Hurricane Ike Live Blog

To all who are checking this site out for Hurricane Ike info, I’ll be live-blogging the storm. My wife and I live in The Heights neighborhood of Houston (map here). That’s quite a distance from Galveston and the coast, but right in the path of this monster. I plan to blog until I lose power or need sleep.

Friday 5:31 PM: First live-blog post. It is definitely getting very windy on our street; trees are whipping around nicely and the chimney is starting to whistle at us. No rainfall, yet. Estimate winds at 10-15 mph with 30 mph gusts.

Friday 5:39 PM: My friend Phil is also going to be blogging about the hurricane here.

Friday 6:10 PM: First power outage (for a few seconds) at 6:01, about 8 hours before landfall. This brought to mind two things: our router wasn’t on a surge protector yet (remedied), and I’m not sure where our power lines run; it dawns on me they may be the lines nearby that run through lots of branches, in which case this little experiment in live blogging will be little, indeed.

Friday 6:16 PM: First signs of wind damage; a few huge limbs broke off of a tall (~45 feet) tree at the end of our driveway, taking out part of a fence and falling at least partly in a neighbor’s garage. I think it dinged his SUV (the door was open for some reason).

Friday 6:33 PM: This is what neighbors are for! A bunch of people (myself included) went out and removed debris from the common driveway, so no logs become window-smashing projectiles, at least not on our windows… Sarah and I haven’t even met all of our neighbors, yet, but these seem really nice: good folk, just waiting out a storm. (Oh, and their SUV is fine. Don’t think the fence is gonna last the night, though…)

Friday 6:46 PM: Two more mini-power outages. This is either going to get cut off abruptly by the power going for good or it’s going to get long quickly. So, if you want to keep reading, click the link below.

Friday 6:49 PM: As you may already know, Ike is currently a  category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Unfortunately, it is also at maximum strength for a category 2 storm, with 110 mph winds; category 3 begins at 111. So, it is indistinguishable from a 3 for all intents and purposes. Whatever Ike’s maximum wind speed at landfall (sometime around 1:30 or 2:00, it looks like), it will be bad. On the upside, it looks like Houston might luck out and get the “clean” (western) side of this one, though Galveston looks almost certain to catch the dirty side. Please pray for people who are still there; conditions there are about to become little short of earthly hell.

Friday 7:16 PM: Okay, getting serious now. The storm hasn’t picked up too much, yet – still more like moderate winds with severe (30+ mph) gusts. We, however, are in genuine hunker-down mode, now: the TV is unplugged and placed where a blown-out window is unlikely to destroy it, as are the glass coffee table pieces and electronics. We’re hoping for no broken windows, but would prefer that if one does break it not destroy nearly everything in the living room…

Friday 7:33 PM: Lots more power flickers. The chimney is starting to sigh and moan fairly steadily (as opposed to whistling intermittently, like earlier). There are some amazing cloud formations outside; for a minute, I could see through the lower layer to the upper layers, where the setting sun made some surreal lights shine through. I think the sun just set, though; the windows are much darker, now.

Friday 7:50 PM: We’ll be spending the night in our downstairs guest bedroom, since it’s the most sheltered from wind. So, we’re down there now, still waiting. Not much else to report. A branch or two more came down (though, I think, from the neighbors’ roof, not from the tree whence it originated).

Friday 8:21 PM: Not much is new; the storm is just slowly picking up speed. It will accelerate, soon, but since landfall isn’t for about six more hours, it has a long way to go. If you want to follow along, we’re mostly checking out The Weather Channel and the Houston Chronicle.

Friday 9:00 PM: More waiting, more marveling at the people who stayed on Texas’s barrier islands. Galveston is primed for a direct hit; the surge could be as high as 27 feet, by one projection I’ve seen, which would badly rearrange the island itself (not to mention the city itself). Here, there’s more of a constant sigh from the wind, now, with an occasional inexplicable bang or thumping sound. Meanwhile, some yahoos a little down the street are holding a hurricane party… outside. Complete with lawn chairs, thrown beer bottles, and general inebriation. Hope they have the sense to call it a night soon.

Friday 9:17 PM: KTRK reports that there are 24,000 people still on Galveston Island. The eye wall is just starting to hit there, bringing with it the worst winds and the beginnings of the really bad storm surge; some of the surge has hit, but most will come in a second wave as the eye itself begins to come ashore. Here: more bangs, more steady strong winds (nearing tropical storm speeds).

Friday 10:01 PM: Not much new; just an update to let you know we’re still here. We did figure out that a lot of that banging was our gate to our backyard rattling around. Meanwhile, every time something loud happens outside, the yahoos cheer. Apparently, the beer still tastes better in the hurricane… Oh, and more power flickering – I’m thinking we’ll lose it for good by midnight (CDT).

Friday 10:27 PM: Power went out for a couple minutes and came back. It set off the burglar alarm. Oops.

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