Ike photo gallery 1

For 10 days after Hurricane Ike hit the Texas gulf coast, we were without power or internet access. But we didn’t stop taking photos. Here are some of the images we saw during and after the storm.

Raging wind and rain

At 11:00 pm on Friday, September 12, 2008, we still had power but the rain had begun pouring down in buckets. The eye of the storm passed through Houston some time after 1:00 am.

rain in buckets

When the sun came (meagerly) up after 7:00 am, the power was out, the rain was still pouring and the wind was still howling.

gloomy kitchen view

The drainage ditches on our street were full and there was standing (flowing!) water over the walk and driveway.

ditches full

The back deck was littered with tree debris, and the top half of one tree was down in the back yard.

back yard littered

A house without power

We lost power at our house around 1:30 am, shortly after the eye came ashore. For several hours Saturday morning, there wasn’t anything to do except listen to the weather radio for news coverage of the storm. KHOU-11, the local CBS affiliate, aired simulcasts on several local FM stations. It was fun listening to young TV guys and gals — who are used to relying on photography — slowly learn how to convey imagery with their verbal descriptions for us radio listeners. I am also grateful that they continued to simulcast for more than a week while so many of us remained without power.

weather radio

As the day wore on, it got hotter and hotter (and muggier) indoors. On hot days, the temperature peaked around 84 degrees.

84 degrees indoors

Fortunately, we have gas appliances so we were still able to cook and boil water for tea and coffee. We also had hot water for washing dishes and showering, not that anyone had any desire for a hot shower!

essential gas stove

Since Sharon’s place has electric appliances, she came over most mornings to procure hot water for coffee and tea, as well as the occasional serving of pan-made toast.

Sharon toasts

With it so hot inside, we ate breakfast on the porch. We ate lunch on the porch, too. Heck, we did a lot of things on the porch. Hanging out on the porch got more comfortable after it occurred to us to get the teak furniture from the back deck out of the garage and retask it.

breakfast on the porch

Chuck on the porch

Jean on the porch

Even Tibbs sought the breeze of an open window. Note that we couldn’t open the windows very far without risking our diabetic indoor kitty going walkabout.

Tibbs reflection in the window

At night, we did everything by the soft glow of battery-powered lights. For reference, a 3 D-cell Maglite makes a really effective area light if you point it directly at a white ceiling.

Jean by maglite glow

Dad by camp light glow

Montrose neighborhood tree damage

On Saturday afternoon, once the winds had abated, Jean, Chuck, and I piled with Bill into his Jimmy to drive around and survey the damage. The trees are part of what makes our Hyde Park neighborhood so special. Unfortunately, we saw LOTS of downed trees and a corresponding abundance of downed power lines:

fallen trees in the streetscape

fallen tree on Waugh by Rudyards

mangled tree

mangled tree

tree smushed carport

broken tree

This house had not only a broken tree but also a broken chimney, which is impressive.

broken tree and chimney

fence blown over

We saw many wooden fences blown over. But at St. Stephen’s we saw a wrought iron ifence blown over. How much wind does it take to do that?!?

St. Stephen's iron fence blown over

Lots of rain fills bayous easily

Ike dumped a bunch of rain as it passed through. As we drove the mile from our house north to Buffalo Bayou, and then further to White Oak Bayou, we saw that not all of the floodwaters had receded yet.

Buffalo Bayou flooded

Memorial Drive flooded

White Oak Bayou flooded

The rain overwhelmed the Allen Parkway underpass again, too. This much water was left 12 hours after the eye passed through.

Allen Floodway

Houston traffic free-for-all

With more than 2 million power outages, nearly every one of 2,400+ signalized intersections in the City of Houston had nonfunctional lights for some time after the storm. At some intersections, the wind physically took out signs and signals alike:

broken traffic signals

missing traffic signals

wacky traffic signals

fallen traffic control signs

Some Houstonians had the presence of mind to notice that many intersections had abruptly become uncontrolled, and remembered to treat them as four-way stops. However, a staggering number of drivers did not. The downed power lines weren’t nearly as dangerous as the oblivious drivers!

A few days after the storm, someone in our neighborhood got tired of drivers blowing through intersections at 40 miles an hour, and posted his/her own stop signs.

hand-made stop sign

When I ran into Houston’s Deputy Director of Traffic at Whole Foods and told him about the signs, he immediately observed that posting your own traffic control devices is blatantly illegal. But I still admire the initiative.

A city without power

With the power out, most stores, like the 24-hour Walgreens in Midtown, weren’t open. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Walgreens totally dark.

dark Walgreens

Meanwhile, Downtown mostly escaped the power outages, because most of the utilities there are buried below ground. At twilight, it looked a little bit like Oz in the distance: close, but out-of-reach. Due to broken glass from several high rises, Downtown was closed to all but downtown residents.

sparkly downtown Houston

Local officials urged all residents to stay home and off the streets, to allow access for emergency vehicles and power crews. We were also under a curfew from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am, so were home before it got dark, and ate leftovers for dinner by Maglite glow.

More photos and commentary in Ike photo gallery 2
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