[repost for a friend]
Hurricane Update: There’s a tree on my house…
Despite media reports to the contrary, Hurricane Gustav was not a dud. Just because the folks in New Orleans didn’t get hit that hard or didn’t flood, doesn’t mean the rest of us dropped off the face of the earth.
Here are a few updates for those not in the know:
Gustav broke every previously held record in Baton Rouge since Hurricane Betsy in 1965. Betsy brought in gusts of 90+ mph, and so did Gustav – for 6 straight hours. This is the most damage our city and the outlying areas have sustained in recorded history.
In Baton Rouge alone, there are a minimum of 500 houses with trees on top of them, such as mine.
There are over a million people still without power three days after the storm.
The entire Louisiana National Guard (that is still in the U.S) is guarding our city and the surrounding cities. We’re still under an 8pm – 6 am curfew and violators are taken to jail.
Entire parishes (counties) are under ‘boil warnings.’ Their water supply has to be boiled. Only, according to my co-worker Judy, how are they supposed to boil the water when there is no electricity? (She’s still w/o power in Livingston parish.)
At one point early in the storm, there were 16 parishes with active tornadoes on the ground.
There is record-breaking, unprecedented, wide-spread flooding all around me. Major roadways are entirely underwater in the city. The outlying parishes – well, it’s awful for the low-lying areas. Our area is an area of many rivers – there is not one at this point that isn’t flooding at least 5 feet above flood stage. Several are flooding at over 10 feet above flood stage.
We have power, but we are one of the rare houses that does. We are directly next to a power sub-station and our power lines are underground. We were only w/o power for approximately 10 hours. My friend Julia’s house in Livingston parish is already mildewing inside.
Intermittently, it’s still storming here. Lightening and thunder woke me in the night. Gustav was extremely compacted and strong and it’s still drawing feeder bands from the Gulf so that we’re getting continuous rainfall.
A few hospital’s generators have failed and the evacuated patients from New Orleans, along with the patients from Baton Rouge, are having to be taken out of the city. The evacuation route must be directly above my house because there are lines of helicopters flying continuously overhead.
There’s a tree on my house. A tree service came this morning to take the majority of the weight off the roof of the house, but we’re on our own for getting the rest of it off. They took off immediately after being handed cash and have probably finished working on several other houses by this point. Whole subdivisions have been destroyed by trees.
Though the damage to my roof isn’t extensive, all of the supports will have to be replaced because they are cracked. Thank goodness the header beam for the porch/house held tight or the whole roof would have been crushed. Also, because the tree was so close to the house, it wasn’t able to gain momentum as it swung toward the house. My girlfriend and I heard a tornado, ran outside to make sure we were hearing what we thought we were hearing, and ran back inside to grab the children to throw them into the bathtub and the hideaway under the stairs. Before we could get them in, the tornado had taken the top out of one of my trees, had pushed over the other onto the house, and had taken the top off of one of the trees next door. It wasn’t the type of tornado that touches the ground – it was a funnel cloud in the sky.
When they took the top off of the tree, one of the larger limbs swung down and busted out my picture window in the kitchen. For me it was the last straw and all the tears I’ve been holding in just let go. I picked up a mug out of my kitchen sink – it was broken and it was probably the thing that upset me most. It was very precious to me because it was from a very special time in my life with my husband.
I haven’t left my home since the hurricane. They tell me that our beautiful city, especially the area around LSU, is like a war zone. I can only imagine. And I can be grateful that at least I still have a home I can stay in.
Here are a few photos from the last couple of days:
Note: This is a repost for my friend Evelyn, I wasn’t in a hurricane. She wrote about this in her Myspace blog but I figured she’d get more people to see this story if I put it up here.
Judging by what the media had said about Hurricane Gustav, I jokingly asked her if she had blown away during the hurricane (she lives in Louisiana). I figured that it had all been a bunch of hype over nothing.
Why did I think this? I guess cuz that’s what TV told me. Shame on me, I know.