Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Endure: Hurricane Ike (Part 2)

Tuesday ends, and most of the city is still without power. Water is back up. The phones and gas have always been on.

Traffic on the way to work was very light. Nearly all the stoplights are non-functional, though the roads have are also all nearly cleared. What tomorrow brings is still impossible to predict. Wednesday 17 September will not be as certain as 10 September was.

I'm using the words "most", "nearly all", and "virtually all" a lot, because those are accurate terms to use. Most businesses operated at less-than-optimal capacity, if they were open at all. When gas stations have gas, long lines form. Grocery stores close early. Laundromats close early. The curfew is still in place.

Ike was just a Cat 2 storm! It was a Cat 1 when it passed over Houston proper. Imagine what havoc Rita would have caused!

Today is Tuesday, and four solid days have passed since conventional business is possible. What is impossible is the ability to buy groceries and gasoline while holding a regular 9-5 job. Right now, individuals must choose between going to work at regular hours, or buying gas or food.

I did not imagine this happening. I did not imagine the evisceration that would happen in the aftermath of the storm. All this from a Cat 2 storm.

All this instructs us to know that one cannot depend on power, gas, and food deliveries at least four days after a Cat 2 storm. When we recover from this storm, we should keep in mind what we would need to prepare for, when a Cat 5 storm comes along.

My best wishes to those repairing the electrical grid, cleaning the streets, and trying to see to their property.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Endure: Hurricane Ike

First, major thanks to Pam and John Odom. They took my sister, my roommate, and myself into their home, for the hurricane. I cannot thank them enough, and hope that we as guests can return the favor one day.

The part of the hurricane's aftermath that affected the everyone was the lack of power. As I type (5:11 pm Sunday 14 September), power has still not returned to much of the city. Combine that with the awfully humid, still weather Saturday night, has produced a unique misery.

Houston is in shambles. While most buildings suffered little damage, many, if not most trees have been severely damaged, if not out-right downed. Roads have tree trunks across them, making driving a kind of dodge 'em affair. Traffic only continues to build from the virtual ghost-town of Friday towards the back-to-business-and-them-some of...Monday? Tuesday?

Schools are closed for Monday, some open Tuesday, most by Wednesday. The Galleria was open this afternoon, and is packed. The food court especially has astoundingly long lines. The Taco Bell on Gessner had a line out onto Gessner southbound. If a store is open, it is packed. Anything to get out of the house.

Before Ike hit, I was thinking that so far, people in the area are acting based on the lessons they learned from Rita. There was no panicky evacuation. Everyone prepared, some got out, some hunkered down, and we'll bounce back.