Julie Niethammer sought alternative plans for her September 3 wedding in Houston on Monday after Hurricane Harvey flooded the location where her wedding was to take place.
“I basically have five days to plan a wedding,” the 2012 Dexter High School graduate said in a Houston interview. “We’re still going to try to get married somehow this weekend.”
Niethammer and her fiancé, Mark Choate, live in Chicago and began planning a marriage last November with a ceremony and reception at Shirley’s Acres, Houston, where he is from. But then Harvey, an unwanted guest, came early and spoiled their plans.
“We’re trying to come up with a plan b, but as it looks and all the flooding, this is a difficult task,” said Niethammer. “The other worrying aspect is that my family is coming here from Michigan. The airports are closed until further notice. “
“It’s kind of crazy,” says the Lansing native, who lives near Houston
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She was one step ahead of the storm when she caught a flight to Houston on Friday, a day ahead of schedule, but the storm had overwhelmed the area by Monday when a staff member at Shirley’s Acres called her fiancé with the bad news that their venue was flooded. She had two options – a different date or a different venue, but Niethammer notes that everything is flooded and that 60 of the 100 expected guests for the Texas celebration are from out of town. She asked for a refund.
“They said, ‘We can’t do this or we’d be broke,” she said. “I told them it’s not my responsibility to pay the damage, that’s what the insurance is for. It’s kind of a mess here below. “
After the airports and roads closed, the couple’s family got together to call friends, churches, and all sorts of wedding venues within driving distance of Houston. Niethammer was just as positive in a stressful time. Although she doesn’t know who can attend at this point, she only planned to get the bridegroom, who was still in Chicago, by her side so they could be together, wherever that may be, and get married on Sunday .
“We looked at the good side of things and said that as long as we are surrounded by family and married at the end of the day, it will be a great story!” said Riveter. “We had also already planned to hold a second reception in Dexter in November so that we can use this as our big event. The effects of Harvey hit Houston hard, but we’re lucky enough to still have a roof over our heads and power! “
Gina Hasty, a 1987 Fowlerville High School graduate, was also lucky enough to be in her mobile home in Dickinson, Texas, near Houston, where she lives with her three children and boyfriend, with electricity and no floods on Monday to have.
Harvey is the third major hurricane she has experienced. Hasty previously experienced Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Hurricane Ike in Galveston.
“You don’t want to follow me,” she laughed. “Wherever I live, go the opposite way.”
She and her family protected on Monday as the rain continued to fall. However, without evacuation, Hasty had a treacherous ride to a Galveston hotel where she is employed on Saturday. She drove off the road three times, could not see and watched as trucks drove up the exit ramps to get onto non-flooded access roads.
It was worse on Saturday night after she returned home, but she was stocked with plenty of supplies as she watched the water level and a radio that continuously broadcast tornado warnings.
“We don’t have a basement here because of floods,” she said. “We should just stay away from windows, get into the bathtub and put mattresses on top of us. We didn’t do any of these things because the warnings kept coming. We only hope for the best. “
Hasty believes a mandatory evacuation should have been issued for Houston and the surrounding area.
“It’s pretty bad,” she said. “Ike (2008) had more wind damage, but I never imagined that. Most hurricanes will be over in 24 to 36 hours and you will start to recover, but it will take longer … I won’t mark myself safe until Friday. “
Floods receded near her on Monday afternoon, but she described bizarre events that occur during such storms, including swimming fire ants, snakes, and alligators, among other hazards.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, her family evacuated her home and she moved to Michigan for a few months. But she has no plans to return to Michigan permanently, no matter how devastating hurricanes can be.
“It’s so cold in Michigan,” said Hasty, adding that it is usually time to prepare for a hurricane. “I prefer it down here because of the warmer weather. I can’t handle the cold. “
Ways to help:
Kelly King, American Red Cross executive director for the Mid-Michigan Region, offers three ways for people in mid-Michigan to help Harvey victims:
- Apply to become a volunteer who could potentially be deployed in the Houston area. For more information, call (517) 484-7461. Training in the Lansing area is expected to take place in a few weeks, King said.
- Donate to redcross.org or by phone at 1-800-Red Cross. To make a $ 10 donation, send the word “Harvey” to 90999.
- Donate blood to help remedy the shortage of the Red Cross during the summer months.