surviving Ike - part 1

Warning: This is a very very long post.

I don’t know how many of you were aware; Houston was hit by a rather nasty Hurricane ‘Ike’ couple of weeks back. Being the south of US, and facing Gulf of Mexico, Texas and near by states are rather notorious for being hit by hurricanes and tornados. You might all remember Hurricane Katrina, Rita etc, which affected this part of US few years back.

This year also we have had few hurricanes originate in the Gulf of Mexico, but many of them had deviated away from us as it moved along the sea (last month we had hurricane Edouard and Gustav, which was heading towards to Texas but eventually it the nearby state of Louisiana. So we were really hoping that this one would also spare us. Unfortunately it didn’t and Houston got hit real bad. The eye of the hurricane hit Galveston which is the coastal area in Houston which is not much away from where my Uncle n family lives.

I would think that, having been on the receiving end of Hurricane Katrina 3 years back, Texas was much better prepared this time around for they evacuated people from Galveston and nearby areas well in advance (Apparently during Katrina, the evacuation process was so bad that people were stuck up on the road and highways and travel to safer places like Dallas, which would have taken about 4 -5 hrs on a normal day, took about 22 hrs!). It was supposed to hit land on Friday night and hence we all were given holiday from work on Friday. Since my uncle n family were the closest to Galveston of all of us, we decided to camp at Deepa n GK’s (my cousin and husband) house. Uncle’s house was not in the mandatory evacuation zone, but the nearby zip codes were. Moreover, all the roads to that part of Houston were to be blocked anytime, so it was safer and wiser that they move further away from there. So we all assembled on Thursday night itself with lots and lots of water and other food items since the power and water supply was expected to go of anytime the hurricane hits the land.

Deepa’s house and my apartment were not to be affected by hurricane, so we were not much worried. Moreover I, GK and Deepa got a holiday on an Onam day!!! We were all set for a real party time. There is nothing good about natural disasters; but from a trivial view point, it was an ideal day I often dream of - no work even if you want to, no going out; just sit at home, eat and watch TV…which is exactly what we did! GK got 9 dvds and all we did on Thursday night and Friday was watch those dvds and eat the great Onam Sadya!!

As expected, we had power and water outages Ike hit Houston by late Friday night. I think we all dozed off as soon as the power went out. Watching dvds was the only thing which could keep us awake after heavy lunch and dinner….so no power, nothing better to do that sleep! There is a TV show named HEROES which is about a bunch of people all around the world with special powers which is an excellent show. This is as exciting and thrilling as any movie and we had finished 5 dvds of the 7 before the power cut. So, our disappointment was more because we were at a crucial juncture of the serial.

Before dark we had our cars parked in a confined area as the hurricanes have a reputation of toppling over the vehicles of uprooting the fences and trees (The housing management issues a warning asking all the residents to remove the flowerpots of any objects kept on the balconies due to the danger of them flying and hitting near by windows or objects).

I had no clue how strong the wind was since we couldn’t feel much from inside the house. My attempt to experience the strength of wind by stepping outside the house was thwarted by my aunt. And this was many hours before the hurricane hit and even then the wind was strong enough to knock down relatively less solid objects.

I could see huge trees in front of the house swaying violently when I looked out through the wind when I woke up during middle of the sleep.

( be continued)