September 10, 2008

Houston, We Have a Problem

If you stumble upon my humble blog, and you live in Texas, I don't care if you live on the coast or not, you need to prepare.

Hurricane Ike is big. The storm tracking folks aren't so good at knowing at what speed it will hit, but from what I'm seeing, it is going to go INLAND as a Cat 2. It may hit as a Cat 4, but it will go way inland as a full blown nasty hurricane.

I'm talking Austin.

If you live in San Antonio, Austin, College Station, Waco, even something crazy like Dallas, and all the places in between, you need to be taking this seriously and you need to be preparing to lose power for a long time.

I cannot stress this enough. The coastal folks must leave and I'm glad to hear that some of my readers are planning to bug out and that Jerry will be gone in the morning, but this is a strong and deadly hurricane and a hurricane does not hit and then BOOM, dissipate.

NO.

It hits and keeps hitting and hitting and hitting until slowly it dries out... and that can take frickin' DAYS and days and days. A long damn time.

And there is going to be so much devastation that they will not get your power up quickly enough. There will be power folks waiting in the wings, but they cannot come in until it is safe. You'll have power folks from as far away as Washington State and Maine.... they will come and they will help, but they must wait until they can get to you... and getting to you is a problem on many levels.

EVERYONE that is on the East side of TX needs to prepare for being out of power.

Get ready. This has the potential to be seriously ugly.

Get ready.

**Update... there should be a post below this with a list**

Posted by Boudicca at September 10, 2008 09:50 PM | TrackBack
Comments

A couple of days ago I was worried about my niece who just moved to Fort Myers. Now I sit here in Dallas thinking "Dallas? I need to be worried in Dallas??" So, tomorrow's To Do list just got a whole lot bigger. ;~)

Kathryn

Posted by: TxAFbrat at September 10, 2008 10:57 PM

Well, hell. Now that blasted Ike seems to be headed my way. Freeport is almost in direct line with Sugar Land. Still not leaving yet - we're 45 miles from the coast, but in the projected path of the storm. I am more worried about living very near the Brazos River with all the rain that will be sure to soak us - too far inland for storm surge. We have very large levees (and pay dearly for them) and this area has never flooded before. Pray that remains so. Also worried about wind and our yard bordered with 20-30 foot palm trees. Yikes!

So far we are being told to shelter-in-place to allow the coastal residents to evacuate. Our school district hasn't even made a sure plan about closing when most others in the area have. Our county is considered an inland county, so all of our decisions are made at a later date than those along the coast. Our plan is to wait out the storm here unless officials say otherwise. Rita evacuation was a horrible nightmare - we only left then because it was predicted to hit land at Cat 5 and remain Cat 4. Ike hasn't summoned up that much strength yet.

If we are left without power for a long period of time, we have planned to either go to North Dallas and stay with my niece - if they have power - or go all the way to Wichita and use this as an excuse to visit my husband's family. All after clearing out the fridge and freezers, of course. Eww.

I will be working on laundry tomorrow, topping off my gas tank and getting additional cash. I have everything else - just need to fill up my water jugs. I have all my cool camping gear to get us through if we need it. Although, I never thought of the pie plates...maybe I'll make another stop at the store.

Since I'm in the heat of things here, I will try to keep you updated on the area as long as we have power. I know how you worry about everyone.

And yes, I'm up late. Went to the Astros game (big win!) and came home to a gimpy kitty and weather watching. Can't sleep.

Posted by: Momotrips at September 11, 2008 01:45 AM

Just remind people of how long Fay hung around... she wasn't a major hurricane, but dumped tons of water and just kept on going even after reaching inland.

Posted by: vw bug at September 11, 2008 04:51 AM

Kathryn- I know. I opened a map of TX last night and studied it, trying to figure out what cities were in the potential path and I definitely did a big *blink* when I realized that Dallas, as inland as it is, must worry.

Momotrips- You are like us... we don't evac. Its an absolute disaster trying to get 9 million people off this peninsula. Folks who live coastal MUST leave, so there's no reason for me to help 1) gum up traffic or 2) get stuck in that crap... to go through the 'cane in my car on the turnpike.

I forgot garbage bags on my list, btw. I'm adding them!

And yes, please please keep me posted in the comments. If you want, I can cut and paste them and turn them into a post.

I need to look at this morning's weather and see what has transpired.

VW- And Hanna. And Gustav... they just kept moving dumping water. People think that once its made land fall that ZAP! its gone. Good Lord if that could not be further from the truth.

Posted by: Bou at September 11, 2008 06:03 AM

Oh the pie plates are for cooking on your grill. You have no soap and water if there is no running water or hot water... so you want to be able to cook and toss.

Hurricanes are not "Green". For sure...

Posted by: Bou at September 11, 2008 06:07 AM

The day after Hurricane Gustav hit the south, five (5) power crews headed down from Western MA Electric in Springfield, MA (where my husband - J works) for a planned 2 week work-stay. J said this morning that they are on call to head to TX next and more will be coming with them. Even though we live in the NE we follow every TS or hurricane on TWC worrying about our friends and family (blog family too).

Posted by: Kelsey at September 11, 2008 07:49 AM

Kelsey- Oh the Linesmen become our heroes. Even our children talk about them. After a bad 'cane, they can be here for MONTHS. People cheer their trucks as they start rolling into the streets. I'm not kidding. And when a Linesman shows up in your neighborhood? Everyone wants to take care of them. I think my Mom always runs out and offers them something to drink and to see what she can do for them.

Its so odd... we start seeing trucks from all over. Maine, Washington, Oregon, Nebraska, all over... it becomes a game with the kids, "What state is THAT truck from?"

Posted by: Bou at September 11, 2008 07:58 AM

Kathryn- Oh and your Palm Trees are probably going to be OK. They fair pretty well through these as they are native. Its your decidious trees you need to worry about. They typically don't get thinned out and when the big winds hit them, its like hitting a big green wall... and then the tree either gets uprooted due to soggy ground or they snap, with their deep root systems.

Something has to give...

Posted by: Bou at September 11, 2008 08:02 AM

They are saying that it should move through pretty quickly and they are worrying less about flooding than with some storms. However, that is just conjecture at this point. They still have what looks like the eye passing right over my roof. Lovely.

The thing that really bugs me is that we don't have lumber to board up and my husband (from Kansas) keeps pooh-poohing my concerns. I don't really feel the need to board up the entire house, but we have a few large windows that are pretty unprotected. I know we will have dead palm fronds flying all over the place. Our yardman recently decided that our trees were too tall for his insurance and peace of mind for his guys to trim. Great, huh? My only bright spot in this is that if we get damage it is the best way to get the remodel on floors, etc., that I've been bugging the husband about. Always a silver lining if you look for it. Ha! Now if I can finagle new appliances in the kitchen somehow...

I also love that our inland "shelter" is in Dallas and it should pass right over there as well. Lucky us. If we decide to leave and go to Kansas to escape days and days without power and/or water, we may have to take the long way around West through Austin or farther so we bypass power outages which means no gas in lots of cases. This just gets better and better. We may need to stuff all five of us in my husband's Hybrid and leave the SUV behind just so we can make it most of the way on one tank of gas.

At least it is predicted to be only a Cat 3 on landfall, but the thing is HUGE.

Gotta run out for pie pans, gas and more cash, now. More later...

Posted by: Momotrips at September 11, 2008 08:11 AM

Momotrips- Get that radio. They will keep you posted on where the eyewall is and what you will feel. It is amazing... the weather people stay on and say, "OK, there is a band coming through such and such..." and sure enough, we'd start feeling a band.

Or "The NE eyewall will be passing over WPB in 5 minutes..." and 5 minutes later my house would shake rattle and roll.

Just keep the debris away from your home outside. Bring in all patio furniture, garbage cans, and anything laying around outside.

Also... I always get plastic containers to keep my important papers in. don't forget to take them with you. Insurance papers etc. I also put my photos in plastic boxes just in case.

Posted by: Bou at September 11, 2008 08:28 AM

Check, check and check. I'm working away and there's a honey-do list for when my husband gets off of work at 2:00. You'll appreciate this as an engineer - his company sent out an e-mail last night that they were going to close all of their offices on Friday, but that everyone should try to get in all of their weekly billable hours before they left on Thursday! Hahaha! Typical engineering firm garble - they rescinded that today.

Got all additional provisions - got lots of "foilware" and suggested it to my sister and several others at the grocery store. Everyone loved that idea - you're a hit here in Sugar Land, Bou!

Will keep a radio handy - we have a couple of clock radios/boomboxes and my husband has an MP3 with a radio so we're covered. I wish I knew if I will be able to text at all - I know that phone service will most likely be down and last time cells were jammed, but you could still text - that's how we kept in touch in our "evac caravan". My niece in Dallas is spazzing not knowing what's going to happen to us - she wanted us to come to her so she would KNOW we were all safe.

Continue to wish us all luck and keep us in your prayers. I'll update later.

Mel

Posted by: Momotrips at September 11, 2008 11:34 AM

Thanks for all the advice. I think we have most everything on your list taken care of, so I think we're in pretty good shape here in north San Antonio. It looks like the Houston side is going to take the brunt of this one, but we're pretty well prepared for whatever comes our way. Living in south Louisiana so long gave us some valuable experience. I still have several friends in Baton Rouge without power from Gustav. That has to suck - especially in this heat. Thanks again for your words of wisdom.

Posted by: Dash at September 11, 2008 02:19 PM

I'm on the home owners' board here at my condos. We just did a property walk through with the arborist about trees that need trimming - not because of Ike - just because they need trimming. We're looking at all our decidious trees and thinking 'holy cr*p!' If we get soaked and have high winds, we may be in big trouble.

Radio. Must get radio. I have one of those crank ones but it wasn't expensive and it works like it was cheap. Need a car charger for the cell. Just realized mine doesn't work. Let's hope it's the charger and not the outlet in the car.

Are we having fun yet???

Kathryn

Posted by: TxAFbrat at September 11, 2008 08:22 PM

You all may want to consider hiring your arborist once a year to thin out the trees. Its more than trimming.

They need to be thinned out so the air can pass through. We lost A LOT of trees with Frances and Jeanne. Wilma took the last lot. Now all we have left are Palm trees and short deciduous. Even then, we just hired a new yard guy, and he told us that it's time... our trees that we have left need some serious pruning. So that's on our list...

In all honesty, my husband and I should have tree guy come out every June and start thinning in preparation.

Posted by: Bou at September 11, 2008 09:16 PM

Ack!

I just wrote a big ol' update and munu lost it!

I'll redo it tomorrow. Gist - it's looking better for all of us in Ike's path.

Posted by: Momotrips at September 12, 2008 12:02 AM

Momotrips- When it does that, just do a right control back on your mouse and your comment will come back. Keep hitting publish until it takes. I hate it when that happens.

Today's forecast looked pretty scary to me! From the Hurricane blog, they quoted the Galveston Weather Service:

All neighborhoods... and possibly entire coastal communities... will be inundated during high tide. Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single family one or two story homes will face certain death. Many residences of average construction directly on the coast will be destroyed. Widespread and devastating personal property damage is likely elsewhere. Vehicles left behind will likely be swept away. Numerous roads will be swamped... some may be washed away by the water. Entire flood prone coastal communities will be cutoff. Water levels may exceed 9 feet for more than a mile inland. Coastal residents in multi-story facilities risk being cutoff. Conditions will be worsened by battering waves. Such waves will exacerbate property damage... with massive destruction of homes... including those of block construction. Damage from beach erosion could take years to repair.

Of course as a Floridian, I get irritated any time anyone talks about 'repairing' beach erosion.

Posted by: Bou at September 12, 2008 06:05 AM