Hurricane Harvey: A Personal Account

Hurricane Harvey: A Personal Account
Photo Credit: Beth Crane, Texas

Hurricane Harvey is disrupting or devastating the lives of close to 10 million people, and at least one family and one individual with Loudoun County ties are caught in the storm’s wrath.

Brian and Beth Crane raised their two sons while living for 14 years in Ashburn. They moved about a year ago to a suburb just North of Houston when Brian left the government taking a job with one of Houston’s large oil companies. Their sons, Dylan, 23, and Seth, 21, are not with them but daughter McKenna had just finished her first week of fourth grade when Harvey made landfall.

“There is so much devastation,” Beth Crane said. “One of Brian’s co-workers is up on her second floor and she can’t be rescued. We went through hurricanes when we lived in Mobile (Alabama), but I have never seen anything like this.”

Crane said her home is dry, but they haven’t been able to get out to buy groceries.

“Our subdivision isn’t flooded but all the roads are flooded from about 100 feet from our subdivision,” she said. “We can get on the toll road, but all the exits coming off the toll road are flooded.”

She said when the first reports about Harvey were coming in, the storm did not seem too serious, but as it approached she became much more concerned.

“They first started saying it was just a tropical storm or maybe a Level 1 hurricane, not Level 4,” Beth Crane said. “We figured it was going just be a lot of rain, but not like this.”

Dylan Crane, who was a basketball star at Pensacola Christian College (PCC) and now runs camps and clinics through his local Loudoun based company 24/7 Basketball, is actually back in the area running private training sessions in Leesburg. Seth Crane was supposed to leave Saturday for his senior year at PCC, but he left Friday instead to avoid Harvey.

“He made it out before everyone started evacuating, so he made it OK,” she said.

“We’re just so thankful that we are in a subdivision that is built up higher and the drainage system is accommodating all the rain, which is amazing. So many people around us – we heard helicopters all last night and we could hear boats going to try to rescue people.”

Chris Rufner grew up in Centreville but moved back to Virginia after a stint in Virginia and lived for several years in Sterling and Ashburn. He was stranded at a friend’s house and wasn’t sure when he would be able to get back home.

“I went to a buddy’s house Saturday to watch the (McGregor-Mayweather fight) and I figured it would OK to still to get home Sunday,” said Rufner, whose brother, Jason, still lives in Sterling. “But it rained all day Saturday and, well, it was all over by Sunday. I was stuck here.”

Rufner said he went through hurricanes before, including when he was stationed in Pensacola with the Navy. But Harvey is on another level.

“Katrina II–go ahead and call it that,” he said. “Now they are calling it an 800-year flood. I tell you what, I moved down here three years ago and it has flooded every year. I think they should just start calling it the yearly flood.”


If you’re interested in donating to the Red Cross to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10. No credit card needed, as this is a carrier billing campaign, meaning the donation will be added to your wireless phone bill. Check with your carrier to see if any additional texting charges apply.

Joseph Dill