Hurricane Harvey hits close to home for some Idahoans

Hurricane Harvey forces evacuations

BOISE - Residents in Texas braced themselves for Hurricane Harvey on Friday. The storm was upgraded to a Category 4 storm late Friday afternoon. Harvey brings with it sustained winds of 130 MPH and torrential rains. Over the new week, some areas are expected to see up to three feet of rainfall.

Although the storm may be more than 1,600 miles away, it’s hitting close to home for some Idahoans.

Rebecca Graham moved to Ingleside, Texas, a few years ago from Twin Falls, leaving behind many family members. She and her husband bought their first house there just three months ago. It’s the same house now being hit by Hurricane Harvey.

Graham says she now knows where the saying “the calm before the storm” comes from.

“The water was crazy calm. Usually it's moving the wind is moving it. You've got waves. It was super calm,” Graham said.

Just days later it’s a different story as Hurricane Harvey struck the coast of Texas.

“I'm wondering if I even have anything to go back to. How long it's going to take? How I'm going to get my kids in school?” Graham said.

MORE: Hurricane Harvey strengthens to Category 4 storm, makes landfall

Heather and her family evacuated inland to Pleasanton, Texas, which is about an hour-and-a-half away from their home in Ingleside.

“First house we've ever bought, and it's probably going to be destroyed,” Graham said.

They packed what they could and got out.

“Took us, like, two-three hours to get all packed up and house all boarded up and everything that we own up and off of the floor as best we could and left,” Graham said.

It’s a similar situation Boise Native Matt Johnson went through 25 years ago with Hurricane Andrew.

“It was literally the worst day of my life,” Johnson said.

Johnson was 10 years old at the time and took up shelter at a friend’s house.

“We were about 20 miles from the center of the storm. We actually got the eye wall, which is the worst part of a hurricane,” Johnson said.

The Category 5 hurricane was one of the costliest in U.S history. It caused more than $20 billion in damage and brought with it 175 MPH winds.

“That window blew out and it just got worse and worse and worse. The wind, more walls, the wall collapsing into the living room, part of the roof blowing off,” Johnson said. “That's an experience that never leaves you.”

An experience Graham and her family are now enduring.

“We're not going to have any power or anything. So we really have nothing to go back to. So we're going to be out of there for a while,” Graham said.

The American Red Cross of Greater Idaho is sending one person to Texas to help with the hurricane. The Red Cross says, if needed, they can send more people.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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