boats, beaches, and cold beers.

The post that caught my attention simply read, “Kinda Windy” and beneath it was the radar image of the massive hurricane headed straight for his town.

So, after the storm passed, I called to check and see how my old shipmate fared.  Despite being exhausted, he was in good spirits and still had the sense of humor I remembered.

Here’s what I learned from our conversation:

  1. How to Ride Out a Hurricane

With no basement, Weedon explained where they hunkered down, “It’s like they tell you in grade school, find an interior room and stay safe … I was staying on the leeward side of the house in a bedroom. So in other words on the downwind side of the house … that way if anything happened, it would be on the windward side … and then we could go out the window to get out.”

  1. What It’s Like During a Storm

“I’m saying it was sustained winds of at least 110, maybe 120 mph, for a good 6-8 hours  … You could hear stuff hitting the house … I had that big 60-foot Eucalyptus tree fall over, I definitely heard that come down. The whole house was shaking and it was loud,” Weedon said.

  1. Why Some People Don’t Evacuate

“Generally most people stay behind just to protect their belongings … nobody went into it thinking they were going to have electricity, nobody’s complaining,” he said. ” You just understand that I’m going to stay here … get my family back when power is restored and get things fixed up enough so they can live comfortably.” He also noted, “Imagine if you went to Houston to ride the storm out … look at the position you’re in now.

Listen: our full interview with Rodney Weedon

  1. It’s All About the Attitude

When asked about the moment after the storm had passed, Weedon said, “You just get outside and start dragging branches, and start helping your neighbor out … guys just walking around with chain saws … [My neighbor] says ‘Hey man, you need some help?’  He’s got eight mesquite trees in his yard and he just got done chopping, but here he comes, ready to help … It’s just kind of a neat thing to see.”

Another post he shared (which perfectly captures the sense of humor of these Texans during challenging times), was a picture of guys with guns holding a sign which read “Drunks with Guns.  You Loot, We Shoot”

  1. Nothing Will Keep Texans From …

…their BBQ.  Weedon related, “I was driving around and people were out front, no electricity, trees down, windows broken, but there’s always one person on a grill with mesquite wood burning .. feeding the neighbors, feeding themselves … doing whatever is necessary.  It does really smell good, especially when you get a brisket cooking.”

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