Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Thoughts

Hurricane Ike aerial view

I have officially weathered my first hurricane in Texas. Ike made landfall late Friday night along the coast, then began to move northward toward us. We were wakened Saturday morning around 5:30am by wind whipping around our house. The kids came to find us and shared space in our bed for a few more hours, while we listened to the moaning through the crack in the back door.

The sounds and the sensation of being blown by the wind (although our house stood very sturdy) showed me how a hurricane can, indeed, have a personality. It was as if a malignant force settled over the street and the house, threatening anything in its path. I can only imagine if the wind had been stronger, or the rain more... rainy. Brazos County officials reported this as a "brush" with the true force of the storm. If that is true, wow.

I am kicking myself at the moment that I did not think to pull out my phone and take a photo or two of our tree bowing in the wind. Found out later that we experienced about 3.3 inches of rain, and sustained winds of about 50 MPH, gusting up to about 70 MPH. It was predicted to be even more intense, but at the last moment the storm turned a bit more to the east and we were west of the eye by about 30 miles, I think. Ten hours of rain and whipping wind were quite enough for me, thank you very much. This isn't my palm tree, but it conveys some of what we felt.

Ike made his presence felt from Texas to Canada, dumping rain and downing power lines in a powerful sweep up through the central states. Even my parents in Ohio experienced Ike's fury, as they spent about 48 hours without power. What in the world, that a storm we experienced in Texas would 24 hours later be knocking on their door?!?

As I mentioned in my previous post, we were able to fulfill our role as a safe haven for thousands fleeing the coast. Additionally, in the wake of the storm, most of the rural counties surrounding us have lost power. More than a million and a half customers in Houston are still without power. And residents of Galveston, well, it sounds like there just is nothing left to go home to.

Our community continues to provide support for those who are still trying to work out their next steps. Those in the rural counties are driving here for groceries, and gasoline for their generators. The streets here are busier than usual, but we are all just so grateful to have experienced such a slight disruption in our own business.

I did decide to go out today to fill my tank, as lines have been long this week but are lessening as Houston begins to reopen for business. I think the surrounding counties are beginning to come back online, although there will be many without power for as long as two to three weeks. We were fortunate indeed, and I hope to remain aware and grateful for the blessings I have.

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