There is no place like home, even when home has just been battered by a 700 mile wide hurricane named Ike. I have spent most of the weekend talking to friends and family in the area and watching the online streaming coverage of one of the local affiliates and relaying the information to my mother and friends via text and phone. The damage is devastating in the south going towards Galveston. It’s been really weird looking at the damage to the area to I grew up in, I grew up in a city closer to the water than Houston.
No one in my circle experienced any major damage mostly tree debris. My mom said the storm was whipping around and she could hear the trees and debris hitting my house. Its really hard being this far away from home. I feel a bit helpless.
I have been homesick for a while now and being away from my home and my family and friends makes me feel utterly useless. As crazy as it sounds I really wish I was there. I’m sure I won’t wish that so much in the days to come without power. I’m looking for a place to put my mother now in the event there is no power longer than a week. A cool front is moving in, so won't be the sweltering heat of Houston. The cold front caused thunderstorms early this morning which caused the bayous to flood a few low spots and freeways in Houston, but the waters started to recede once the rains stop.
I’m getting ready to register my mother and I for FEMA assistance for the minor damage and cleanup what we have. It's easier for me to do from here online than for her to sit on the phone in the dark and wait. One of my aunts lost the roof at her apartment, but everyone is ok and found shelter elsewhwere.
FEMA’s response is a bit slow, but they are on their way, I know if the administration botches this it should be quite telling to the electorate or at least I hope it is. There seems to have been some confusion about distrobustion of water, ice and MREs and who would distribute the supplies the FEMA or the stae or the county. They seem to be working it out though. Loss of life seems to be minimal which is great considering the amount of collateral damage I have seen.
The estimate for restoration of power to the city of Houston is at 4 weeks right now, I think my neighborhood will get power before then. Other than loss of power and debris clean up and possibly a few minor roof repairs on my mother’s house we should be good. Galveston and its surrounding communities are not fairing as well. The island is currently closed with no water, no power, and no real idea of when those things will be restored. The island has been closed and is under a dusk til dawn curfew, as is Houston.
The last hurricane that hit our area was Alicia in 1983, I was 10. Needless to say a hurricane at 10 and 35 are two different things. I remember driving around and the tree debris, but it was not this dire. I could not even tell you how long we had no power but I don't think it was longer than a few days. I remember all the prep filling the bathtubs and eating canned foods, it was rough during Alicia but it wasn't like this. It's the same thing my mom says. I think that Ike, to me, is on the same level as the storm of 1900 many of the local news has said if it weren't for the Seawall the city would have been demolished, it seems most of the damage in the city is flood from the surge. Only the things that were on the seawall or in the water were destroyed. The surge picked up the Balinese Ballroom and threw it across the street as a pile of sticks. The ballroom had survived many major hurricanes including Carla who was a cat 5 I think in the 60's. The link shows you what it look like before and this link shows you what happened after Ike. There are landmarks like that gone all over Galveston. Houston lost a landmark to fire, Brennan's Houston a restaurant that has been in the H for 40 years.
Please keep all of the Southeast Texas in your prayers.