40 THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • January/February 2018 TheCoastalBend.com I t was on Monday, August 3, 1970, when the last major hurricane impacted the Coastal Bend. None of us, even the old timers, have been through this in this par- ticular way. Wind is wind, and rain is rain, and storm surge will be storm surge, but once residents of Port A survived the storm itself, physically, much of their hell had just started. For all of us living on the gulf coast, on an island or miles inland, Harvey should wake us up to the realty of our helplessness. We cannot predict our own weather and none of us have our own hurricane hunter airplanes and crew—and as far as I know, none of us operate our own weather satellites. We are 100% dependent on the United States Federal Government to inform us, advise us and warn us about dangerous weather systems. They will do it well or they will not, that is completely out of our control. So, when the remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey fell apart and drifted across the Caribbean and over the Yucatan Peninsula, into the gulf, the National Weather Service will either recognize that as a potential threat to the Texas Coast, or they won’t. And they didn’t. They declared Harvey dead for three days until it was two hundred miles into the Gulf of Mexico. That was on Wednesday, two days before it slammed into Mustang Island. On Thursday the 24th, as Harvey spun in the gulf before it decided where to go, there was sudden urgency conveyed by the NHC, but it lagged in the news media. The term used over and over again was, “Rainmaker,” and that set into the public mindset. We were all a little concerned about heavy rains, but honestly, the Coastal Bend has never been particularly flood-prone, so no one here really worried. It was not until late Thurs- day afternoon and Friday morning that the, “Holy sh*ts” could be heard in most of our conversations about the storm in the gulf. It’s easy to say that by that point, it was too late. But too late for what? In 2005, that towering inferno of intellectual prowess known as Gov. Rick Perry, ordered the full evacuation of Houston as Hurricane Rita approached. Corpus Christi Mayor Henry Garrett did the same thing here, ordering everyone out the day before Rita made its eastwardly turn in the gulf and toward Houston. Both were ridiculous decisions that resulted in far more problems than either move solved, and cost the public and the government millions upon millions in wasted time and resources. There is little question that evacuation orders in Texas for Rita in 2005 were motivated mostly by what had hap- pened in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina, just a few weeks earlier. Mass evacuations of large, coastal urban centers do not work, and that has been proven over and over again. At the same time, the evacuation of small, coastal towns that are in the first-impact zone of a storm, like Port A and Rockport, did work, insofar as protection against deaths and serious injuries. Make no question about it—from federal weather forecasters to local elected of- ficials, to the news media and private forecasters, up to and including the leadership of