The good news is we're okay. But, it was rough. The winds started picking up over 40mph sometime around 2:00am Saturday morning and by 4:00am they were at least 75mph with some gusts well over 100mph. Several points in my area have reported wind gusts as high as 117mph. What really sucks (there is no better word for it) is our largest, prettiest tree collapsed. Literally split into two. Here's a picture of the damage.
I want to thank everyone for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. We really felt it because the winds were literally howling and miraculously the trees held up to them...actually providing a buffer between us and the winds. We drove around the neighborhood today and most homes are without power but nobody had any serious damage. So, thanks again for the prayers and wishes.
Speaking of fallen trees...really only one other home had tree damage similar to ours.
Now the concern has turned to the Lake Livingston Dam. Read coverage here and here. Apparently the high winds have caused stress on the dam and they need to release water out of the lake in order to assess the damage. We just found out about this a few hours ago and they have ordered a flood evacuation from all the areas surrounding the Trinity River which includes us. But, thankfully, we should be okay since we're north of the Dam. The people who will encounter the released waters will be south of the dam. In fact, everyone north of the dam should see their lake water levels reducing. Here's a pic of that process:
But, just to be safe I'm going to check on the progress of the dam release in my area every hour on the hour. So, please, keep the people south of Lake Livingston Dam in your thoughts and prayers...they're going to need them.
Interesting Tidbits from Hurricane Rita
JLP from AllThingsFinancial shares his evacuation story through the Corrigan/Livingston area that I reported problems on in a prior post. Take note...his story is very similar to several I have heard that had to evacuate through that area. I'm glad JLP and his family made it through.
I was interviewed by SkyNews UK about 5:00am Saturday morning. One of the producers found my blog and they wanted to hear my story on hunkering down in the storm. It just so happened that they called just as the storm was really coming through...winds were at least 70mph...a transformer blew about 20 feet from my house...and it was 5:00am in the morning! In fact, the power went out during this first phone call with them. Needless to say, I was a bit excited. My wife and I keep laughing over and over at one of the comments I made during the live TV interview. They asked me if I was well-stocked for the storm, able to make it through a few days to a few weeks without power. My answer was, "I hope it's not that long...but we're well stocked...I have a garage filled with buckets full of water in case we need to flush." I'm laughing right now as I type that. Where the hell did that come from? Funny the things you say when under stress and being interviewed. Well, at least I gave the nice people over in the UK something to laugh about during this stressful time. One last thing, everyone I talked to at SkyNews was incredibly nice, understanding, and sincere. Good people.
In addition to the falling tree there was a fire just a block in front of my house. It started from the electrical lines getting hit by the trees and got big enough that I could start to smell it. I was frantically throwing on work boots in order to get over there and help but almost as soon as it started it sputtered out. Thank goodness for that.
Here's some links to pictures of the evacuations through Huntsville that are simply incredible. This is what I was witnessing in my Grapes of Wrath post.
A couple of news sites made note of my hurricane coverage.
Netscape News with CNN listed it as an Editors' Web Picks on What People are Saying.
The Guardian Unlimited quoted several of my comments on the evacuation and hunkering down for little Rita.
That's it for now. Time to check on those lake levels.