Just a note for those of you who have expressed concern after my liveblogging stopped last night: yes, I am alive, and the reason my liveblogging stopped? Ike killed my power, and it wasn’t restored until a few hours ago.
When I went to bed last night, it was windy, but it didn’t seem bad. I felt like the news had overhyped things yet again.
About an hour later, winds started hitting my house that terrified me. The whole house shook, and I laid there just waiting for my roof to peel off. I was scared, and I got up to look out the window, and I saw it, the thing that the news had been talking about, warning us about: winds so powerful that they can uproot giant trees and place them on the roof of the house across the street. I had a welcome mat on my porch last night, and this morning it was gone. No idea where it went. I had a trash can on my porch last night that was tied to the wall, but it broke the restraints and ended up about 250 feet across the lake. I have no idea how this happened. I wanted to keep taking YouTube videos of the wind like I’d done earlier last night, to try and give you a feel for what was going on from someone not affiliated with the news, but one look outside my window convinced me to lay back down, pull the covers over my head and try to pretend that my bed wasn’t shaking and every window in my house wasn’t groaning from the strain of the winds pushing them in. It was like you see on the news, except far, far different, because on the news you have separation between you and those trees in the background that are being pushed by something unseen. Seeing that same type of scene outside my window made things very, very real, and I realized at that moment that I had zero control over what happened the rest of the night.
I woke up this morning to find out that the church where I serve as co-worship pastor had been decimated. The roof peeled off, insulation went everywhere, the paint was bubbled from being wet, and everything in the church was soaked in 4 inches of water. I literally walked in the front door and had to wade through 4 inches of water, like a small stream, but indoors. It was a horrible, horrible feeling to walk into the sanctuary and see all that yellow insulation stuck to everything, to see the bright blue morning sky above me despite the fact that I was indoors. It sucked to see our PA system, speakers and all, soaked in water. I’m not sure if they will ever work again, but I hope letting them dry will do the trick.
The crazy thing is that my little town was hit pretty hard. Life will go back to normal, but there is a lot of damage and it’s going to take months of cleanup. Trees are gone, pretty much every eatery in town had their sign destroyed and many of them lost a roof or even entire sections of the building. Every house I saw today had their wooden fences completely destroyed, and I even saw a few metal gates twisted by the wind.
So yes, we were hit hard, but I cannot imagine what it’s like for the folks 54 miles down the road in Galveston. The Hooters I ate at last summer is gone. Entire neighborhoods of beachhouses are completely gone, like they never existed. The condo my family used to rent during the summer was shorn in half. It’s going to take years to recover from this storm, and I don’t think Galveston will ever be the same. They are estimating 100 billion dollars worth of damage was done in the past 24 hours, and from looking at Galveston and Houston, I think that estimate is low. Ike was even strong enough to rip the roof from Reliant Stadium, so I am shocked that my roof is still intact.
But I’m alive and I’m okay, and I am thankful for that. And I’m glad my power is back on. It’s not been a fun 24 hours,and tomorrow we start rebuilding the church that was destroyed last night. This is not a fun time, and I don’t like hurricanes nearly as much as I noted yesterday.