This Is How Houstonians Respond to an Epic Flood

Dude, where's my swan?EXPAND
Dude, where's my swan?

Houstonians are no strangers to the annual "100-year" flood, and by now we're all savvy rainstorm veterans. But this most recent bad weather seems to have really brought out the best in some of us.

In one already internet-famous case, that meant an intrepid TV reporter grudgingly "saving" a guy in a Prius on live TV. But KTRK's Steve Campion didn't realize that while he was helping the confused do-I-stay-in-the-car guy out of water, he was also giving us one of the best viral videos to come out of this historic flood. And that wasn't the end of the incredible response from Houstonians as we all dealt with one of the worst floods in the city's history.   

For example, take this midwife moving through floodwater atop a giant inflatable swan.

No, really. Here's a pic:

Cathy Rude, a 63-year-old midwife who founded a birthing clinic in 2010, was sure the baby she was scheduled to deliver was going to arrive on Monday despite the flood, according to the Dallas Morning News. Her clinic is located only a few miles from her house, but Rude's street was covered with water — she'd never be able to get to the car where her patient was waiting without soaking her equipment in flood water,  which was a problem for obvious reasons.

Finally, the waiting patient noticed one of Rude's neighbor's floating by on an inflated swan and asked if Rude could catch a ride on the floaty. Rude floated majestically down her own street, made it to the waiting vehicle and then they made it to the Katy Birth Center in time for the patient to pop out a 9 pound 12.2 ounce boy.  And now that boy has one of the best what-happened-on-the-day-I-was-born stories ever. 

Then there was Fox26 meteorologist Mike Iscovitz who was so concerned for his fellow citizens' safety that he threatened to expose any employers who didn't close up shop during the worst of the storm earlier in the week.

Iscovitz explained that he got a Facebook message from a woman explaining to him that a lot of people were out on the streets trying to get to work in spite of the floods on Monday. "We are going to kick somebody's behind if they fire you because you didn't head out on a deadly flooded street. It's crazy.  And I know a lot of people have that fear. Would you rather risk getting fired or, you know, drowning?"  Iscovitz said on camera, while the radar images of the massive storm covering Houston moved slowly on the screen behind him. "If anybody got fired because they didn't go out to work in this call us, call me, call Emily Akin, call our news desk and we will expose that person in front of millions of people and embarrass them. I will do that."  

This is a hard town to be a weather man in — it's kind of like simultaneously becoming a rock star and a prophet that everybody criticizes when he isn't 100 percent right predicting Houston's hard-to-predict weather every single day — but it was really something to see a meteorologist using his powers for good. Iscovitz explained and underscored the dangers of the monster storm that was dumping trillions of gallons of rain on the city. At the same time he made it clear he was willing to straight-up expose any boss who tried to force people to get out in such dangerous weather:

And who could forget the dramatic footage of dozens of civilians, just average-Joe folks, working for hours to save more than 70 horses that were up to their necks in water? When the waters of Cypress Creek spilled over its banks and swept over the Cypress Trails Equestrian Center, more than 70 horses were trapped up to their necks in flood water, with some having to stumble over the wire fences of the 9 acre ranch that were apparently still in place when the flooding started. 

Emergency workers showed up in boats on Monday morning, but they were initially focused on rescuing people, not animals, so they couldn't stop to help the horses. But even though the official rescuers couldn't initially help, horse lovers from all over the place showed up with boats and horse trailers and ropes and any other gear that was needed to help get the struggling horses out of the water. 

It wasn't a risk-free operation. Many of the horses were in water up to their necks and fighting to keep their heads above the water. There was a fast moving current that  was capable of sweeping would-be rescuers and horses away.  But the incredible part of all of this was how hard people worked to get the horses safely to higher ground.

One volunteer, Devan Horn, a former Cypress Trails employee, according to the Houston Chronicle, plunged into the fast-moving waters to get to a horse, Boomer. As the she worked to get Boomer across a flooded field and over a fence, the horse bucked Horn off and the pair began moving fast down the creek, tugged by the strong current. Somebody threw Horn a rope and they got her and Boomer both out. Afterward, Horn sprawled on the pavement of Cypresswood Drive, laughing and smiling because she'd gotten the horse out.  

This one wasn't in Houston, but it's still in Texas, so we're going to toss it in here anyway. In Parker County just west of Fort Worth, a man rode around in a monster truck, conquering high water and rescuing stranded homeowners. Monster trucks are always friggin' cool but a monster truck driver who just went around rescuing people because he had the monster truck and could do it? There should be another level of awesome to describe that. Maybe super-awesome? 

Corporations are people, too, and sometimes they even act like it. U-Haul announced it would be offering free storage for 30 days to Houston's flood victims. 

Here is perhaps the most iconic photo to come out of this storm: A brave Houstonian ventures out into raging floodwater to recover a poor, helpless armadillo. And stop and think about this one for a second. Sure, armadillos are cute enough from a distance, but not everyone in the world strolling along knee-deep in torrential rain would have looked at the little guy dangling in the picture below and decide that actually, armadillos deserve to be rescued too. But that's (probably) what this guy did, and then he figured out a way to carry a freaked out armadillo where the armadillo doesn't bite the carrier. Tail first of course :

Plus, there was this epic rescue of a truck driver in Brookshire. This rescue, like that in the Prius incident we've already mentioned, also happened on live TV and it was a pretty impressive feat. For a second, watching the video, you may wonder why the truck driver doesn't simply hop out of his vehicle and slush through the water to get out. And then he does jump into the waiting arms of a rescuer and the two men are immediately dragged away by the water while a group on the shore pulls a rope attached to the rescuer to fish both men out of the water. 

It's another example — and we know there are probably tons we haven't even heard about yet — of people opting to do a really good thing even though it obviously wasn't easy or without risks.  

And this guy is a hero in his own right because, well, if you've been around Houston long enough, you know that you can help out in a flood and still stay relaxed: 

There you have it. Epic responses to an epic flood. 


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