Ten years ago the Rushford area received torrential rain, estimated to be up to 17 inches in spots, that flooded the community. The average rainfall for an entire year in our area is 34 inches.

The remnant of Hurricane Harvey dumped as much as three feet of rain on southeastern Texas last weekend with 15 to 20 inches more expected as of Monday. Houston is more tropical than Rushford, but still averages just a third more inches of rain per year, meaning the expected total rainfall from this storm will approach the 50 inches of rain Houston gets in an entire year on average. That would break the Texas state rainfall record and make it one of the most extreme rain events in U.S. history.

Rushford recently commemorated the 10th anniversary of the flood. The community has a lot to celebrate — a new school, thriving businesses and resilient residents.

Things looked bleak in late August 2007, but a combination of hard work, state aid, smart planning and perseverance — a theme of “never give up” — brought the community back.

The worst isn’t over for Houston, America’s fourth largest city. Rain was still coming down early this week when this edition went to press and it was expected to continue this week.

If only the rain that fell by noon Sunday were collected, the water would fill a cube two miles wide by two miles tall.

The city of Houston is slightly larger than Minnesota’s Houston County in land. Yet, with 2 million residents, that land has 100 times more people than Houston County does.

The mammoth scale of land, people and rain is mind-boggling. The scale of needs resulting from this extreme weather will make the recovery complex.

I have no direct experience with this type of flooding, but the ties are there. I purchased the Tri-County Record long after the flood receded, although I did help previous owner Myron Schober with a place to put together his newspaper during the weeks immediately after the flood. 

Houston was the last place I lived before moving to southeastern Minnesota, but that was 35 years ago. Still, I have a brother living there who isn’t flooded out, but has been stranded in his home for days because the neighborhood streets have been under water.

People in Houston are still in shock, just as people in Rushford were the day after the storm 10 years ago. Although the hurricane, and heavy rain, was predicted, few expected anything like what has happened.

Who could have expected what the National Weather Service reported Monday as an event that is “unprecedented” in which “all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced?”

However, already there are reports of dramatic rescues, volunteers from afar making their way south to aid beleaguered Texans, neighbors watching out for their neighbors and down and out people persevering through what may well be the worst flooding catastrophe ever recorded in the United States.

There is something about these natural disasters that often bring out the best in people.

Rushford showed what can be accomplished by a small community after a devastating flood.

The scale of a city as large as Houston makes replication of what Rushford accomplished difficult, and 2017 seem hundreds of times more contentious than they were 10 years ago with all the political fighting today, yet people will come together to rebuild Houston just as they did in Rushford.

When Rushford residents got together earlier this month to reflect on their 10th anniversary since the devastating flood, the emphasis was on celebrating what has been accomplished over the past 10 years and looking ahead at what successes are to come as the community charts its destiny.

Things look bleak in Houston today, but we can all hope local residents show the same resolve, optimism, cooperation and “never give up” attitude to come back as a vital American city looking ahead to a successful destiny in the decades ahead.