Unlike many coastal residents who lost everything, or who experienced devastating losses, we came out of Hurricane Ike ok. A little traumatized, somewhat depressed and not at all happy being without power or regular phone service. But we are fine.
Our family won’t underestimate hurricanes again. Having experienced several near-misses over the last 10 years, we had grown somewhat skeptical of these storms, perhaps as a reflex reaction to the giant media hype which precedes each Gulf storm. Rita (2006) had Houston in a frenzy. Authorities advised thousands of people living in coastal areas subject to flooding, to evacuate the area. With visions of Hurricane Katrina in mind, thousands more people, from areas not subject to flooding of any kind, also jumped in their cars. The result was utter chaos. People found themselves stranded on the side of the roads many hours later, having run out of gas. It took 17 or 18 hours to make a journey which would ordinarily take just a couple of hours or so.
So when Hurricane Ike came swirling into the Gulf, we were concerned to the point where we bought extra batteries, non-perishable food, candles and filled up several containers with water. But we never seriously considered evacuating. Maybe we should have.
Experiencing the hurricane-force winds over a period of as many as 6 hours, from late on Friday night through dawn on Saturday, was a harrowing experience. In fact it was one of the worst nights I ever experienced. Kathleen and I did not sleep a wink, expecting to have a window or door to be blown in any second. I think what made everything worse was the darkness. We lost power just before 3 am, and not being able to see what was going on outside, while the wind was howling and the rain pelting down almost horizontally, was truly frightening. Other than for some relatively minor roof damage (shingles blown off), we did not sustain any material damages. We will have that fixed in no time. It will take a while longer to recover from the damage to our mental well-being.
On the positive side, the aftermath of the hurricane really brought our neighborhood together, with little groups of people sharing news, hot coffee, cold ice & speculation about power restoration. We even met a couple of neighbors down the street, for the first time. We have only lived in the community for 10 years... As for our urban camping experience, more to follow in a later posting. For now I have to deal with the 706 new e-mails in my in-tray.