Overnight, Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston, our city, with its unprecedented rainfall. More is to come over the next few days, but we are hoping that the worst may soon be over. Reports of flooding come in from all over the city, and the nation itself is watching this extraordinary event. Most of New Capital’s clients are in Houston, a number are in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and other central Texas locations that have encountered this awesome storm, as well as scattered across the United States. I am thinking about all of you right now, wherever you are, and hoping you are as safe and well as can be. Our family members and friends spread all over the country have been sending urgent texts as they watch the unfolding news of hurricane Harvey.
Our family is fine at home right now, a 1923 two story brick craftsman built like a tank in Houston’s Museum District. We are lucky and grateful, to be, for now, free of floodwaters. Unfortunately, overnight the rain came in band after band of storms, culminating in several of these bands stalling and then bonding together in a deluge of biblical proportions. Harvey, even more than the astounding tropical storm Allison before it, has brought too much too fast, and it is piling up all over the city, far too fast for our network of storm sewers, bayous, and bays to accept it as fast as it is delivered.
We are deeply rooted in the Houston area. Our family owns three properties in the storm’s area: our old home which we rent out, our current home two blocks away, and a ranch property between Houston and Austin. My parents own a home here and so does my brother. We own some commercial warehouses too. My parents’ old home, a home that was my childhood home and before that my grandparent’s home, sadly flooded multiple times over the years (it is located right next to Braes Bayou), so we are well familiar with floods and have felt their pain and trauma too many times. Our hearts go out to all of our friends, family, fellow Houstonians, and fellow Texans in this moment of need.
There will be many, far too many, who will experience loss and destruction from Hurricane Harvey. This storm has charged into one of the most populated and rapidly growing areas in the United States. From Corpus Christi to Houston, across to Austin and San Antonio, almost 20 million people will have experienced its power. In this time when scientists are constantly, insistently, and demonstrably warning that such storms could become more commonplace, it is incumbent upon all of us to at least consider, with open minds, the risks we are taking, whatever they may be, and whether they are worth it. As someone who is in the daily business of exploring risk and return, and cost and benefit, this exercise should always be primary to good decision making. Houston itself, a city which has always preferred liberal development practices, may need to adopt more conservative approaches in the future – but I will leave that to the engineering and planning experts. I have full confidence that this dynamic city, one of our nation’s fastest growing, and home to extraordinarily resilient, creative, industrious, and generous people from all over the world, will move forward from Harvey with even more determination to live in harmony with our Gulf Coast prairie, so that the storms which come our way contribute rain and cooler temperatures in the summer, without the destruction of valuable property.
I will do my best to communicate with you as advisable over the next days, and in the storm’s aftermath. We are ready to assist any client in need. I expect our office to be at least partially staffed this coming week, and everyone at New Capital is on notice to be ready to assist with any documentation, administrative needs, or simply to render advice. Please do not hesitate to ask, we will turn away no request that we can reasonably complete, whether that involves moving money or getting information for you.
As the rain continues in Houston, please put your safety first, and we wish everyone health, safety, and a quick recovery from hurricane Harvey.
With best wishes,
Leonard M. Golub, CFA