Posted by: Travis | September 22, 2008

Trip to Houston: Hurricane Ike

Check out my pictures here.

Hurricane Ike turned out to be pretty wild (though, thankfully not as wild as it could have been). I was in Houston for the Vomit Comet trip and Rachel was supposed to come down and join me for the final weekend on my trip. Her flight was to arrive in Houston at midnight on Friday, which coincidentally, was exactly the time that the storm was supposed to hit. Obviously, her flight got canceled, which she was pretty upset about, but there just isn’t much you can do about the weather.

For those that remember, Hurricane Rita hit a few weeks after Katrina in 2005, so due to the disaster that went through New Orleans just a few weeks prior, people freaked out and cleared out of the Gulf Coast. It ended up doing a bit of damage in East Texas near Beaumont, but for the most part was a dud. So following that, and all the effort that people in Houston put out to evacuate, seemingly all for nothing, left people a little more cynical this time around. For Rita my family took 12 hours to drive from Houston to San Antonio and spent the night in my dorm room on their way up to Austin because there were no hotel rooms available anywhere. To avoid that mess, we decided to to stay at home and ride the storm out. A couple of my friends from college, Katie and Susan, who are now living in Houston also decided to ride the storm out, but with the storm bearing down on us got a little nervous and asked if they could ride the storm out at our house.

So i guess we ended up having ourselves a bit of a hurricane party. We cooked a nice dinner and had some wine, then watched a few movies while we still had power. We then switched on the news to find out that Brennans had burned down. Tragic. We lost power around 2am and decided to get some sleep. Around 6 i got up and walked around the house to make sure we didn’t have any leaks or broken windows. Got up around 9, ate a little breakfast, then went outside to survey the damage. Only one decent sized tree limb down in the front yard. Other than that, nothing.

We then took to walking around the neighborhood. Ended up at our church where the basement had about 8 inches of standing water. Luckily, someone saw this coming and rented a gas powered pump ahead of time and it only took a few hours to clean up.

After that i went with Susan and Katy back to their apartments to make sure that everything was okay, and for the most part it was. Susan had a leak in her roof that get her bed a little wet, but that was all.

I spent the afternoon out driving around, checking out people’s houses and offering help to those who needed it. You can check out my pictures here. I know the pictures look bad, but you have to keep in mind that this is the worst stuff i saw all day, so the data is kind of ‘cherry picked’ if you will. Things could have been much worse.

That evening we headed over to my grandma’s house to help her clean up her yard.

Obviously, my flight out of Hobby scheduled for sunday got canceled, so i rescheduled for a flight out of Austin on Sunday. After one miserable night in Houston with no electricity or AC, my folks decided it might be worth going to Austin for a few days anyway to stay with some friends. Anticipating tons of traffic with people thinking the same thing, we packed up the car and left at 6am on Sunday morning, just as Houston was beginning to get hammered by a thunderstorm. The visibility was so bad that we had to keep it under 40 all the way out to Brookshire. We arrived in Austin about 3 hours later to flip on the news and see the strip of I-10 that we drove through that morning under 10 feet of water. Pretty crazy.

I ended up making it back to Palo Alto in time to go out to dinner with Rachel’s aunt, uncle, and grandparents. My folks had a few days off in Austin. All in all we were ridiculously lucky.

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