Preparing for the worst: Harvey victims use their experience to prep for approaching hurricane


FANNETT, Texas (KETK) – With Hurricane Barry approaching landfall, East Texans brace for the possibility of bad weather and evacuees.

Here in East Texas we’ve all had our own hurricane and tropical storm experiences over the years, but it’s nothing compared to what our neighbors in the south have experienced.

Over the years, they’ve learned a thing or two about hurricanes.

“It’s one of those deals that you wish that you didn’t have those experiences but we’re pretty well experienced,” said Jefferson County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace, Ray Chesson.

Judge Chesson’s introduction to hurricanes came in 2005 with hurricane Rita, where he lost his house and office.

Then he experienced a major hurricane again in 2008 when hurricane Ike struck the gulf coast.

“Harvey was something, that was a totally different situation than anything we’ve ever faced…I had three feet of water in my house, I lost all but one vehicle, everything I own it’s gone. Anything below cabinet level in my home was gone,” Judge Chesson said

Everything was under a few feet of water.

First Baptist Church of Fannett, though flooded, decided to help those in need.

“Although we opened up the family life center the reality was the ground floor had 12, 14, 16 inches of water in it in places and so we were able to use the second floor,” said Scooter Wenner, pastor at FBC Fannett. “There was, I guess, five or six families that stayed upstairs in the family life center.”

Like Noah on the ark, the rain seemed never-ending.

“The thing that I remember the most about Harvey was those two or three nights that we stayed there just laying there at night and listening to the rain wondering if it’s ever ever going to stop,” said Wenner. “But it just kept raining and kept raining and kept raining.”

These experiences changed people’s views on storms and made them prepare for the worst.

“I’ve got flood insurance, for the time in my 25 years of being here in Beaumont,” said Gary Brice, a Beaumont resident. “So I’m resting more comfortably when I hear something like Harvey is coming.”

Harvey taught Southeast Texans a lesson, that even a “weak” storm can become something terrible, fast.

“Even if it looks like it’s just going to be a little rain, it could change on a dime and devastate my whole world,” said Brice. “Don’t get too confident, hubris is nothing that needs to be employed in the eye of an approaching hurricane.”

Like the Boy Scout motto, “be prepared.”

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