Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Ike Story

My wife and I stayed in Houston through Ike. We lost power at about 2 am on Saturday morning. The winds were incredible. We stayed in the lower floor of the house to avoid flying debris coming through the windows. We had some water come through in a few places, but nothing more than a towel could handle. Our house was built in 1939 and held together nicely.

By about 10 am on Saturday, you could go outside but it was windy and raining a lot. We were able to get the dog to use the bathroom a few times as needed. By about 4 PM, I was able to get my generator running I had 5 gallons of gas that I had bought on Friday. I waited in line on Friday for 1.5 hours to get a generator... when we got into the store (a Home Depot about 25 miles from my house), we realized we were probably the 5 or 6 generators away from not getting one.

The generator ran out of fuel at about noon on Sunday. I didn't run it past about 9 or 10 PM at night, since it is very loud and I am sure the neighbors weren't happy. I was able to keep the fridge cool by running it 7 or 8 hours during the day time. I went out on Sunday to buy fuel and couldn't find a single open gas station for about 2 hours. Finally I found one and waited in line 1 hour to buy 5 gallons of gas. I also topped off my tank.

Monday and Tuesday progressively got better. On Monday, there were about 2 stations that had gas. On Tuesday there were 5 or 6. On both days, I spent about 2 hours locating and acquiring fuel for the generator.

My wife and I had food in the fridge and plenty of wine to drink. We didn't go hungry and had water and natural gas the whole time. We were able to cook, take hot showers and see by candle light at night. On Tuesday night the power came on for 15 minutes. Then we heard a huge explosion nearby. A transformer blew up. We had the entire fire department 2 houses down for about 15 minutes. Everything was OK, but there was no power again.

On Wednesday, half of the stations in Houston had gas. I was starting to run out, but I had a good feeling the power was going to be restored. That leads me to now...

The power was just restored 1 hour ago. The generator ran out of fuel about 15 minutes after that. I could have bought more gas, but I had a good feeling things were getting better.

The news out of Galveston is grim. My wife and I considered buying a house there a few years ago. I am glad we didn't. It would have been nerve racking.

The office is still without full power. Hopefully it will be back up tonight. The building took damage, but there are boards now covering the windows that blew out. We are on the 10 floor and I heard the storm was a category 3 (130+ mph winds) there.

My wife and I decided that next time, we will leave. It just wasn't worth it. I have never been as afraid for my life before. I looked out the window int he middle of the storm and couldn't believe the houses were staying standing. I can't imagine what a Cat 5 would have been like. I don't want to.

I hope everyone else fared well. The weather that came this week was a blessing. Typical Houston weather would have been unbearable without power. We were very lucky in many ways with this storm.

Our house has no real damage. The house across the street had a large tree fall on the roof. They are bringing in a crane to remove it and the house is not inhabitable at this time. They will need major repairs.

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