Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Galveston Island Post Hurricane Ike

After having lunch with my dad today, I decided to driving into Galveston Island, this is the Island they closed and would not let people back on it for a over a week after the storm. I hadn't been to the island after Hurricane Ike made landfall back in Sept. I really didn't know what to expect.

As I neared the Causeway, the frequency of blue tarp roofs grow until sides of whole homes where gone. I crossed over the Causeway and what I saw was in some ways better than I expected but then a lot worse. I sometimes forget that just three months ago hurricane Ike unleashed it fury on southeast Texas because the recovery effort is mostly done in Houston. However, the coastal area is another story.

Crossing over the Causeway, the first thing I set my eyes on was a marine that was completely destroyed. I exited the freeway and made my way down 61st. I looked to my right and boats were sitting on land, leaning against homes and businesses. I immediately looked to my right across the small lake to see if my uncle and aunt's old home was still there. Many memories of spending the nights playing hide n' seek in the dark and bead wars with my cousins took place in that home. I was able to spot it but a large portion of the wall was missing. You could literally see through many of the neighboring homes because the tidal surge ripped apart the walls.

I came to the Seawall and turned right to make my way to my uncle and aunt's pier. However, as I made my turn, I noticed the 61st Street Pier was gone. Nothing was left of it, but then I say my uncle and aunt's pier, Galveston Fishing Pier. They had sold it earlier this year to retire. Their had weather many other hurricanes, including those that were more powerful than Ike, but the pier didn't fair well during the storm. The pictures I posted are of what is left of the Pier.

Years of perfecting the art of building sand castles and playing on the beach where my next thought and I quickly got back in my car to go to our childhood beach hangout. I drove toward the West End, the only part of the Island that isn't protected by the Seawall. The closer I got the worse the destruction was and most of everything was unrecognizable. I was trying to remember where to turn but street signs were gone and the homes that I remembered where no longer there. After bypasses my turn and coming back to the beach my cousins and I spent almost every summer at during our childhood, I couldn't believe it. The area was mostly gone. There used to be 8 rows of beach homes but only 3 rows stood. Those that survived the storm only a handful were livable and the row closest to the beach and most of the second row stood in the water... and it was low tide. I couldn't believe it. 50 yards of beach, another 50 yards of dunes, and 5 rows of homes were gone! Hurricane Ike had removed them and reformed the beach.

The destructive ability of Ike was amazing. Frightening, I have not seen the worst hit places yet. Towns just 30 miles east of Galveston no longer exist. They were literally reduced to piles of rumble. My heart and prays goes out to the people affect by Ike.

If you would like do something to help with the recover effort in Southeast Texas, I encourage you to look at this organization, They are an amazing faith based relief organization that was on seen within 12 hours of Ike making landfall and are still assisting the residents.

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