Saturday, September 13, 2008

Galveston, oh Galveston

Aftermath 1900 storm, courtesy Rosenburg Library, Galveston, Texas.

Haven't slept a wink, well a wink, yes, but let's say I was up most of the night checking the news, reading the Dutch newspaper NRC online, checking back with Yahoo, watching slide shows and videos. A combination of being Dutch, with an innate fear of breaking dikes and flooding, and being married to a guy from Galveston (second generation BOI (born on island) didn't allow me to sleep soundly while the island was being tormented by IKE.

My in-laws were evacuated. My mother-in-law who already had a ticket, left by plane for Austin, early on Thursday, dropped off at the airport by my father-in-law, who drove timely to the home of my husband's sister and brother-in-law who live in the north end of Houston. My other sister-in-law left for Dallas with her son, but by 7 p.m., while FIL was already high and dry, watching the ball game with BIL, she and our nephew were stuck in traffic near Conroe, also in north Houston. But with Texas distances that doesn't mean much. And anyway It's not like you can say, oh, I'll go to my sister's when there's a deadlock on a freeway.

Last night a woman on camera on the Sea Wall in Galveston reporting about the waves, was clearly energized by the storm, her face radiant with excitement. Wondering what all those people caught on camera were still doing there, while they ought to have been looking for higher ground, if not leaving the island all together, I thought of the storm chasers, who live to be close to a storm.

Today it's unclear how many people, who decided to wait out the storm in their homes, may have perished.
JUAN A. LOZANO and CHRIS DUNCAN, Associated Press Writers report the response of Andrew Barlow, spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry:
"The unfortunate truth is we're going to have to go in ... and put our people in the tough situation to save people who did not choose wisely. We'll probably do the largest search-and-rescue operation that's ever been conducted in the state of Texas."

Having read Isaac's Storm by Gary Larson, it's inconceivable that anybody in their right mind, especially those who live "on the beach", would stay when a hurricane the size of IKE had been more than predicted.

Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS,
and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.


And as inconceivable to me as a Dutch person, is that the Government would choose to build a wall between Texas and Mexico, but won't invest in dikes that can protect residential areas from flooding. The knowledge is available, I know for a fact that Dutch specialists visited Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, to share their expertise. What is done with that information, I wonder, filed for future reference, until there's Peace, perhaps?
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