Wednesday was a good day. Large areas of Houston — including the area that includes my family’s home — had power restored. Our land phone lines were also restored on Wednesday after they had survived Hurricane Ike only to be knocked out during the severe thunderstorms that swept through Houston the night after the hurricane hammered the area. So, we’re celebrating a bit tonight.
There are still large parts of Houston that have not had power restored, but my sense is that most areas other than the devastated coastal communities will have power restored by the end of the weekend. That will go a long ways toward getting life back to a semblance of normalcy in this neck of the woods.
Which leads to a point about the difference between hurricanes in Houston, on one hand, and areas such as New Orleans and Galveston, on the other. Most of Houston is at least 50 miles inland from the coast, so except for the southeast side of Houston that is close to Galveston Bay, the main risk of damage from hurricanes for most of Houston is from the wind.
In contrast, communities such as New Orleans and Galveston have to deal not only with damage from hurricane winds, but the even more devastating effects of flooding from the hurricane’s storm surge.
Believe me, it’s not pleasant living without power for the better part of a week. But my family and I had a livable home, natural gas for cooking, cell phones for communication, plenty of food and water, and autos for mobility and powering laptops and other equipment. I was able to work with little disruption between my home office and my "car office" whenever I needed Web access (because of spotty cell network coverage, I couldn’t get Web access on my laptop air card from my home office — I had to travel to a nearby part of town where the cell network signal was strong).
In the big scheme of things, that’s not much inconvenience. And it’s nothing compared to what many residents of the Louisiana-Mississippi Gulf Coast are still facing after Hurricane Katrina or what residents of Galveston and the other Houston coastal communities are facing for the foreseeable future.