Hurricane Ike had my attention this weekend. I went to high school in the Houston area, in a small suburb right off I-45, between Houston and Galveston. My parents still live there and I also have friends who still live in the area. This was one of the areas that was hardest hit by Hurricane Ike. Thankfully, my parents and friends were able to evacuate further inland and avoid most of the destructive winds.
My parents are fine. I talked with my parents a few times since Saturday, and other than being without electricity (still), they are fine. They called me while they were attempting to get home Sunday and asked me about the road closures in the area. I got online and looked at the traffic reports and road closures and told them to turn around and go back to their friend’s house, where they were staying. Just about every major road that traverses Houston was shut down or had major delays due to flooding or debris in the roads.
They haven’t yet been able to make it back to their home to assess any damage, which if there is any, will hopefully be minor. Their house is on an incline several feet above the street level, and there is a giant drainage culvert several blocks away, so I don’t think they will have any flood damage. All in all, it looks like they will make it through without too much trouble – though I am sure they will come home to a nasty mess in the fridge and freezer.
My friend probably lost everything. My best friend from high school lives about a mile inland from Galveston Bay. He lives in a prefab house that is on a four foot lift and is situated on land that is 8 feet above sea level. When he called his neighbor after the eye of the hurricane passed, his neighbor informed him there was standing water at least a foot deep, maybe more, in the house. (that means flooding at least 13 feet above sea level, one mile inland). I’m not sure how much, if anything, will be salvageable.
When I talked with my friend about it, he was handling it very well. He had enough time to get his important and valuable belongings together and evacuate before the storm hit. Of course, he couldn’t take everything, and left behind a lot of belongings that were probably destroyed or otherwise ruined. He has hurricane and flood insurance which should cover most of the damage and losses. The important thing is that he and his family are safe.
The Houston and Galveston area cleanup could takes weeks. The early estimates state it could be up to two to three weeks before power is restored in the Houston and Galveston areas, and possibly longer in some of the hardest hit areas. Some people’s houses are completely gone, and they lost everything. My prayers are with them.
The effects of the storm were felt as far north as Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. Yesterday (Sunday), parts of Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio received sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and higher for over 4 hours (gusts of up to 74 mph were reported at the Cincinnati airport). Indiana and Illinois received torrential rains and some flooding.
We are without power. I live in southwest Ohio, and the winds were strong enough to take down large trees and telephone poles. A large oak tree was knocked down in our yard, but thankfully it missed the house. Several other trees were knocked down in our neighborhood, but luckily the damage was all superficial and none of our neighbors were injured. We are, however, without power… along with about 1.3 million other people in our region. There are some businesses with power right now, which is why I am able to post this blog – many thanks to Panera and free wi-fi service.
There are estimates that it could take up to 3 days or longer to get power back to everyone in our area. Hopefully, it will be back up more quickly than that.
I drove around for about an hour this morning looking for ice and a few other items. I couldn’t find ice, but I was able to buy some more candles and plenty of bottled water. I was also able to fill my car’s gas tank, but it took me quite some time to find a gas station with power. Luckily, I am able to work because our company has generators large enough to support full operations, so I won’t be stuck at home without anything to do for the next few days.
Thankfully, the weather in our area is expected to remain cool this week, so we won’t be too uncomfortable in our house. For us, this is just a minor inconvenience, and one I am not too bothered by. Some people lost everything; those are the people we should pray for.