Saturday, September 13, 2008

D/FW Dodges a Bullet; Greater Houston, Not So Much

First, the good news: All that Dallas/Ft. Worth proper appeared to get from the remnants of Hurricane Ike was a good few hours of (admittedly much-needed) rainfall. Sure, there was some wind, but nothing unmanageable; what was then a tropical storm by the time it got to this part of the state veered just east enough to spare us the brunt of its power. In a way, it was like those snow days that always get hyped around here in the winter: The storm's bark was a lot worse than its bite.

Greater Houston, of course, was not so lucky, and Galveston and other coastal areas appear at first glance to have suffered some devastating losses. Two million-plus customers without power. Windows busted out of downtown high-rises, with broken glass (and office equipment!) littering the streets. Brennan's Restaurant burns to the ground (that was the Houston outpost of a New Orleans legend; what that family has gone through in the past three years!), and the Houston Texans football team's stadium was damaged. Sure, most of Galveston's residents evacuated in time, but there will be a lot of work to do in the weeks and months ahead for the area to even approach anything resembling normalcy.

I got a call from Mom and Dad (who live just outside of Houston) this morning, and when I saw that the call was from their cell phone, I knew what they were about to tell me: They were among the ones without power; it went out about one in the morning. They're not sure when it will come back on yet, but they were hoping to at least find an open restaurant by tonight so that they could get some dinner.

My heart goes out to all the people who have been affected by this storm; hopefully, everyone involved will work well together and provide a smoother recovery effort than they had after Katrina. And for those who were lucky enough to have gotten by without too much damage, the Houston Chronicle reminds people to reach out to a neighbor in need. We Texans are famous for that, after all.

Powerful images There was a lot of great video coverage of Ike on the Weather Channel, but this short clip pretty much said it all for me: In an area of the Houston suburb of Clear Lake where the power had gone out overnight, the only light to be seen came from exploding transformers.

Cute kid quote of the day: "I falled in the attic." --Five-year-old Jack King of Galveston, while sporting a bandage on his head from an injury when he fell out of the upper part of his house (where his family had taken refuge from Ike) and onto the garage floor. Jack and his family (including his ironically-named dad, Lee King) were featured in this story over the weekend.

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