Just a warning…this will be long…
Well…Hurricane Ike came…and went. And in his path left mostly destruction. Our house fared just fine. No down trees, no tree limbs to clean up, the shutters and lights on the house that we were worried about didn’t even come off. We may have a leaning fence thanks to Ike, but not a big deal at all. We’ll get with the neighbors and fix it when it falls down. We lost power during the storm, but fortunately we were one of the areas receiving the least amount of damage and our power was restored about 8 hours after the storm passed. We have had a house full since the morning after the storm. Jeff, Alison, and Ben moved in with us for a few days, along with the dogs, Molly & Carmen. Their good friends also moved in for a few days with their dog and 5 month old son. None of them have electricity yet and it could be several more days until they do. School for me has been canceled through Wednesday, at least, and possibly through Friday. Matt is also off work until probably Wednesday.
Unfortunately, I cannot speak the same good news for my family. Everybody in Beaumont rode the storm out in the old Beaumont Christian High School building. My cousin owns the building and has it tied into a generator. They fared pretty well there in the building. For the most part, most of the houses in my family are OK. Some had some roof damage, lost chimneys, fences blown apart and away, but nothing MAJOR. Nana and Papa’s house…the Big House out in Winnie is a totally different story. Going into the storm, we were all pretty concerned about the big house because it sits just inside Chambers County, which was expected to see the brunt of the storm surge. They did… A couple of the guys in the family were able to get out Saturday morning after the storm had passed and began making their way around Beaumont and Winnie to check on everybody’s houses. When they got to Winnie, it was a very devastating sight. The reports we are getting is that the town is completely devastated. Major damage sustained at the grocery store and that shopping center, Sonic and the Dairy Queen are reportedly either “gone” or “severly damaged”. When they finally got to Nana’s house, they couldn’t even get down the drive way. The huge oak trees that line the driveway had fallen and were blocking the drive. The house had anywhere from a foot to two feet of water inside the house, soggy walls, a portion of the roof blown off, and water literally pouring down the walls upstairs. Other than the roof issue, the outside of the house is said to have fared pretty well. A couple of crews were out at the house today clearing the driveway and then patching the roof. I know a couple of people were going out there to start sweeping the water out of the house.
Futhermore, the devastation at the beach has been really difficult to deal with. Bolivar Peninsula and the towns down there were the hardest hit areas. Most houses are completely gone. The 2 or 3 rows of cabins closest to the water are gone. We have some pretty significant fears that the beach cabins our family had are gone. The church at the beach that Nana and Papa go to is probably gone and most of the people that go to church with them have probably lost their houses. The beach road, Hwy. 87, looks like a sandbar with a yellow stripe down the middle. The storm surge and the wind were just incredible. The big store (grocery store) was about half way under water. Its really a difficult thing to look at. If I can look at a picture long enough, I can get my bearings and usually see familiar sights that are in shambles.
As soon as the roads are passable and we are able to get to Beaumont/Winnie we will be going to help clean up the big house. I think the preliminary plan is to just pack up everything that can be saved and put it in storage. No one knows anything about school right now for the kids or for Nana. We aren’t sure where they will stay while the house is being repaired. It will basically have to be gutted and rebuilt. We have a long few months ahead of us, but we are fortunate. The whole house and evertything in it could have been lost, like so many at the beach are dealing with.
Most of the area is not expected to have electricity for several weeks to possibly a month. Please keep everyone severely impacted by Hurricane Ike in your prayers…they will need them as recovery continues.