July 05
I'm nobody important and there's nothing uniquely interesting about me. My blog is intended as planting a free market, conservative flag on Salon Island. I want to be a bit provocative and will attempt to present a counter-counter-culture view. The blog name is based on the idea that the 1960's should not be viewed as only a time when the young pushed change against conservative norms. The 60's were as much represented by law and order shows such as Hawaii Five O. Conservative waves continued through the 80's and into this day. Salon tends to represent the desire to overcome the conservative waves. I will playfully join the debate here to see whether I hit the beach or hit the rocks.


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SEPTEMBER 12, 2008 11:32PM

Ridin' the Storm Out

Rate: 12 Flag


I have intended all my posts to be impersonal but this new addiction to OS must be fed so I am bending my privacy rule to explain that I will likely be off-line for a few days.  Hurricane Ike is coming this way…only hours to go as I post this.


Live VIPIR Wide


Now, before any one gets overly concerned, I’m more than 50 miles inland and at little personal risk.  My main risks are damage to my house and days without electricity during the hot, humid Gulf Coast summer (ugh).


People in Galveston are the ones you need to worry about.  Look up the history of the hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900.  Thousands were killed.  Bodies of people floated onto the beaches for a while after the storm.


The evacuation seems to have gone well these last two days so that should not happen this time.  The authorities have been as blunt as possible.  Because Galveston may get covered during the storm surge, they literally communicated that staying in some areas is “certain death.”  However, what is also good this time is that people like me who do not need to evacuate are staying put which makes it easier for the folks who have to evacuate to get out of danger.


Some observations about risk trade-offs:


I picked the location of my current house for reasons other than hurricanes but after Hurricane Rita a few years ago almost hit here, I realized I made a good decision out of luck.  But, there are other downsides to where I live like traffic and less access to recreation on the coast.


My house has an open design with lots of windows.  Not so good if the goal is to hide in an interior room but will be helpful during a period of no electricity to let light in and some breeze.  The design is somewhat consistent with being inland where the winds are less.  This design closer to the coast would cause me to evacuate.


I live on the opposite side of Houston from family members so if I need to get across town to help, it may be hard.  But, if they get into trouble and need a place to go, then they can come here.  Is it better to have safety in numbers or to diversify?


When I had this house built, I intentionally got a gas stove instead of electricity.  I did this mainly because actual fire burning has an aesthetic quality.  But, I also wanted to be able to cook if the electricity is out but the gas is on.  This was a conscious trade-off.  We’ll see if it pays off.


I do have responsibilities to the company I work for and the people that I manage.  After the storm, I will likely spend more time keeping up with the status of employees rather than family at other places around town…unless something bad happens to family and then I will delegate the work responsibility to someone else, putting that person into the same trade-off.


This is the first hurricane where I have a Blackberry.  So, depending on how wireless networks hold up, I can still keep up with some of my work responsibilities even if the post-hurricane situation makes it hard to get to work and for the office to have power.


I also have a gun (thankfully, legal here) although the odds of looters coming to my neighborhood and then my specific house are tiny.


Anyway, I expect to comment on others' posts today while we have power because once everyone hunkers down; there really isn’t a lot to do.  And, this OS thing is just so damn addictive, it beats watching the news repeat the same warnings over and over again.

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I'll echo Stellaa - stay safe and good luck.
The local TV reporters just said that the police told the people remaining on Galveston to put identifying markers on their bodies. They are doing every thing that can to get people to leave.

The waves are now over the Galveston seawall.

It's still sunny where I am.
From what I see on the weather channel site, Houston will take a direct hit. Like you, my relatives in Rosenberg are staying put. That whole shelter in place thing. That twenty foot storm surge is major and scary as hell - but shouldn't effect them.

The cousins out by La Porte and another matter. Talk about FEMA flood zone living. I think they are taking off this afternoon, but they turned down my offer of Alamo City shelter. Last I heard they were heading to Arkansas for an impromptu vacation.

My friend in Pasadena is staying put. He's on the third floor and fears no surge.

Are you by chance a fan of REO Speedwagon?

Hey LT, yes the post title was a reference to the 70's song by REO Speedwagon back when they kind of still rocked before Kevin Cronin took over the band and softened them up.

This may be storm this area has always feared. There are computer generated maps about how much flooding occurs from a 20 foot storm surge and this may validate that.

I still have hopes that some of the local Pat Robertson types will pray the hurricane a bit more east although the Beaumont Robertson types I'm sure are praying it our way. I've never quite figured out how God determines which prayers end up carrying the day and guiding the storm.
Stay safe McGarrett! And thank goodness for gas stoves, Blackberries and OS :)
Stellaa, there is pride and frustration about Houston and Katrina. There were some Texas areas that refused to receive Katrina evacuees. Houston told Louisiana to bring people here. Buses and buses of them were moved here on very short notice and somehow it was made to work temporarily.

But, after a few weeks when people either couldn't or wouldn't go home, there were a few problems. New costs for the city and local school districts. A few small gang conflicts as New Orleans gangs felt forced to muscle in on local gangs to make a buck. Lots of it anecdotal, not an easy situation to get facts on. So, there is resentment in parts of Houston about the Katrina situation.

On the praying, we've got Joel Osteen here so I think we are in pretty good shape.
Best wishes, McGarrett. (I hate being without power. It makes me feel so. . . powerless.)
I have a client in Houston. They have a place on the water and are assuming that will be gone. This is one heck of a storm. Battle up the hatches McGarrett...I'm expecting you to be all in one piece when I come back next week...
I lived in the Clear Lake area when I went to high school in the 1970s. Back then, much of what is now the marina in Kemah was above-ground property that was bought and sold as real estate. But due to groundwater removal and subsequent subsidence, half of what was then the town is now underwater.

The same problem affects much of the area around Galveston Bay, to the extent there is a website called ( This problem is the other reason hurricanes are so destructive in the area between Houston and Galveston.
Come over and visit me at by blogette, StormWatch. I'm in Dickinson, hunkering also.
I got stir crazy and went for a drive.

Just to give people a sense of what pre-hurricane time is like:

Most businesses were closed. Supermarkets open but shelves tend to be pretty empty for certain items. Some restaurants were open. Cows would be happy; Chic-Fil-A was packed.

Starting to get windy. No rain here yet. I decided to tie my fence gate shut because I didn't want to listen to it bang around later. I would just as soon have the whole fence come down. We'll see.

Like Hurricane Alicia in 1983, it looks like a nightime hit. I hate that. There's two times I really have trouble sleeping. "Overnight" flights to Europe where you land in EU morning but might have just been going to bed in US; and, hurricanes tearing my house down around me. Go figure.

But, one thing gives me hope. The local channels have full-time coverage but are breaking for commercials. Capitalism always goes on. :-)
Elizabeth, I read your posts. You're much closer than me to the coast. Please take care.
...the police told the people remaining on Galveston to put identifying markers on their bodies. A chilling statement.

Be safe. And maybe if the power goes out you can still be on O_S using your Blackberry? Maybe try it out while you still have power, just to see what it's like...
I once owned a house in Virginia Beach where I weathered a few glancing blows from tropical storms. As a California native, I was prepared for earthquakes. Hurricanes and Tornadoes were for the rest of the country to worry about.

I was lucky that the house I eventually purchased was in a Cat 5 flood plane, so I never had to worry about storm surge. If a Cat 5 was coming ashore, we were all out of there anyway.

Your post has convinced me that my new house must have a gas stove.

Best luck to you and all of yours.
Stay safe and take care.
Be careful--of course. If it is any consolation to anyone, a reason for all those deaths in the Galveston hurricane 100+ years ago is there was no way of warning people that a monster storm was coming. Katrina killed so many because the levees gave way. Not that people don't still die in hurricanes--they certainly do.

Ah, the rain and wind have started here now, so I assume Texas is getting smacked. Be careful all.
I hope you stay safe! If you get a chance to snap any photos, we'd love to see them.
I was In PR for Hurricane Hugo (cat 5 & 140 mph winds!) So I know what the experience is like. Best wishes.
The wind is starting to gust a decent amount now. Not sustained, just gusts here. Probably only a third of what is to come.

I took a nap this afternoon since I assume I won't get much sleep tonight. I set the A/C to cooler hoping that the house will stay cool a little longer after the power goes. Sorry about the extra global warming from my energy usage.

Galveston will no longer respond to 911 calls after 9:00pm. People will be on their own until the storm passes. The TV reporters are still able to draw onlookers when they are out so there are still people down near the seawall.

This one has a big eye so it is likely that lots of people will be able to go outside during the lull as it passes over.

I guess Joel Osteen opted for us to take the hit so that others would be spared. Fair enough. New Orleans got hit by Katrina, Beaumont got hit by Rita, Florida gets hit regularly. Our turn this time.

I've decided that once the thunderstorms start I am going to unplug a lot of my electronic equipment to avoid a power surge. Although, power may go out from the wind before that.

I'll try to post once more after that from my Blackberry.

You know, I'm almost making this dramatic. Anything for ratings... :-)
McGarrett50, You ratings Whore!

More seriously, my friend with the place in Pasadena is now holed up in my guest room in Saytown. Evidently he decided prudence/valor/blah, blah and headed out. I am still hanging out several hours away in the Del Rio area - but he found the key and knows where the towels are. He plans to return to Houston tomorrow to document expected damage at the port there -- part of his job... and will most likely grab the generator out of the garage to take back with him just in case.

Stay low. As Mayor Hardberger says -- Don't die stupid.
Keep talking McGarrett--
I posted a new picture to give people a sense of how big a hurricane actually can be. Houston is a low density, car oriented city and the metro area is probably 50 miles across, suburb to suburb.

What you see in the new picture is the eye wall of this hurricane. It is bigger than the city...much bigger.

Obviously, I still have power. Still no rain yet which is unusual. This storm does not seem to have the feeder bands as much as previous ones.

I've been watching Geraldo Rivera on FoxNews some because he makes me laugh. Melodrama is ubiquitous for a's interesting in a low attention span way.

I can't get posting to work from my Blackberry so at some point, these posts will just stop.

I've become a bit more concerned about what is going to happen in downtown Houston. There are lots of major corporations here and lots of skyscrapers. A lot of damage will put them all in business continuity mode, trying to operate from alternate or dispersed locations. Our company has a plan but I hope this isn't like the old saying about war, "No plan survives contact with the enemy."

I will do my best to make a few notes of observations and maybe take some pictures once daylight comes so I can do a good sum-up post late next week..assuming there is power.
mcGarrett - ditto what everyone else said. Stay safe. Stay dry and away from powerlines and windows. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Looking forward to your day-after photos and thoughts.
Good to hear from you. As you are probably aware, Ike has a 500 mile diameter and you aren't expected to get the worst until 4AM.
Sending good thoughts your way, McGarrett! Please stay safe.

On another note, with Joel Osteen praying, perhaps it will rain money along with those winds.
Sierra, that is a really great suggestion. Maybe Joel will come through on that.

The lights have started flickering. I suspect the power will be on for a few more hours but I'm going to shut the computer down anyway just to avoid risk of damage to it.

I'll be back as soon as I can. Thanks for reading.
Well, at least you're on the "clean" side, for whatever that's worth. Probably less (or no) flooding, at least.

We lived on the southwest side for 6 years--in the Sharpstown area (yes, I know, ugh, but our subdivision was nice). It seemed like the storms always came from Sugar Land straight up the 59. It's odd to me to think of the bad weather coming from the east instead. Obviously, I've never been there for a real hurricane--just some that either hit way up or way down the coast. I do remember Allison, though, that bitch. That was enough tropical storm nonsense for me. :)

Good luck, and say hey when you come back out the other side.
Well, it looks as bad as they predicted. I've been glued to the set all day. I rode out Gloria in 1985 when I lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia and decided this Georgia gal would never do that again.

Hope you get power soon so we can find out how you fared.