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Former Bristol residents riding out the storm in Texas

Two former Liberty County residents are among those caught in the Texas flooding brought on by Hurricane Harvey.  As of press time, both were well - one taking cover at her home about 45 miles outside Houston while the other has joined a friend taking out a boat to help families in Houston move to safer ground.


“Their home is fine.  They lost a tree but it didn’t hit the house.  They’re very fortunate,” said Cathy Blackburn of Bristol about her son Joby, and his family, which includes wife Sommer and their four young children.  They live on Memorial Road in Central Houston.

Tuesday, Sommer was lucky enough to get in to make some purchases at a grocery store.  “They were only allowing ten people in at a time,” her mother-in-law said.  While the family had their own supplies of food and water, Sommer was trying to fill bags of supplies to drop off at area fire stations.

Joby and a friend took a boat out and helped a friend move from a flooded home.  The two are continuing efforts to help their less fortunate neighbors who need to relocate as the rain continues and waters rise.

His mother has received many calls about the family.  She’s quick to say, “I really appreciate all the concern for them but they are fine.”  Her main worry now is whether trucks will be able to get in over the next few days to restock grocery stores.

She added that some friends of Joby’s family who are currently on an Alaskan cruise have just learned that their home is about to be flooded and are trying to determine if they can even get home before it’s too late.


They may be 45 minutes southwest of Houston, but Carrie Flowers and her roommate, Texas native Melissa Miller, are seeing plenty of flooding but luckily, their brick home has not been affected. Still, they’re only 10 minutes from the coast and near areas where there have been mandatory evacuations.

The 30-year-old Bristol native taught at Tolar School for four years and just moved to Texas about a year ago.  She coaches volleyball and basketball as well as teaches sixth and seventh grade classes at a school in neighboring town of Sweeny, about 30 miles away.  The town of Sweeny has been evacuated.  The school is expected to be closed until Sept. 5.

“The hurricane hit south of us,” she said.  “We had a couple of inches of rain, but Sunday is when the water really started hitting,” she said about her neighborhood in Lake Jackson.

She had planned to leave for Bristol on Sunday but realized it was too late.  “You literally can’t get out,” she said, “There was no way for me to make it home.”   They did leave and go to the home of a friend’s mother that day fearing their community would be flooded but it wasn’t.

Their neighborhood is right on the edge of the evacuation lines, which is just about two miles south of them, she said.

They’re aren’t really worried, she said Tuesday afternoon.  “We’re in the lucky spot,” she said, explaining that while large ditches around her home have filled with water they are draining quickly. When the two drove around the area during a lull in the rain Monday morning, they saw ditches filled to overflowing.  But when they returned home three hours later, the ditches had already emptied out.

“It’s more dangerous to try to leave,” she said, so she and Melissa are staying home. News reports are focusing on the Houston area but “it’s affecting the whole coast of Texas,” she explained.  “You have to drive six hours to get away from a flood area.”

She knows her parents, James and Mary Flowers are worried. “They’re glued to the news,” she said as well as calling and texting her frequently.  “We’ve got plenty of food and water,” she said.  “There’s a big gas station here that has trucks coming in constantly (with deliveries),” she said.  They haven’t had any power issues although the relative of a friend who lives a mile away did lose power last Thursday but it was restored the next day.

“We will be OK,” she said.

She believes the weather will worsen before things get better and notes that smaller communities like hers are not at the top of the list for emergency aid. She urges anyone who would like to help to do so through the Red Cross.  She said it’s expected that flood

victims will be in need of cleaning items as well as diapers and other child care supplies.

While Carrie and her roommate expect more rain, they believe they will be fine.

She’s enjoying not having to get up early and rush to school. Her biggest concern right now is that she might not return texts and calls from friends checking on her as promptly as she should because she’s making the most of being able to sleep in.

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September 1st, 2017


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