So many of you have contacted me to send me offers of assistance, good wishes, thoughts, and so forth.
We have evacuated to an area just west and south of Houston, where we will get hit by Hurricane Ike but are safe from the storm surge. They have said to anticipate power outages of about 18 days, so I thought I'd put in this update while I can.
Our town had a mandatory evacuation on noon Thursday. We left at noon on the dot, which is good because the police literally began a neighborhood check. Our dedicated little police force.
It took about twice as long as usual to get here, which frankly we were extremely grateful about. When we evacuated for Rita, we never made it past Columbus, slept in our car for three days, got no assistance from locals or local authorities, and saw horrors that made us think next time drowning in a storm surge was preferable.
However, this time, the authorities swore they had learned their lesson.
We put our faith in that and I'm glad we did. I think they have. First, the media implored people who were not in evacuation zones to stay put, and I think they must have done because the evacuation was smoother than anyone could ever recall. Second, they triaged the evacuation in a way that worked very well. Third, I heard reports that they did random stops and checked that evacuees were truly from mandatory evacuation zone.
In short, we were able to reach our safe evacuation destination with relatively little trouble.
As we left our home, I knew we would return to it damaged. I accepted it. We storm-proofed as best we could: boarded up windows, moved as much as we could upstairs, and packed essential items into the car.
And here we are. Obsessively checking all reports about the storm and our area.
At this point, by 1 p.m. today, with Ike still offshore and scheduled to hit our area at about 5 a.m. tomorrow, the advance surge has already flooded a good part of our town, making many key roads impassable. I received a report with photos that the local bayous and lakes have already breached the levees and banks, flooding the local parks we play in frequently, and moving up the street we drive down every day. Our favorite special treat destination, the Kemah Boardwalk, was flooding before noon today.
Based on the speed (slow) and fact that Ike will hit at high tide in the morning, storm surge predictions leave us little hope for a good outcome for our home. My husband and I have already begn second-guessing certain decisions in a truncated way:
Him, "I should have done it, should have just taken those drawers upstairs. Putting them up on the coutners just wasn't..."
Me, "I know, it was the optimism, it's okay, we still don't know..."
Me, "I should have moved the china and crystal upstairs, should have made the time, even before the evacuation..."
Him, "We didn't have time, they called it so late, the storm changed track late, nothing to do..."
Me, "My cookbooks, all my recipes, I bet they are all ruined.."
Him, "There are more cookbooks..."
We did the best we can. It looks likely we will suffer flood damage. But there's no way to know.
Our area will be devastated, that much is sure.
But we will be okay and once we get our feet under us, this thing behind us, we will start relief to help our community.
We really appreciate your care and good wishes. I'll keep updating as I can.
Julie and Family