Reading about all of the trouble caused by Hurricane Ike in Galveston TX reminds me of a trip I made there in 1993.
It was February and I was completing my fellowship and trying to decide what to do with my life after my fellowship. So, I applied for a job at UT Galveston and went down there to interview. Meanwhile, my sister used to go to TX for a vacation each February to go to the Houston Rodeo and she decided to join me for a few days while I was there. The second day of the interview, was horrible. It was raining cats and dogs. I remember they had one of the secretaries drive me from interviews and from building to building. At one point, I fell in a puddle with my interview dress on! I spent the next half hour in the ladies room blowing on my dress with the hand dryer!
But, that wasn’t the worst part of it. As the night went on, the weather got worse. We were staying in this hotel on the beachfront of Galveston. the hotel was directly across the street from the beach! It had these open stairs on either side of the hotel and the wind was HOWLING up the stairs. Our room was right at the end of the building and there was no heat! We called down to the main desk several times and at one point, I think they brought us a couple of extra blankets but it was freezing in the room. The seal at the bottom of the door was horrible and so the wind was coming in through the door. We tried to block it with towels and the wind was so strong, it would push the towel across the floor into the room! Finally, we hunkered down in the beds trying to get warm and were greeted by the outside door at the top of the stairs opening and slamming closed repeatedly from the wind. We asked the main desk to come and lock the door but they wouldn’t because it was a “fire” door – some good that would do in a fire!!! It wouldn’t stay shut.
I think we finally had a little sleep but the next day was a nightmare trying to get our flights out of Houston. I think I finally got out of Houston International but my sister had to get a flight out of Hobby.
All this to say, that we endured a “Non-hurricane” on Galveston island. I can not imagine enduring one that was as strong as Hurricane Ike. I pray for those who made the poor decision to stay and see what would happen. I hope that the number of people dead is less than we expect and I hope that Galveston Island (what I remember as a beautiful place) can survive.