Saturday, September 24, 2005

"Here I Am, Rock You Like a Hurricane"

The Scorpions, "Rock You Like a Hurricane"

It's 11:50 pm. It's nice and cool outside (mid 70's) but a just a little breezy.

We spent the morning cleaning up the house, preparing water reservoirs (bathtubs, plastic tubs, etc.) and making sure all the supplies were pre-positioned. I made a trip to the one convenience store in the area that was open, and bought some necessities (a case each of Corona and Coke). Amazingly, they even still had gas to sell.

After that, the only thing to do was wait, so we took a swim in the neighbor's pool, and came back to wait. The wind started around noon, the rain about 4:15 this afternoon. By dinner time it started getting dark, and we actually had a bit of sun to make a pretty sunset. After that, it's just wait and watch and listen, watching the banana tree in the back yard and the pine trees in the front yard. Fortunately, the wind direction is such that no pine trees should fall into the house, but we did move the cars to other people's driveways so my neighbor's trees wouldn't fall across the driveway.

We hear that a block in Galveston has caught fire due to power lines. I saw a transformer blow while I was in the back yard, with the familiar pop and flash. Someone is going to come home to a warm house and thawed food. We've got the air conditioning down pretty low so that if the power here does go out, it'll take that much longer to warm up.

The wind has picked up enough to blow the trees precariously and make some noise. Some small branches have fallen so far, but nothing major anywhere that I can see. We've had no more rain than a typical summer shower, and in any event I'm well outside the storm surge effects.

In retrospect, I'm glad we decided not to leave. It was the right decision based on what we knew at the time (which was that it had moved up the coast and was going to hit Beaumont to the east of us, not Freeport to the west), though others who left earlier could say they did the same since at the time the storm was going to come straight up Galveston Bay. But over 2.5 million people were "displaced" by the storm - they all seemed to be on the Houston freeways within the past couple of days. Fortunately all of the stalled cars were fixed or fueled during the night and nobody was left on the roads. I bet it'll be more of the same when people want to come home.

Something else we'll need to closely watch... the garbage situation. Trash pickup was supposed to be on Thursday, and we had 1-1/2 full bins. The city suspended normal operations on Thursday so we're stuck with all that garbage plus only half a bin's worth to last us the whole week.

Back after watching a movie.... it's 2:50 a.m. The wind is still going pretty good, still no damage other than some small branches down. But we still have power (for now).

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