Praying for, learning from, Texas

Our prayers are with Texas.

Already ravaged by flood waters that are projected to continue rising for at least another day, some 50 counties in the nation’s second largest state, including Harris County, home to Houston, have been impacted by Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane that came ashore late Friday about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. The slow-moving storm has caused catastrophic damage with numerous spots in the region measuring more than 25 inches of rain and people running for higher ground, including rooftops, as the water keeps coming.

The scenario is all-to-familiar for folks in Sampson and other areas of North Carolina, where floodwaters, though not nearly as copious as those Texas is currently experiencing, have shown their destructive force time and again. We can all recall the devastation from Hurricane Floyd back in 1999, Irene in 2011 and, of course, last year’s Hurricane Matthew.

In each case, there was devastation. In the case of Matthew, people are still trying to rebuild their lives in many parts 0f the state, like Robeson County and even, to a degree, here in our own Sampson.

While Harvey is packing a far more powerful punch in Texas right now, where rainfall amounts could grow to over 56 inches, we can easily understand what residents there are going through.

We hope, too, that Harvey will serve as a reminder of the lessons we hope we have now learned from the hurricanes experienced here in Sampson, not the least of which is to have tremendous respect for weather we cannot control.

And that means heeding warnings and being prepared well in advance of the storms we pray never come.

As of this writing on Monday morning, just off the coast of Georgia sits an area of low pressure that weather forecasters are monitoring, expecting it to become the Atlantic’s next tropical depression or storm. By the time readers are perusing this editorial, it might actually be a full-fledged storm.

Heavy rain, gusty winds and high surf are expected from the Carolinas to eastern Virginia no matter how the system forms, and tropical storm watches have already been posted.

We have no idea yet whether this depression will turn into a tropical storm or hurricane, but we hope residents will pay careful attention, being aware that this kind of weather can turn quickly into something devastating.

And we hope residents will prepare when they are told to get ready, leave when they are asked to leave and plan ahead for the worst while still praying for the best.

No one wants to abandon their homes for higher ground or more stable structures, but when the likes of storms like Harvey are headed our way, common sense should overrule pride and stubborn will.

Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Texas; we pray for their safety even as we pray for the rains to subside. And here at home we pray that residents will be vigilant, keeping an eye out for the storms that might come our way and an ear to the ground for the warnings that just might save our lives and the lives of those we love.