Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hurricane Ike

1900 Storm Memorial, Houston Chronicle
Five years ago.  Ike came ashore after midnight.  

We were weary and had fallen asleep, though not for long.   Wind so fierce, it howled and blew water through our closed doors and windows.  Dark, punctuated by green as transformers popped.  The trees gyrated in every direction, and many of them along the block uprooted.

After, the neighborhood turned into a block party, of sorts, as everyone fired up the barbecues and emptied their rapidly warming freezers.  

How long were you without electricity?  Those first few cooler days after Ike were livable.  When the heat returned, finding places with electricity and cool air became a bit of a game.  At the week's mark, though, it was no longer an adventure.  At two weeks, it was just damn miserable.

Brennan's had burned.  The Flagship, where I drank Shirley Temples over the water as a child, was laid bare and sagging.  There were yachts and big vessels sitting on I-45 South.  My friends closer to the water could look at empty spaces where neighbors' homes had once been standing.

    after-effects of Hurricane Ike in Texas        | ♕ |  The Flagship Hotel, Galveston, Texas after Hurricane Ike
artsandletters posted | photo by Terry Shuck: 
The owners plan to demolish the hotel and replace it with an amusement park. 

Every oak on Broadway along Galveston died from the salt, along with 40,000 other mature trees on the Island.  But better trees than people. . . like the 8000 who died in the Great Storm of 1900 Hurricane.

The Gresham house, center, now known as the Bishop's Palace, sits relatively unscathed behind a wall of debris following the hurricane that devastated Galveston, Texas, Sept. 8, 1900. More than 6,000 people were killed and 10,000 left homeless as entire neighborhoods were swept clean. Heavily damaged Sacred Heart Catholic Church is at right. (AP Photo/Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word)

Hurricane Ike was just shy of a Category 3, compared to the Category 4 of the Great Storm.  And we knew it was coming.  Still, I'm glad we sat tight.  Compared to the evacuation for Hurricane Rita?  Hell, no, never again.  (Well maybe if it was projected to hit land at Cat 4.  I'm no "red line" kinda girl.)