'I'm hopeful': Vancouver pianist weathering Hurricane Harvey

A pianist from Vancouver who now lives in Houston says his home — and piano — have so far survived the pummelling winds and catastrophic flooding of Hurricane Harvey.

'This couldn’t be more different from the dry summer we had here in Vancouver,' says Jon Kimura Parker

Kimura Parker is an acclaimed pianist who studied at the Vancouver Academy of Music and UBC. He relocated to Houston to teach piano at Rice University. (Tara McMullen/Supplied)

A pianist from Vancouver who now lives in Houston says his home — and piano — have so far survived the pummelling winds and catastrophic floods of Hurricane Harvey.

But Jon Kimura Parker says he and his wife are still stranded in their house, as the flooding has wound through their street and pooled in their backyard.

"I'm hopeful," Kimura Parker told Early Edition guest host Stephen Quinn.

"We've survived the last two days and the water hasn't reached our house … but it just keeps happening," he said.

Kimura Parker is an acclaimed pianist who studied at the Vancouver Academy of Music and UBC, where he received an honourary doctorate.

He relocated to Houston in 2001 to teach piano at Rice University.

"This couldn't be more different from the dry summer we had here in Vancouver," he said.

Kimura Parker says he's started moving some valuables upstairs, including photo albums, file drawers and, most importantly, his wife's violin and viola.

But the fate of his piano — which is too bulky to move — remains in question.

Listen to the full interview below.

Scarce supplies

In the meantime, Kimura Parker has cleared the debris from the storm drains to help reduce the flooding on his street.  

He says he also watched with dismay, as the rising waters ravaged his neighbours' cars.

The view of Kimura Parker's flooded street, where water has crept up to his lawn. (Jon Kimura Parker/Supplied)

More than 35 inches [890 millimetres] of rain has battered Houston since the storm landed Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Officials have so far linked eight deaths to the storm.

Kimura Parker has lived through Hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008, but neither have been as ferocious as this storm, he said.

Houston has turned into a ghost town, with most business and schools shut down and supplies scarce.

"You literally couldn't buy a battery in all of Houston." 

Thankfully, his wife was able to pack batteries when flying home from Seattle, he said.

Their house still has power, but they're preparing to rely on flashlights.

"There's a lot of people who know their house hasn't flooded in previous floods," Kimura Parker said.

"And I'm one of those people hoping that's still going to be true."


With files from CBC's The Early Edition