Sunday, September 14, 2008

Remnants of Ike

This morning I woke up to hear the wind howling outside my window. I assumed we were getting ready to have a thundershower, and went back to sleep. When I finally got out of bed, it was still very windy and the skies were a bit grey, but, there was no rain. Normally, the first things I do upon waking, are turn on Fox News Channel and make a pot of coffee. For some strange reason, I did not turn on my television this morning. I sat down to drink a cup of coffee and decided that my daughter and I would run to the mall; she needs some new jeans. Since my husband was on duty at the firehouse, I asked my oldest son to stay home and babysit my two youngest sons. We headed out the door and it was still very windy. Extremely windy, as a matter of fact. About halfway to the mall, I turned on the radio to try and hear the weather report. I hear that we are under a 'high wind warning' - which is a result of the remnants of hurricane Ike. We arrive at the mall and pop in to Aeropostle for my daughter's jeans. We have lunch. Several times, the lights flicker. So, I decide we need to cut this shopping trip short and head home. When we go outside the mall, it is almost unbelievable how windy it is. Leaves and branches are EVERYWHERE on the ground. Leaves, dust, and other debris are swirling around. Police and fire sirens are screaming in the distance. I gotta tell you, I was scared. On our way home, this is what we encounter: all the traffic lights are out, huge limbs are strewn everywhere and we see several trees that are down, two roads are blocked due to downed power lines and we have to detour -- it's almost like a movie scene. My son calls me on my cell to tell me that our power is out at home and that roof shingles have come off of many of our neighbors' homes. Our glass-top patio table has blown off our back porch and shattered. The radio is saying there are wind gusts in excess of 70 mph and that you should avoid leaving your home. It takes a bit of extra time to get home, but, we make it without any problems. The electricity is still out (and I'm really worried because our local grocery store just had a huge meat sale last week and I filled up my freezer with over $200 of pork chops, ribeyes, ground chuck, chicken breasts, etc.) I certainly don't want to lose that. Cell phone service was difficult at times. Thankfully, our power was restored in about three hours. I mentioned that my husband was working at the firehouse - he finally called me late in the afternoon and said things were really bad in Louisville (he works in Louisville, a not-so-very-safe part of Louisville, and we live about 15-20 minutes south of Louisville). They were making runs non-stop for not only fires, but also downed power lines, trees in the roads, and even an overturned semi). He said he doesn't remember when he's seen it so bad. They've called in all off-duty firefighters. Tonight, power is still out in many places. The homeless shelters have had to close and he said there's an unusually high number of people out walking the streets. What few restaurants had power, were crowded with lines of people trying to find a place to grab some food. They have closed the schools for tomorrow. I know things could be a lot worse and, indeed, are a lot worse in Texas and other areas where the actual hurricane struck. My prayers are certainly with them. The really bad thing for me personally, is that I was totally unprepared. We had no batteries. No working flashlights or radios. And, not even much in the way of non-perishable food (I had planned on going to the grocery today so the cupboards are pretty bare). Moral of the story: Be prepared. It's easy enough to stock up on batteries, flashlights, and other necessities. You can bet that's the first thing I'll be doing ASAP. I talked to my husband again tonight. They hadn't had a chance to eat. They finally found a McDonald's that was open, but, while standing in the long line, they got a call for another run and had to leave. When he called, they were back at the firehouse, with no power, but trying to hurry up and cook something on the gas stove. He will probably have an extremely busy night and I will be saying some extra prayers for his safety.

*I just watched the 11:00 news and they reported these numbers for Louisville: over 200,000 residents are without power and it may take up to a week to restore; 1,100 power lines down, 133 roads blocked, 400 fire calls came in - 25 of which were actual structure fires, 8 of them considered significant fires, 2,200 EMS runs, and 3 hospitals using backup generators. The Ryder Cup golf tournament is being held in Louisville and starts in a few days. The course sustained some damage, but, they hope to have everything ready for the start of the tournament. What a bad time for our city to be hosting so many visitors. I have no idea how they will handle it, if the major hotels and restaurants are without power. What a crazy, windy day!

In case you're interested in checking it out, this site looks like a great source of information regarding emergency preparedness.


i'm kelly said...

i'm so glad you guys are alright! how scary! i can't even imagine!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Holey smokes. I had no idea, and the news in the tristate (NY,NJ,Conn) area tells us nothing of what you are going through. I hope that you get your power back very soon...stay safe. On a separate note, I just wanted to tell you that if we lived nearby, I would go to see Twilight with you when it comes out. Susan

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Pina said...

I hope everything will be alright in your part of the world. I don't watch TV but on the radio, when I listen to one, one bad news follows the other.
Although I have spare batteries (at least those for my camera) and some candles and headlight (yes, that comes from wandering around a lot), I know that we can never be prepared enough.