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Storm Harvey brings out extraordinary and indefatigable spirit of Texas

It's been one week since Hurricane Harvey took its tortuously slow but destructive path out of the Gulf of Mexico and into this corner of southeast Texas.

Then it did something particularly cruel. It stalled. And it did so over America's fourth largest city.

Houston endured the greatest quantity of rain ever seen over the continental United States. And the city's rapid growth - with construction on the flood plains - meant that Houston was deeply vulnerable to a storm like this.

Harvey has devastated the city of Houston. Credit: AP

The last seven days have seen the challenge posed by extreme weather. But it's also shown us the extraordinary and indefatigable spirit of Texas. I witnessed many emotions this week: bravery, determination, deep faith, kindness and, of course, sadness. But I never saw despair or anger.

The storm brought out a sense of community and camaraderie that was inspiring. Neighbour helping neighbour. Firefighters working until they were asleep on their feet. An armada of private boats taking to the water to help in rescues and evacuations.

Twelve years ago I was in New Orleans covering Hurricane Katrina. The national response was a disgrace; the very poorest residents were abandoned and left to fend for themselves. The scars have still not healed.

The national response to 2005's Hurricane Katrina was a disgrace. Credit: AP

So we can take comfort that Houston was different. I spoke to the mayor yesterday. He rightly gave his city an A grade for its response to Harvey; and he says in six months it will be an A+.

In fact, Mayor Sylvester Turner is so confident that the legacy of Harvey can be overcome he invited me to return to his city after a year to look for myself. And he told me that if I could see any wounds remaining from the hurricane then I could hit him in the face.

He was kidding, I hope. But that the mayor of Houston could make a joke at the end of such a traumatic week is a sign of the city's pride in its strength and resilience.