September 13, 2008
Starting to assess the damage

First word of the day is don't drink the water.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett urged caution as Hurricane Ike continued to pummel the area with wind and rain this morning, asking residents to stay inside and conserve water.

As Galveston officials prepared to assess potentially grim scenes in surge-soaked neighborhoods and other local leaders planned door-to-door surveys of Ike's devastation, Emmett said people should wait a while before checking their own properties for damage. Residents who feel unsafe in their own homes should venture no further than a neighbor's house, he added.

"Let's finish riding out the storm, and this afternoon we'll assess the damage and we'll make sure that the assets, resources get to where they need to be," Emmett said, adding tropical storm-force winds could continue through mid-afternoon.

And please stay off the roads.

"There's too many people in their vehicles on the roads,'' said White, who spent the morning inspecting damage with emergency personnel.

Too many people are getting stranded in high water because their vehicles can't handle high water.

"Look. You endanger the lives of others if you get stuck in high water require rescue,'' White said. "No matter how brave you feel, we do not need to be rescuing people on the road.''

Emergency responders are trying to focus their efforts getting to those who need real help in their homes or getting to a hospital.

White also told residents in the nation's fourth largest city to begin conserving water, to relieve the low pressure in the city's water supply.

He stressed that the city's water supply is not in danger.

"We have no evidence that the water supply is contaminated,'' White said.

But until the low pressure problem is rectificed, White wants residents to turn to bottled water.

"We want citizens to use bottled water, not tap for their drinking,'' he said. "If you don't need to bathe right now, you don't need to bathe right now.''

SciGuy says the storm surge could have been worse, and the bayous are overtopping their banks. If White Oak Bayou is that high in our area, the folks closest to I-10 are probably flooded.

I don't know yet what our house looks like. I've heard from one friend in the area who is fine, but not yet from our neighbors or my in-laws. The folks I'm following on Twitter seem okay. Given that no one has power it's probably silly of me to ask, but how are you doing? Let me know when you can.

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

We are among the 10% who do have power. Buffalo Bayou is high: the Spaghetti Warehouse parking lot is half under water. But the Downtown damage is not nearly as widespread as the news makes it out to be: the windows blown out at the JP Morgan Chase tower seem to be the exception, not the rule.

Posted by: Christof Spieler on September 13, 2008 11:50 AM

Hey, Christof. If you see this, I'm trying to find a way to see if Robin's parents' house in Galveston got flooded. Since you have power and more local information/knowledge than I do, if you find something, please send a text to her phone. Thanks!!!

Posted by: Amy on September 13, 2008 1:14 PM

In the Reliant Stadium area. Our power was restored at about 6pm. We have been dutifully hosting friends and family since to cool off, charge cell phones, etc.

Toured much of the Inner Loop area this afternoon. Lot's of downed trees, destroyed carports and dangling traffic lights.

We took a good punch, but we'll be fine. Folks are ready to get on with it.

Posted by: houtopia on September 13, 2008 10:08 PM
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