Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Back from Galveston

We are back from Galveston - and i have much to blog.

Being a nature photographer, I spent time going around the city photographing and documenting what I could see. I spent yesterday and today driving around. I am NOT a building inspector, I can only gauge damage by what I see on the outside.

There is truly a lot of damage throughout Galveston. Behind the seawall going toward downtown homes appear structurally sound for the most part - but downed trees roof damage, damage to the sides of buildings, broken glass, etc are common. Down town was heavily flooded, but the waters receded pretty quickly. Still, floodwaters leave mucky mud, mildew, etc. Boats - big boats and little boats are found in many unexpected places. And some boats seem to have ridden through the storm in their berths with minimal damage.

In the older parts of town, I thought the damage was MUCH less than I was expecting giving the severity of the storm surge that was expected. However, many places had water - and I could not see good definable water lines on buildings. However, the parking garage at the white bank building show that water was a good 8 -10 feet above street level in the Strand. Some buildings look better than others, But most are going to be structurally sound. Willie G's had water in it, but only one set of broken doors.

The area around 61st where it crosses the lagoon was pretty badly hit. Homes and business both pretty badly damaged. The Offats Bayou had a substantial surge with a lot of damage to buildings on it. Homes along Teichman drive are heavily damaged, with a few that stood up better than others. Many will be repairable, but expensive. Some are totaled.

There is a lot of damage to businesses on Harborside Drive east of 51st street. However, the car dealerships look pretty good. The cars were parked on high ground and there is a little debris, but only a few looked damaged.

The biggest casualties on Seawall Blvd were the Hooters, Balinese Room and Murdochs. They are just gone.

The Flagship Hotel has damage to its walls, but the driveways are also heavily damaged. Any cars parked at the hotel will be there awhile.

The MacDonalds on the east end of Seawal Blvd looked pretty good.

Most of the businesses along Seawall blvd are still there, the plywood boards held. The highwater line went up the San Luis driveway just past the shrubs. Most of the apartment buildings along seawall have damage, but appear structurally sound and most windows were intact.

The newer, more eastern Holiday Inn has extensive roof damage. The older Holiday Inn near the San Luis has wall damage on the western side - a big batch of bricks are down.

The Victorian and the Casa del Mar look in pretty good shape as well as the others around them. Some roof damage and siding damage. I did not get a good look at the large white condos at the west end of the seawall, but they were still standing. The police were turning people away at the west end of the seawall.

There is a lot of aid flowing into Galveston - there are MRA, Water, Ice - Buses still evacuating people. Water for flushing is a big issue - but we had planned for that. The port-a-potties were rolling into town today.

I keep asking about death counts - so far it is low for such a big storm I hope it does not go higher . . . My thoughts and prayers go out to the people whose homes have sustained damage - whether they lost it all or just have major repairs. Even in homes where damage seems minor, I'm sure there will be precious possessions damaged or destroyed.

When we left the water was beginning to flow from the taps where we were - I hope that will be true for the entire city. Water is probably more critical than electricity. I don't expect electricity to be city wide for a long time. But there are a lot of big generators coming in.

More later . . .


1 comment:

Bill Crider said...

Glad you and Henry are back and safe!