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Best Wishes:
Best wishes to our readers from the Houston/Galveston areas currently being disrupted by Ike and its aftermath. Hope you're all okay.
Albatross (www):
I've got a friend in Houston who got through with no damage to his house, but most of the city is without power, and it will most likely be that way for the next few days. He won't be reading this message, but I will be sure to pass it on to him. His cell phone still works (he can charge it from his truck), but his television and computer don't, obviously. He's been calling me for football scores, so I will let him know you send your best the next time he calls.
9.14.2008 9:11pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Seconded.
9.14.2008 9:36pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):
I'm sure many Gavestonians(?) are very glad for the seawall. Had it not been there, the 20,000 or so folks that chose to stay on the island probably would've been completely wiped out. Sure puts the 8000+ victims of the 1900 Hurricane into perspective....
9.14.2008 9:37pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
Yup, I'm fine!
9.14.2008 10:18pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
Friends of mine live in Pasadena, and are back at home with power, and not much damage. I guess living along refinery row has its advantages. No doubt they will get power back to those areas before many other places.
9.14.2008 10:43pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I have a relation who is bunkered down in Houston due to business reasons. His wife says he sounds "sad", downtown Houston being such a mess. Many office buildings have lost some or all of their windows. Losing a window during a hurricane means huge water damage. Debris all over the streets. Landfills usually have only one entrance, so the stuff has to be trucked to some other open space until the traffic at the landfill allows it to be moved YET AGAIN. What a mess.

OTH, I talked do a person in Iowa, which suffered severe flooding during the summer. She was in an office--they avoided the first floor by a jerry-rigged outside stair case and used porta potties. Iowa handled their flooding with so much aplomb and such a work ethic that hardly anybody heard about it. Something about not complaining, I think.
9.14.2008 10:48pm
Milhouse (www):
Beldar made it through, but isn't back to full-strength blogging until he gets power and broadband back.
9.15.2008 2:15am
LM (mail):
Yes. Best wishes.
9.15.2008 2:18am
BZ (mail):
Youngest son made it through fine, thanks. Rice University, with its system of residential colleges and relatively high elevation, had a plan in place early for shelter, which worked fine. Son and some other mechanical engineers were on sandbag and leak duty during the three-hour passage of the area of highest winds ("eyewall"), and the rest of the night. "The windows weren't just shaking; they were POPPING. Thank God for Plexiglas." They slept afterwards. Lots of debris, a few broken windows on campus, but he reports even his car made it through fine, though with a cracked turn signal cover. They pretty much had power throughout (Rice is next to the Medical Center with all underground utilities) and got water back yesterday. Without water they were using water-free facilities in some of the engineering buildings, but now they can take showers. Groups of students are now fanning out through Rice Village and other neighborhoods to help in the clean-up. I had to remind him not to wear flip-flops; told him about the coverage on Channel 13 showing that snakes blended in perfectly with hurricane debris (that seemed more effective to him than the worries about broken glass).
9.15.2008 10:25am
Houston Lawyer:
One thing about the internet, when you lose electric power, you don't have access to it.

I live on the South side of Houston, in a new subdivision in Pearland. We were in a voluntary evacuation zone, but we did not evacuate, since we are at least 40 miles from the coast and not near any obvious source of flooding.

Riding out the storm is a new experience. As many have said, if you didn't own property, it would be fun.

In my neighborhood, which is less than a year old, the trees and the cedar plank fences took most of the damage. The trees are the new ones put in by the developers so they didn't hurt anything when they fell. Although we had hours of winds around 100 mph, not so much as a shingle was missing from any of the houses in my subdivision. We have been without power since about 8:30 p.m. on Friday, but we have water and gas, which means we can cook and take showers.

Areas with established trees look far worse, and you've seen pictures of the coastal areas, which were devastated.

Most importantly, a cool front blew through the area on Sunday. It is extraordinarily pleasant outside, with the temperature around 65 last night. It will be miserable when we get back to hot weather without power.

I'm at work downtown this morning. Our building has a few cracked windows, but we are fully operational. Only the Chase Tower, the tallest building in the city at about 1,000 feet, has major damage, with dozens of windows missing on the East side, which I can see from my office.

They are bringing in lunch to the office today, since most of the restaurants are not open.

On Saturday afternoon, after the storm cleared, I headed West to spend the night at my mom's house, which is about 60 miles outside of Houston and has power. On I-10 we saw convoys of ambulances headed into the city with all their lights flashing. Although we did not need help, I cannot adequately describe the emotional response to seeing the calvary come in when it is needed. I heard additional reports on the radio of other people seeing similar convoys of repair vehicles coming in from all over.

We have learned a lot since hurricane Rita, when everyone panicked and created the world's largest traffic jam. This time, only the people who were in danger of the storm surge evacuated and the freeways were generally clear for them to do so. The local polititians and rescue workers have done an admirable job and every resource is being brought in to fix the things that need fixing. However, there is a lot that needs fixing, and people are going to get upset when it doesn't happen as fast as they would like.
9.16.2008 12:12pm
coolidge:
finally had power to my house restored yesterday afternoon. had been able to access the internets with a verizon mobile broadband card (never lost access so credit due there). had to ration use of the laptop in order to conserve power (laptop batteries are a joke). house is in central houston about 2 miles from downtown. house basically unscathed other than a little bit of rainwater that seeped under a balcony door and soaked a small bit of carpet. stood in line for an hour last night for some fajitas. best i've had ever. honest. most restaurants closed at 7pm to allow residents to comply with the 9pm curfew (ugh). gasoline is still in short supply.

not having power and water at full pressure hasn't been ideal in the couple of days after the storm, but it's nothing compared to what those who live farther south, especially in galveston face. i know i and most residents of the greater houston-galveston area appreciate the concern. great blog.
9.16.2008 1:56pm
DJ Jones (mail):
The convoy of ambulances on I-10 in houston on Saturday afternoon that all had their lights and sirens on was going to Memorial North East to move 22 ICU and NICU patients to other hospitals with power. They were all moved within 55 minutes with 15 ambulances. By the way, I was in that convoy. I came down from Arlington, where I am on a city 911 ambulance. I wish I could find that video that was on the news of us. I would like to know how it looks from a civilian standpoint to see all those ambulances running "hot" together. I think it really must have caught some of the drivers of guard because there were some people getting in between our trucks, even though they are supposed to get out of the way when an emergency vehicle is lit up. Anyway, I stayed for 4 days and lived on my ambulance with only the snacks I got before we got to Houston. Needless to say, the first thing I did when I got home was take a shower and then sleep. I was pretty stinky, lol. But we helped out a lot getting people moved around in the hospitals. I will return in the event of another, God forbid, hurricane comes through. As for now, Im back in Arlington running on the city ambulance. Thanks Houston for letting us help.
9.20.2008 11:12pm