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Harvey Aftermath

Hurricane Harvey was one of the most powerful storms to hit the USA. Unlike most hurricanes, there was not much a risk of wind causing devastating damage, at least for Houston. Instead, the concern was rain and the resultant flooding. This was due to several factors. For one, the sheer volume of water was staggering: In a typical year Houston sees around 50 inches of rain. This slowly moving storm itself deposited around that much rain in three days. Secondly, Houston is essentially entirely flat, and the ground is less absorbent than most, and therefore the city has developed unique systems for directing and managing heavy rainfall. A network of mini rivers, called bayous, are scattered throughout the city, and direct water towards the Gulf of Mexico. Also, streets and highways have been engineered to act as water basins for times of high rates of rainfall. The idea is to deliver water to the bayous at a manageable rate and thus prevent them from overflowing. This works great provided that there is no massive storms. The hurricane was so intense, and the rainfall rate was so unprecedented, that everything failed. The roads, highways, and bayous all overflowed and flooded anything in their wake. A house’s elevation and its proximity to the nearest bayou determined if it flooded.

Thank God the neighborhood where we live is elevated and fairly far from the bayous and almost no houses were flooded. Some people lost power for a few hours (we did not lose power), the roads were impassable, but there was no significant damage. We had plenty of food and water (we stocked up in advance). In contrast, other neighborhoods that are closer to the Bayous experienced heavy catastrophic flooding. In these places, many feet of water would rush into homes. Some people had to go on the roof to avoid drowning. Sadly, the resplendant TORCH Centre suffered catastrophic damages.

TORCH Centre security cameras capture the rising waters

TORCH Centre security cameras capture the rising waters

The TORCH Centre during happier times

The TORCH Centre Grand Opening December 2016

The TORCH Centre Grand Opening December 2016

Celebrating a bris at the TORCH Centre

Celebrating a bris at the TORCH Centre

Celebrating a double-upsherin of Shlomo Wolbe and Yitzi Wolbe

Celebrating a double-upsherin of Shlomo Wolbe and Yitzi Wolbe

Celebrating a double-upsherin of Shlomo Wolbe and Yitzi Wolbe

Celebrating a double-upsherin of Shlomo Wolbe and Yitzi Wolbe

Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe giving a Torah lecture

Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe giving a Torah lecture

On the day before Harvey struck, I gave a Talmud lecture

On the day before Harvey struck, I gave a Talmud lecture

On Sunday during the height of the storm, Alex Gonik and his friend Hillel waded through the raging waters and videoed the TORCH Centre

 

By now the waters have receded in almost every part of Houston, but the damage remains. Houston as a city, and TORCH with respect to our Centre, face a monumental rebuilding efforts, that will be long and trying, but with the Almighty’s help we will forge ahead and rebuild it better than ever.

First up: Demo

A-1 Team of Volunteers

A-1 Team of Volunteers

 

Gutting the drywall

Gutting the drywall

Just the beginning

Just the beginning

So sad

So sad

Its happening

Its happening

Piling up the furniture in the middle of the room

Piling up the furniture in the middle of the room

Office in disarray

Office in disarray

It all has to come down

It all has to come down

Clearing out the office

Clearing out the office

Get your masks on

Get your masks on

Hello

Hello

Classroom denuded of carpet and walls :(

Classroom denuded of carpet and walls 🙁

Panoramic picture of the TORCH Centre now

Panoramic picture of the TORCH Centre now

The outpouring of love, care, and support from all over the world in the aftermath of the hurricane has been inspiring and heartwarming. It is comforting to know that others are deeply concerned about our well being.

Please help us rebuild by making a donation at rebuildtorch.com
To support the Houston Jewish Federation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund click here

Thank you!