Trinis safe in Texas after Beryl

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

TT national Calishia Mendoza – courtesy Mendoza

HURRICANE Beryl continued to wreak havoc, despite weakening to category one, as it hit Texas, US on Monday morning. It has since weakened to a tropical storm.

International news outlet AP reported there being heavy rains and powerful winds along Texas’s coast, leaving over two million people without electricity. Many streets were also badly flooded.

AP added that at least two people were killed.

Several parts of Texas were put under flash flood, storm surge, tornado and tropical storm warnings.

Calishia Mendoza, a TT national who moved to Houston, Texas last year told Newsday her faith in God and constant praying helped her through the storm.

She said she knew God would “cover (her) with his hands and keep (her) safe.

“I was a little terrified but, of course, my mom also kept me calm and prayed as well.

“It was the first time I experienced a hurricane…I served in the army and normally get to see and experience the aftermath when they sent us out to help the affected areas, but actually being in the middle of it was a new experience for me overall.”

She said electricity fluctuated a lot but as of Monday afternoon, it was back for good.

“I’m truly blessed to have power right now because I know some areas are out of power,” she added.

She said while her home was not flooded, she is yet to go outside as it is “still a little windy.

“I was worried the whole time but I also kept my faith going and praying every chance I got.

“I’m grateful to be okay right now as I know so many were affected and didn’t have the outcome I did, and I will continue to pray for Houston and everyone affected.

“Living here, I have notice how resilient these people are and I know they will get through this. I know we all will .

A TT national who preferred not to be named told Newsday she was in Houston, Texas, but for vacation. On Saturday morning, she said, the weather was fine and sunny. She is staying at a hotel.

However, around 2am on Monday, “There was heavy rainfall, wind, lightning, thunder…It was a lot of wind too so the building was kind of shaking.”

She said this was the first time she experienced a hurricane and it was really scary.

“I was really worried. And if this was a category one, then I don’t want to ever experience a category two.”

She said she remained in touch with her family and friends home, who were also worried about her and her safety. She said at no point did the hotel lose power or any parts of it flooded.

“There was no flooding or anything like that but when you looked outside, you would see No Parking signs blown to the side, trees bending…But inside, we were pretty safe.”

She said hotel guests talked to each other about the experience in shared spaces. She is set to leave Texas on Tuesday.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management has urged all who experienced property damage to submit an online report via its website.

It also advised, through its social media platforms, that residents not drive through floodwaters, use flashlights instead of candles, be careful with portable generators and chainsaws, and to not push themselves too much during cleanup efforts.

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Houston mayor John Whitmire said the city was experiencing “the dirty side of a dirty hurricane.

“Shelter in place. We’re in an emergency. We’re in a rescue mode…We’re literally getting calls across Houston right now asking for first responders to come rescue individuals in desperate life safety conditions.

“Stay off the road. There is debris. I travelled from my home this morning. The mayor was barely able to get to the emergency centre…That’s how dangerous our streets (are).”

US media have reported thousands of flights being cancelled owing to the storm.

CBS reported almost 600 cancellations for departing flights at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and 165 outbound flights at William P Hobby Airport, also in Houston.