A couple have returned from America after being stranded by floods caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Mike and Meg Perry, of Kingscliffe Road, Grantham, got back from Houston, Texas, on Tuesday, after visiting their son and his family, not knowing that a few days later the streets would be under several feet of water.
The couple flew out on August 23 to see Tom and his wife, Cameron, and their two young children, the youngest of whom was only born six months ago. They intended to stay for a week but the hurricane closed the airport and their stay was extended to a fortnight.
The couple and Tom’s family decided to evacuate the house, 25 miles from Houston, to another house on the estate. Once the hurricane hit, the flood waters began to rise and came to within an inch of flooding Tom’s house. They moved to a friend’s house only 400 yards away but other homes nearby were devastated by the rising waters.
Mike said: “I feel it was almost fate that we were there because we could help them move the furniture upstairs. We put sandbags out and towels around the doors.
“We do wonder how they would have coped on their own with the kids, trying to get back to the house for clothes and food. In a way it was satisfying to be able to help.
“We didn’t get much sleep at night because we were taking it in turns to watch the water rising outside. You could see it inching up the path up to the front door. But we were lucky. It stopped about an inch below the step. Much of the rest of the estate was devastated.”
The hurricane dumped torrential rain almost continually for four days. Occasionally Mike would wade back through the floodwater to Tom’s house with a rubber dinghy to collect belongings and food.
One of the main worries of householders was looting and there were signs that looters had attempted to break into houses.
Mike added: “I am naturally optimistic so I never really felt we were in any immediate danger.
“But the concern was for the kids. You are concerned you are going to run out of fresh water or food. We filled bottles with water just in case and we went back to Tom’s house for tins of food.”
Meg said: “We feel really lucky. There were people just three doors away whose homes were devastated.
“We spent three days in the house living out of the cupboard. When it cleared we went back. It was a complete mess. Everywhere was covered in mud.”
Despite the devastation of the hurricane, which claimed more than 60 lives, the trip allowed Mike and Meg to get to know their six-month-old granddaughter and see their two-year-old grandson again.
Mike said: “In some respects it was both the worst and best holiday we have ever had!”
Mike retired a year ago and he and Meg are looking forward to a trip to China later in the year. Tom has lived in America, where he is an accountant, for 11 years and met Cameron when she was a student at Harlaxton College.