Surviving Hurricane Harvey

Former student shares her experience


Former KGW anchor and West Linn resident Russ Lewis works in Houston at KHOU 11 News and reported on Hurricane Harvey and it’s aftermath as a news anchor as well as on his twitter @RussKHOU. Photo Courtesy of Russ Lewis.

Wreaking havoc over Southern Texas, on Aug. 26, Hurricane Harvey flooded homes, schools, buildings and changed the landscape forever.

When senior Sydney Lewis moved from West Linn to Houston, she never expected something like this.

In Portland, her mother was the assistant news director and her father was a news anchor at the KGW station . A sudden promotion led them to Texas the summer before her junior year. Lewis took time to adjust to her new environment, experiencing a few surprises.  

“I didn’t expect my school to be so large.It’s a quarter mile long and it has 4,000 kids!” Lewis said.

Working under her school’s rigorous schedule, by senior year, Lewis had enough on her mind.

“I first heard about the hurricane almost two weeks in advance, but I did not know how much

damage it would cause. I assumed it was just a storm, and it would pass very quickly,” Lewis said. “We stocked up on food, and filled up our gas tanks because gas stations began running out of gas. It was scary in that I wasn’t sure what was going on, because I had never experienced a storm like Harvey. Our district ended up closing school for two weeks.”  

Lewis’s parents stayed busy throughout the disaster. Being a major part of their local news channel, KHOU 11 News, they were working during the worst of the hurricane.

“My mom and dad did live coverage for a few days straight,” Lewis said. “They helped rescue people and made sure everyone knew what was going on, and told people how they could help others. Their courage, hard work, and dedication were very admirable during this time.”

Although the effects of Hurricane Harvey were primarily negative, Lewis tried to find the positive.

“Hurricane Harvey has brought everyone in my community closer together,” Lewis said. “People have made incredible donations to those affected by Harvey, and kids from our school were very supportive of those affected. Everyone was willing to help in any way they could, whether it was letting people stay with them or helping people clean out their houses.”

After the hurricane, Lewis was lucky enough to continue her schooling.

“Other schools weren’t as fortunate and had to shut down for the remainder of the year, sending their students to other schools across the district,” Lewis said. “Our neighborhood luckily did not flood anymore than a few inches. We definitely did not have the worst of it. Some of my friends from school who live in nearby neighborhoods were forced to evacuate due to the water levels.”

Hurricane Harvey changed her view and opened her eyes to the destruction, devastation and sorrow that hurricanes can cause.

“What I wanted to learn the most was to not take anything for granted, and I definitely think that throughout this experience I have learned that lesson,” Lewis said. “Some people lost everything they owned, and some people even lost a loved one. It’s important to be thankful for everything and I am truly glad that I did not lose my home.”

To help those who are suffering, Lewis suggests donating to organizations such as the Rebuild Texas Fund or the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.