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Thread: We Texans batten down for a blow

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    We Texans batten down for a blow

    I'm 286 air miles inland from the coast but we just got put under a tropical storm wind watch for the weekend. We don't even have palm trees.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: We Texans batten down for a blow

    Good luck!

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: We Texans batten down for a blow

    John been following it all week. Just remember to duck. Good luck and be safe
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: We Texans batten down for a blow

    Well things are very calm in Dublin. Just a light shower last night. The storm is moving more east and with it the tropical storm winds that were predicted.

    Went by one of the RV parks which had filled up, hoping for some shots of people and to talk to them (possible news item). They were all inside watching television.

    We may start getting some wind and rain this afternoon but I suspect nothing very photogenic.

    I do fear from reports with the topping of the sea wall in Galveston we my lost many of it's historic homes. Jeanne and have gone their homes off and on for years.

    Well, you can see that was there in "The Galveston That Was", photographed by HCB.

    Hopefully this evening we will have much rain and wind, so I sip a bit of single malt scotch and nibble on dark chocolate by candle light.


    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: We Texans batten down for a blow

    Thought to check in with folks. I live on the west side of Houston, and we are just getting our bearings back at this point. Power went out at 3a on Saturday for me, and still has not come back on. To top that off, it has been raining heavily since 3a Sunday morning. Most of yesterday was spent with a chainsaw, rake, and fence fixing stuff....through the rains also. The west side was hit with the northerly winds and those were hurricane force for several hours early Saturday morning. Lots and lots of trees down and power out, but most structures are in tact. (I walked my immediate neighborhood and did not find a single shingle from a damaged roof, which is incredible considering the howling winds all night long.

    The downtown area and Galveston Island are a completely different story. The city and island are essentially closed. They do not want anybody in. Glass from highrise building scattered all over downtown. Lots of tree damage there also. The added rains we have been getting is now causing flooding that we did not have from the hurricane or storm surge. (Insult to injury.) Galveston Island was nearly completely flooded. The entire west end where there is no seawall was completely inundated by 12' storm surge. About 17 homes (on stilts to handle this sort of thing) were completely demolished and are gone. Another 10 or so burned to the ground when a fire started and fire fighters could not get to them at all. Really sad. The main part of the "downtown" Galveston area looks very damaged. Lots of boats tossed everywhere. Most piers and jettys gone. Huge boulders used for jetties are now atop the 17' high seawall in places. Power out. Water out. Cell phones out. No idea when they will be able to get anything restored.

    Flooding of the communities lining Galveston Bay is pretty extensive also, mainly at the bayou entry points, which got the storm surge on the way in, and now all the rain runoff on the way out. Wind damage is also severe, but more flooding problems.

    Power was lost on 2.1 million households across the city. They got about 112k restored by last night. (I am running on generators and folks across the street have power. Very strange. However, we got them to fire up the blenders for some frozen drinks before it got dark.)

    Other interesting item, yet confirmed, is that there have not been any reported deaths. Not sure how long that will stand, but considering the force and extent, that is amazing. They have stopped emergency rescues already, and have switched to sustain and repair mode. About 24 government "pods" with food, ice, water, showers, medical, etc., are being deployed in the hardest hit areas to provide aid and relief to those that stayed and survived. They want nobody on the roads if possible to let emergency workers get around and power repair crews to get their job done. (About 7,000 workers from other areas are coming in to help. Houston sends its workers to hit areas all the time, so it is nice to get help from friends we have aided in the past.)

    Well, sorry for the longish post, but wanted to check in and give some info. I did fire my espresso machine this morning for a starter, and that was wonderful. When the rains let up a bit more, I will be back out cleaning and fixing things and helping neighbors. Way more damage than I ever thought I would see this far from where the storm hit. (I am about 25 miles west of the city center, and 75 miles north from the far western tip of Galveston Island. Things have never reached this far from any storm before, so it was unusual. Ike remained Cat 1 all the way to Texarkana, where it finally left the state.)

    LJ

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    Re: We Texans batten down for a blow

    Good news and, well you know what else to expect and imagine...... The rains have stopped, and a cooler drier air mass is moving in. That will have our daytime highs in the mid-80s and nighttime lows in the mid-60s. A significant relief for many without power. (Trying to get a night's sleep in the swamp after working hard in sweltering temps all day is not what I would recommend to anybody.)

    On the flip side, FEMA appears to be fumbling the ball once again. Not going to make this a political discussion, but even the mayor of Houston, Bill White, who is very patient, diplomatic, and very effective, is visibly not happy with how FEMA is handling stuff. More is getting done by local companies with respect to supplying folks with water and ice. More is being done by community people helping others. FEMA has overtaken all operations in Galveston, and that is already causing grief. They "commandeered" all services to use themselves, but have yet to deliver anything to anybody down there. A real mess once again.

    On other concerning notes....Interstate 45 on the north side of Houston is closed in places due to high water from the last rains. Interstate 10 west of downtown Houston is completely flooded for a 3-4 mile stretch on both sides of the road, so it is closed. That is not helping to get things moved in or out of the areas of most need.

    From what I have been able to glean from local news, the refineries have not suffered much damage, and they are working to get them back online quickly. Power is still a problem, and then actually being able to get tanker trucks out of them to other areas is being hampered by closed roads and stuff. It will be another day or two until they can assess any damages and get back on line. Offshore rigs also need to be assessed before being brought back on line for production. (At least two rigs are just floating around in the Gulf after being ripped from their moorings during the storm waves that in places were measured at 25-40' in height.) Folks outside our area are already feeling the effects of increased gas prices, but a lot of that may just be panic/gouging pricing in some areas, as supplies are still plentiful across most of the country.

    Power outages are still the most vexing issue for many right now. Houston would not be here without air conditioning, and most of the city is now without that, and temps are going to be 85-90 today, but then cooling down the rest of the week. (If folks can suffer through today, it will be a bit more bearable during the week.)

    They keep showing more flyover footage, and I have to say, there is a lot of flooding and damage very widespread.

    The more interesting kicker.....four panels on the Reliant Stadium were torn off during the storm, causing major rain damage inside. (The Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens football game was postponed until November some time.) That stadium, at a cost of $750 million, mostly taxpayers money, was built to Category 5 hurricane strength, and the roof got ripped with a Cat 2 storm. Meanwhile, the old Astrodome right next to Reliant stadium that has been there for 40 years and was built before any code standards for hurricane strength, is untouched and undamaged from Ike. Guess there are going to be a lot of questions asked about Reliant Stadium construction after this ;-)

    Almost all airlines have suspended flights in and out of Houston's Hobby airport and Bush Intercontinental airport through Monday. The airports do not close, but all flights are suspended, except emergency stuff. There is still Ellington Field closer to Galveston that is the main staging area for military and rescue operations, plus many of the news and other copters fly out of there for storms and stuff, but there are no commercial flights until further notice.

    The Port of Houston and the ship channel are readying to resume business. All the big cargo ships get sent out during storms to ride it out in the western Gulf or wherever. They are already lining up to start coming back in to resume loading/unloading, and that includes petroleum tankers.

    I realize this is a bit of hodge-podge of comments, but it may be of interest to a larger scale as well. Personally, I have ridden out many hurricanes, including on small islands in the Caribbean that took direct hits. All are devastating. But Ike was such a huge, massive, storm that it has done damage over a much, much larger area than most would have expected, and to a much larger degree than the Cat 2 ranking would suggest.

    So, will get back to work on clean-up and helping others. There is a lot of photo op here, but honestly, that is not my priority at this point. (My PJ days are in the past, and I am happy to leave them there and lend a hand instead.) In the meantime, I cannot wait to see the brewing dust-up and "grading" of FEMA on this latest mess. They had the most warning and prep for this than any other area and storm, and in a city (Houston) that is not only remarkably self-sufficient and good at this sort of thing, and they are still showing amazing ineptitude. Excuses do not get folks back on their feet. Texans have a much more aggressive "can do" attitude and little tolerance for underperformance, so this should play interestingly in Washington one more time, despite the outgoing pres being from here. (Again, sorry for political comments, but living it, and seeing how things are being handled is way different than how things are reported later.)

    LJ

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