Hi all.....thanks for the many birthday wishes and concerns. I appreciate
it very much!!! Needless to say, this was a memorable birthday, not one that I
would want to repeat though, not any time soon....if ever.
Wow, how much we take the everyday things in life for granted. Boy does it
feel good to have electricity back after 9 days!!! We are lucky, there are
still over a million in the Houston area without it, and we were also lucky to
have a bit of a break in the heat right after the storm....having to live
without A/C, ice, etc.
We were fortunate to have running water, and gas stove instead of elect. so
we were able to light the stove with a match to cook much of the food before
it spoiled. I sure learned a lot about what to do prior to a storm that
nobody usually tells you about....such as empty as much of your freezer and
refrigerator as possible the days before a storm is to hit.......even if it
doesn't come your way, at least you have a clean frig. LOL But we were always
told that a full freezer keeps the food longer....HA, not for 9 days....despite
daily visits to the FEMA trailers almost 20 miles away for ice, etc.....of
course much of it was melted by the time we got home....but every bit helped.
Apparently FEMA didn't think the surrounding Counties other than Galveston
and Harris needed supplies....but that is another issue. Luckily as power was
restored to many businesses closer to us, we were able to get a little ice
through their generosity.
They said that Ike was only a Cat. 2, however the storm was as large as most
Cat 4 storms, and thus had the storm surge of a Cat 4 or 5. This became
apparent on Friday morning, 20 hours before landfall, when Galveston and the
coastal areas were already experiencing significant flooding due to the tides
being much higher than usual. By noon, 12+ hours before landfall, the experts
were saying that the flooding was worse than they had seen with Edouard, Rita
or even Alicia. The city of Houston, although not directly on the coast,
was bracing for the worst by then, because all the storm drains from our
streets (Houston and surrounding counties) flow to the many Bayous, which in turn
flow into the Gulf. The Bayous were already rising prior to the actual storm
surge getting there.
The winds picked up friday afternoon, by friday evening we had already lost
power. We were right on the edge of the eye, so our winds never did let up
at all, except changing directions. The back half of the storm had much
higher winds, in excess of 100 mph, which did the most damage to trees, houses,
the downtown Houston area, etc. The storm surge was much greater than anyone
could have anticipated. All in all, many paid too much attention to the
"Catagory 2 rating" and didn't anticipate Cat 4 or 5 strength winds and surge.
Far too many didn't evacuate thinking that they had riden out many Cat 3
storms, so a Cat 2 would not be so bad.
On a personal note....we did suffer a bit of damage with the storm. We
didn't flood, although the water did come into the house a bit, but not bad enough
that we were not able to keep a handle on it. However, our neighbors huge
tree just blew apart and most of it landed on our yard and roof. Of course at
night we didn't realize much, since it was at the other end of the house.
There was so much noise, we didn't realize what really was happening, and with
the pouring rain and everything pitch dark, was hard to see what was
crashing where. The next morning we looked out the window to see a lot of debris
all over our yard, all the fences down, and the back yard flooded. Did see a
spot on the cieling in the living room dripping...put a bucket under it. It
was still pouring continuously and tropical storm force winds that day...but
we went out several times to try to locate the box turtles that we were unable
to find the days before the storm to bring in. Did locate all but two,
unfortunately. DH saw a huge branch on the roof, that had pulled down the gutter
to my office....through the rain and debris, and at an odd angle it didn't
look like too much damage to the roof other than several shingles damaged, and
some shingles gone. Came inside to find that the cieling had fallen in the
living room, and then heard another crash, the cieling to the office came
down. We then saw that the plywood sheathing had areas where it had caved in
from the large limbs hitting the roof. You could see clear out to the sky.
Anyway, needless to say, we spent the next 4 days putting up and securing
tarps on the roof, moving tons of wet things, a lot of books that I didn't want
to part with...so I put paper towels between each page to absorb the water.
(Had learned that from a flood we had 20 years ago.) Unfortunately I did
find damage to several old family pictures.....that probably hurt the worst.
DH moved furniture and cut out the wet carpet and removed it. Needless to
say, our house literally looks like Ike marched through it. We have boxes,
books, papers, etc. stacked on every chair, table, and any other surface one can
imagine. It's like a maze getting through the house. Definitely a good
thing that we dont' have to "show" anything at any plant shows for the next
months, because if I thought my plants weren't perfect before....you should see
them now. (smile) No, it's not that bad....despite how terrible disastrous
the yard initially looked, after removing an awful lot of debris, a lot more
survived than didn't and hopefully will bounce back nicely. The shrubs and
trees are very lopsided, and many needed serious pruning to cut out the
damaged limbs, but hopefully in a year or so it'll all be back in shape. However,
despite all this, we were very fortunate......we still have a house, we
still have our lives, our "kids" are fine (although shaken up)......there are so
many that sustained far more damage, some not even having a house to go home
to. And countless people still unaccounted for.
Like many others, I still can't sleep through the night, waking up with
every noise.......but that too will pass.
Anyway, thanks again, and please keep the folks here that are less
fortunate, and those in other states in your thoughts and prayers.
Texas Gulf Coast
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