Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Hurricane Ike

Just back from holiday, where we were enjoying the sun, scenery and food in the Dordogne while son Hugh and belle-fille Maylis were battening down the hatches and preparing for Hurricane Ike's arrival in Houston. We managed to catch a bit of news of the approaching hurricane on the internet in one area, but when Ike struck were out of luck with any wifi connections so it was down to texting to keep in touch with them. Here's the story as it unfolded by text message between Hugh & me:

11th Sept

Hugh - Ike here Friday night south of Galveston; 700 miles wide so impacts here! Evacuating low SE Houston areas. Office closed Friday.
Joyce - Ike sounds scary, exciting? Will keep an eye on any news we can get but let us know how you are getting on.

12th Sept

- All prepared for tonight. Shouldn't be any problems. Could lose power, so don't owrry if no reply. If you find a payphone text the number and we can call you.
J - Call box only for outgoing calls so stick to texts. Are windows boarded? Take care and let us know you are OK.
H - Nodbody's boarding windows here. Have food, water, batteries, radio, fuel. Could flood so BMW (his swanky car!) to go to multi-storey car park. Hope Mazda (Maylis's car) will be OK!

13th Sept

H - 22.30: winds getting very gusty. Keep having brief power cuts, so would say very likely we'll lose electricity. Mobile phones may be OK. We'll see.
H again - Made it through the night. So windy! House shaking. Still windy but not bad. 10 inches of rain. Street flooded. Power went 11 pm. Radio says nearly 2 million without electricity. Could take weeks to restore! Keeping phone mostly off to conserve battery.
J - Thanks for update. Sounds scary and guess you didn't sleep much. Hope Mazda OK! Update when you can. Thinking of you lots.

14th Sept

- Thunder storms and 9 inches of rain in night. Flooded again! Cars OK. Many trees down, some on houses. Have curfew now. What's international news saying - only have local.
J - Sounds bad. No electricity then and curfew says it all. Will try to get world service news (had a radio with us but couldn't get BBC World Service). Are you managing OK? Amount of rain mindboggling. Take care.

15th Sept

J - Caught up Ike news from International Herald Tribune (we managed to find this newspaper in rural France!). Loss of power sounds biggest challenge. How are you coping? Are you at work in office? Scary picture of Chase Tower (highest skyscraper in Houston) and debris. Stay in touch.
H - Weather settled and cooler - very welcome. Just cleaning up. Visited friends with power. We don't have it yet. Apparently office will re-open Weds. Otherwise just trying to pass time.

16th Sept

- Good it's cooler. Difficult with no power. Candles, torches? Reading, playing the piano? Paper says possibly no power for 2 weeks. Hope sooner!
- Phone back, still no power. Multi-mile queues for water, ice, food, fuel. We're OK and not bothering, but no fridge and lights, so difficult.

17th Sept

J - You sound pretty fed up and have our full sympathy, having seen UK papers today with lots of pictures of Houston/Galveston devastation. Accounts less detailed that Tribune report. Tried to call you just now but no go as phone wouldn't accept our credit card. Guess worst thing is not knowing when the power will be back. Is water on? Power on at work or generators?
H - At work, no problems. No power at home. 1.5 milliion still without. But power at new flat (they were scheduled to move out of their house and into an apartment at the end of the month). Could move this weekend if no change. More shops opening, maybe will go to cinema this evening.

18th Sept

J - If you can move at weekend, go for it! Especially as you've no idea when power will be back.
H - Not much change. No power. Predictions for say not likely before Monday. Weather still relatively fresh at least.

19th Sept

- Will you stick it out or is the move possible? Suppose if power back on Monday the end is in sight. Let us know.
- Here no change and will be after Monday we get power back. But can get keys to new flat tomorrow and will start moving.

Well, they've moved and are settling in well. They have electricity but many people are still without. The latest from Hugh, by email, says:

Still about 100,000 people without power! One of the best articles about the hurricane I read was actually in the Guardian on line. You can read them here and here (it's n two parts) - the aftermath is definitely worse than the event itself.

For Maylis's first hand account of Ike and plenty of photos to go with it, click here to see her blog.

A final comment - when I saw the photos, especially of their garden and the surrounding area, it was worse than I'd imagined, having been there earlier this year.


Barbara said...

Hi Joyce,
As we were in the States during this time, I was praying for Hugh,Maylis' & the kitties safety.
I couldn't get access to the net for awhile either.
I'm sure that you were both worried.
That was a very moving post Joyce.

Mellow Yellow said...

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for your kind thoughts & concern for them. I guess the kitties were the least bothered throughout! But it was really of some concern for us and being in a remote and attractive part of Perigord whilst this was going on kind of gave a dramatic backdrop to the sub-plot, if you see what I mean!

Joyce x

Jackie H said...

Just come back from holiday in Sicily so catching up with the blog.

I have cousins in the Houston area but have lost touch with them. I am so glad Hugh and Maylis were ok, you must have been so anxious. Aren't the Internet and mobile phones wonderful? At least you could get a day by day account to set your mind at rest.

Maylis said...

Wow! Thanks for posting these! It made me relive everything (not in a bad way though!).

Sandyboots said...

Thanks for the blog..was worried when u didn't return e-mail for a while. thanks for message when u returned.