Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The aftermath of Ike

We went to bed last Friday night to try to get some sleep. Our power had flickered off and on several times, but went off finally at about 11pm. I woke up about 2am, when Ike was supposed to be hitting land. DH was already up and walking the house, checking the floor in front of windows for water. The sound of the wind and rain outside was impressive. We looked out at our back patio to see some blue styrofoam that had come from someone's house when the siding and other insulation was ripped away. We hoped it wasn't ours. As we watched, a sudden gust of wind sucked the the styrofoam straight up and gone in an instant. We were definitely seeing the 90+ mph steady wind with the 100+ gusts at our place.

Our front door was leaking water; the seal between the stained glass inset wasn't quite waterproof. With each gust of wind, water was forced through the seal and ran down the door. The pressure of the wind gusts made the door protest and howl. DH pointed out that it sounded like a kazoo. DH stayed up longer to keep an eye on the windows, etc, but I went back to bed.

Little Bit slept through the storm. Saturday morning, we were still going through the eyewall. We were probably in the eyewall for some 12 hours. Wind and rain for hours. Hoping that the builders of our 5 year old house had built it properly to the hurricane codes.

On Saturday afternoon, we could get outside to look for any damage. We were very lucky. Besides power being out, like 20% of Texas, we had some window screens pulled off and twisted. I'll have to post the pics from my camera phone later. One of our neighbors wasn't so lucky. They were the one whose wall insulation littered our backyard.

I felt so cut off from the world without power. No internet or tv. My cell phone charge was getting low as well, so I rationed calls. We don't have a battery powered radio (yes, we need to remedy that). We got some news from neighbors who had a generator. We heard that NASA/JSC would be closed at least this whole week, and thought about taking refuge somewhere with power. After a few days of no power in the Houston heat, with a bored 2 year old (no, I'm sorry, we can't watch tyee-vee), we decided to take the opportunity to visit some of DH's family.

The drive northward through the path of Ike was interesting. We drove here on Monday. Very few stores were open. The Target was open during the day, selling non-perishable items only. No gas stations had any gas. At first I was pointing out the downed trees in the aftermath, but then Little Bit picked up on it.

As we drove, we heard, "Un moh fah down..." (One more fall down...) over and over.

It was some 250 miles inland from the Texas coast before we saw "civilization" again -- meaning gas stations with gas (only two had gas, both with mile long lines before then), power, and open restaraunts.

Updated to add: on the drive north on I-59 we saw easily 200+ "cherry pickers" and other power/utility trucks caravaning southward in fives and tens. DH and I were both heartened to see so many heeding the call to help restore power to the Houston area.


staśa said...

I'm really glad you all are okay -- I've been thinking about you.

I can't believe Little Bit is two!!

Lots of love.

Avonlea said...

I know -- I can't believe Little Bit is two already either!