This article provides snapshots of the events that occurred at St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Tex, a 954-bed acute care hospital, and the responses of nurses and other hospital personnel to their mission of caring and service during the disaster precipitated by the tropical storm Allison.

Houston is accustomed to tropical storms and their accompanying rain. The city’s great bayou system (24 m [80 feet] deep at some points), intended to accumulate and disperse enormous quantities of runoff water, was thought to be adequate to handle even the most severe storm with only minor damage and inconvenience. But in early June 2001, a storm named Allison changed all that. Unprecedented devastation occurred due to flooding from the constant heavy rain over many days. Neither wind nor a great tidal surge occurred; only constant rain of biblical proportions (Figure 1).

The Texas Medical Center comprises the largest complex of...

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