All of us have been watching the destruction of what was Hurricane Harvey, and many of you know people that have lost homes, cars and much more. We were very lucky in Bryan/College Station, experiencing much less rain and very little flooding, however the effects of this massive storm will not be lost on us in the coming months.
The damage from Harvey is catastrophic and will go down in the record books as the most devastating hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004, says CNN. With the massive loss and destruction to one of the largest US cities the ripple effect will be felt for months if not years to come.
As Houston begins to dry out and assess the damage, life will go on outside of that area. There are many things that will affect business in our community for quite some time. Bryan/College Station depends on goods and services from Houston on a daily basis. Our mail service is one of the most significant. Even our local mail goes to the main USPS center in Houston and according to their website, service for 778XX has been cancelled indefinitely. Without mail, business slows; although many things are done by ACH or credit card, a significant amount of bills are still paid with checks by mail. This will affect how, and how quickly we do business for at least the next few months. One must also consider anything that was “in-transit” during the flood; including much needed medications. These items may never be recovered.
Goods and services will also be affected. Owning restaurants, we have already been impacted by flooded warehouses in Houston. Many goods cannot be shipped out due to flooding which is obvious but also goods cannot be shipped in! Many of our vendor’s warehouses are not currently under water however are unable to accept product due to flooded roadways, thus preventing or delaying supply to areas such as ours. Many restaurants here in BCS may be out or short on food products, beer, liquor and wine for weeks to come.
Fuel is another concern that we must consider in the coming weeks. Some of the largest refineries in the country are located in Texas and have been shut down due to Harvey. Phillips, Exxon, Shell, Petrogas, Mobil and Phillips 66 have all temporarily closed refineries, says Patrick DeVaan of Gasbuddy.com. Industry leaders say the closing of the Houston shipping channel will also greatly affect prices and availability in the coming weeks. Prices are anticipated to rise at least 25 cents a gallon.
The potential for pests is one of the un-spoken threats of flood waters. Even with the rain totals and minor flooding we have had, pests will be seeking dry places to live. We will see an influx of roaches, mice, rats and fire ants says the CDC. To insure a safe environment we must be vigilant; do not leave food or wrappers out, have your pest company treat the outside of your home or place of business, and close up any gaps in siding or brick. Create a barrier they cannot breach.
The news is not however all gloom and doom! Hopefully local businesses will search to purchase product locally during this time and perhaps after. We are also perfectly positioned to house and host refugees from Houston and surrounding areas. We may experience a significant influx of people temporarily living in our community. If this is the case I know that we will be gracious and friendly hosts. Bryan, College Station is a community of caring and loving people with the biggest hearts I have seen anywhere. There is already an outpouring of support for our southern neighbors. The local charity, Books and a Blanket, is holding drives around town, JBG Plumbing has teamed up with Amico Nave to collect and distribute pet supplies to shelters and vet clinics housing displaced animals and The Taste of BCS is donating $10,000 in $100 Gift Cards to local restaurants for displaced families, and much more. The events of the past 5 days have shifted our focus and perspective but the next few months will shape the lives of millions.