It’s really meant a lot to my family and me that so many people have been calling and emailing to check on how they’re doing.  This is the first time that a storm of this size has directly hit Houston since my family moved there in 1984.  Their neighborhood is not in the floodplain, so they weren’t as concerned about flooding as wind damage.  They’ve never been given evacuation orders since they’re 30 miles north of the city, so the best thing was to hunker down and wait.

Thankfully, they made it through the storm safely.  They alternated who was sleeping and who was awake throughout the night when the storm came ashore.  They said it was a very scary experience when the worst winds came.  They lost power around 6:30 this morning, but they still have a land line phone that doesn’t require electricity so we’ve been able to maintain contact.  They had no damage to their home, just lots of debris in the yard.  Unfortunately, they have several neighbors on their street with pretty bad damage to their homes from fallen trees.

There are at least 4 million people without power in the Greater Houston area tonight.  They’ve been told it could be four weeks before they get it back.  This would be bad in any circumstance, but please remember that Houston is still very much in the midst of summer with temperatures generally in the 90s and unbelievable humidity.  I asked my mom if I could mail them more batteries for their fans.  She said that might be helpful, once the postal service is up and running.  Well, of course.  Whatever happened to those stagecoaches they used to have?

Once the storm passed this evening, my parents were actually able to get out and drive around the central part of my hometown with their neighbors.  They said the damage was unbelievable.  The mall, which is just five minutes away from their house, completely flooded because the storm drains were clogged by debris.  In the coming days, I’m sure they will hear more and more stories.  It’s frightening for me to think that my hometown is so far inland and still experienced such devastation. 

And the weather forecast for tomorrow?  More rain. 

Hopefully it won’t inhibit the rescue and recovery efforts from moving forward.  There are certainly still risks from the massive flooding, including water contamination issues.  It will take a long time before things are back to any kind of normal in that part of the state. 

Please continue to keep all those on the Texas coast in your prayers, as well as those in the midwest who really can’t take any more flooding but face Ike’s remnants in the coming days.