ATLANTA -- Hurricane Harvey has had a deep impact on more than just a city. It's left its mark on its people - and ours. That impact is seen many places - including this family that has left their home to seek shelter in ours.
Roxana Morales sits at home with her three daughters and her granddaughter.
Except it's not their home. They are with friends in Atlanta - hundreds of miles from their home in Houston.
"At least, for a week, until they say the highways are back open and we can go back in," she said.
A storm like Harvey demands massive decisions get made in a moment. Roxana returned from a business trip Friday morning to a three-word choice: Stay or leave.
"I said what are we going to do if we get flooded - if the electricity goes out - when we have option to leave," she said. "I would rather leave and come back with my whole family than risk their lives - my life - so that's what we did."
They spent the next 2 days driving and checking. The past 2 days, they have done what we have done - watch the stories flood in, the streets flood over and wonder what's next.
"It's just all of it - just not knowing what's going to happen tomorrow," Roxana said. "Not knowing."
Roxana works at the Atlanta office she still keeps years after moving away.
"It's been harder to concentrate, definitely," she said.
She built a business from the ground up - an accounting firm with a loyal base in Atlanta's Hispanic community.
"Our culture is like that - you find someone and you never leave them," she said.
Roxana wouldn't have left except for one thing - family.
"To be close to family. I was tired of seeing them twice a year - especially my parents," she said. "So that's what it was - to be closer to them."
Her parents are still in Houston.
"The rain just keeps - it doesn't stop," she said.
One day later, no one's closer to knowing the future.
"I call every night before I go to bed and I call every morning," she said. "To be honest, today, in the morning was the first morning where I did hesitate to call for some reason. It's like I don't want to call because I don't want to hear they're in water now or I didn't want to hear bad news."
Roxana's first instinct as a daughter and mother is as protector. It's a feeling shared by her daughter.
"The challenge is trying to keep her entertained and make sure I don't overstress with being 37 weeks pregnant and due any moment now," she said.
Clarissa is due with her second child in 3 weeks.
"Is the hospital going to be open? The hospital where I have everything ready - it's in Galveston," she said. "And if you've been watching the news, Galveston's underwater."
"We're all gonna have to pull together and help each other once all of this is over," Roxana said.
It's not over. But as they eat dinner at a favorite spot from when they lived in Atlanta, some good news starts to creep in.
"My home's OK," Roxana said. "Thank goodness, thank goodness."
Roxana's parents were able to leave their house and check on hers.
"They called me and they said water didn't [get] in," she said. "They went to the backyard and my back porch is still standing."
They recently returned to a restaurant where a moment of kindness touched their hearts. The last time they ate there, they were driving in from Houston - and in need of a little light.
"They saw my license plate and this gentleman asked me, 'Did you come from Houston? What area did you come from?'," she said. "When I went to go pay my bill, they told me he had taken care of it. And my eyes swelled up with tears and I said, 'Wow'."
That kindness was the first. Roxana has seen, along with stories of flooded streets, stories of heroism and humanity. On this day, the man who paid her bill last time is back.
"Hi, we're here again.Just wanted to let you know we got news from home and there's no water in our home." Roxana said. "Just wanted to tell you thank you so much ... We didn't even get your name."
"It's David ... it doesn't matter," he replied.
"Well thank you," she said.
Roads are still closed and storms are still coming. Roxana knows her family, for now, has gotten lucky. But they will, at some point, return to a city forever changed.
"Mixed emotions - scared, relieved, thankful," Roxana said. "It's just a lot."
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