September 13, 2008
Ike's arrival

Hurricane Ike made landfall at 2 AM, directly over Galveston. The good news, for what it's worth, is that wind speed forecasts are significantly lower for much of Harris County than they had been. Maybe that means the worst is over, I'm not sure. I can't get to right now to see what it says. I suspect that's because of the massive power outages:

CenterPoint Energy said about 90 percent of its roughly 2 million customers were in the dark before daybreak even as the storm continued to pack a 100 mph punch with the eye still near Kingwood as of 6 a.m. That means nearly 4.5 million residents were without power and doesn't include the service area of Entergy Texas, which didn't have updated figures yet.

CenterPoint spokesman Floyd LeBlanc said downtown Houston and the Medical Center, both of which have underground power lines, were the only large areas with reliable electricity. He said CenterPoint had braced for more than half its customer base losing service, and full restoration could take "several weeks."

It's really hard to wrap my mind around that. I hope they get it back for most people within the next couple of days. For what it's worth, most of the locals I follow on Twitter have been busy tweeting through the night, so at least cellular service is still operating.

It may seem like a small thing, but at least going by what I've seen on Twitter, a lot of folks will be sad to hear that Brennan's Restaurant, a longtime institution south of downtown, has been destroyed by a fire.

The cause of the fire and whether it is connected to the storm was not yet known.

Firefighters struggled in vain for hours to contain the fire, which was whipped by ever gusting winds that blew from all directions. With no hope for the restaurant, fire officials concentrated on keeping the fire from reaching nearby buildings. An old two-story apartment building sits directly across from the restaurant.

The task of containment grew even more daunting as the winds increased. Dangerous debris -- felled trees and limbs, unhinged stoplights, awnings, road signs, shopping carts -- skittered through the streets, with nearby taller buildings funneling gusts directly toward the flames.

The fire was reported around midnight, and at 1 a.m. flames which darting skyward, hardly diminished by a stream of water from a firehose. But by 2:30 a.m., all that could be viewed from a few blocks away -- as a legion of emergency vehicles blocked roads around the restaurant -- was an orange glow.

I hope they can rebuild - Houston is a more interesting place with Brennan's. And I hope this is the worst news we get from this storm. Wherever you are, please stay safe.

Finally, if you're thinking "How can I help?", please donate to the Red Cross. They can definitely use the help.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 13, 2008 to Hurricane Katrina

I was sad to hear about Brennan's. In the early 80's, they had Andy Warhol doing commercials for 'em. The place survived and thrived despite those commercials, but it is (hopefully, temporarily) down by fire.

I hope the folks who were inside are alive and well. And I hope your home is okay.

Posted by: liprap on September 13, 2008 6:08 PM
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