Sep. 13th, 2008
Not much news out of Galveston yet. We are just waiting to hear. My dad called and said the oak tree in their front yard came down and hit the neighbors' house, but luckily the neighbors weren't there. He lives in the middle of a damn pine forest (on the north side of Houston) and they had pretty severe wind so there are trees down all over the place. Still not much wind here, but a lot of rain. Looking at the radar I'm not sure why there's not more wind.
None of this tells us much about our specific situation. Except that there is fairly major debris blocking the causeway so it will probably be a couple of days before we can even go find out.
I said I'd talk about Hurricane Carla, and if I don't do it while I'm thinking about it I never will. The thing is, my mother was pregnant with my sister, who had been due the end of August (1961). I was a toddler, so I don't remember this, myself, and I don't have my dad handy to ask him more, but I asked him again the other day, and apparently what happened was the hurricane started in (it was at Matagorda, southwest of us) and stalled. And what Daddy told me the other day - and he didn't even have to stop and think about it, he remembered - he said they had hurricane-force winds that lasted from Saturday night until sometime Tuesday. It was just about this time of year. I believe the sequence of things was that they had taken to my mom to the hospital and then they had sent her home again because she wasn't actually in labor, and then in the middle of the storm she started having labor pains again, and they drove her back to Texas City - at least 15 miles or so - to the hospital, and she stayed the rest of the storm in the hospital. And my sister wasn't born until it was all over, on the 15th. So Monday is her 47th birthday.
We started talking about Carla earlier this week when it looked like Ike was going to come in down at Matagorda, just like Carla did. Carla was a stronger storm - it had been a category 5 when it was out in the Gulf, and was still a 4 when it came in - but apparently not much bigger, and Ike for some reason had this really bad tide/storm surge effect. (Although they have said today that the worst of the storm surge was east of us, back toward High Island and Beaumont.) I'm not sure when was the last time a storm came directly over Galveston like this one did. Alicia in 1983 came over the West End, which is still much more lightly populated than the other end, even nowadays. Since the 1900 storm, I know there were another couple of bad ones, one in 1915 and I think one in the '40s, and then Carla and Alicia. But I don't know exactly about the tracks of those other ones.
We are starting to cautiously hope that the fact that we haven't seen our apartment building on CNN (or anywhere else) is a good sign. There are some indications that there was a lot less water west of the San Luis. But we haven't seen any pictures whatsoever from down that way, so we don't really know. And we won't be able to get back onto the island for at least a couple of days so the suspense will have to continue.