Here is my "report" I added in the Lavender Room, but I think it was old news by then...
Just got back to ST after all this mess.
I live right in the middle of Houston and didn't lose power until 2:30am Saturday morning. I got it back late Monday night. I am in a 2nd story apartment (3 story building) that was very well protected.
My parents live in Beaumont and they flew in from Canada Thursday afternoon and just stayed with me instead of trying to get home. Beaumont was under a mandatory evacuation anyway.
I'm 100% ok - things got a bit hot and I got a bit hungry during the 3-4 days without power, but I'm doing 100 times better than a lot of people.
We went to Beaumont Monday to get more of my parents stuff, assuming they'd move in with me for a few weeks because we were told it would be 4-6 weeks for power to get back there as the Sabine power station had flooded. I-10 near Anahuac was quiet a site - several huge hogs/boars dead on the side of the road. On the access road we saw a sign that said "house in road." And sure enough, there is this nice little house just sitting there, windows boarded up and looking seemingly unscathed.
Beaumont looked 10 times better than after Rita. I got in 7 days after Rita and it looked like the storm had hit the day before - partially beacuse people were not allowe back in during that time. This time around, many, many people stayed and started cleaning up as soon as the storm was over. Where over 75% of the homes had substantial damage in Rita, I would say about 25% of them had damage this time. When we pulled up to the house, my neighbor was pulling out of our driveway on a tractor and his niece's husband was on our roof with a chainsaw. Our other neighbor was mowing our other neighbor's yard. There is definitely something to be said about living in the same neighborhood for 30 years. Beaumont is way smaller than Houston (150,000 people), and more able to handle this kind of situation, they are also old pros now after Rita.
We came back to Houston Monday night only to find out power had been restored in the Beaumont house. My parents had decided to go back Tuesday morning and sure enough my power came on during the night Monday.
Houston is in shambles for some, but for the most part will be ok if people can just get their hands on some ice and gas.
Galveston doesn't even look that awful, at least compared to Bolivar. Most structures made it through. They have a huge mess on the first floor to clean up, but they have 4 walls and some have roofs - something to work with and to rebuild. The west end looks great considering as well. Some did not fair well, but I would say maybe 1 in 10 houses was destroyed (unfortunately Frank's dad's happened to be one of those). Bolivar, on the other hand, probably has 1 livable house out of every 100 that was there. Half my friends/family in Beaumont all had houses on Bolivar, and the devastation is just awful. At least for the most part, those were people's 2nd homes, but I cannot even imagine the heartache for people who lived there full time. Here is a link to a posting on my blog showing the before and after of my Aunt and Uncle's front row house: http://kcwoodhead.blogspot.com/...9/crystal-beach.html
I also feel the need to defend some of the people who ended up staying in both Galveston and Bolivar through the storm. Local officials really dropped the ball on this one, or maybe they didn't drop the ball, but Ike surprised everyone. Yes some people were going to stay come hell or high water...a very appropriate term at this time...but others had planned to leave and found themselves trapped long before the storm was set to hit.
It wasn't forecasted to make landfall until the early AM hours of Saturday. It isn't that illogical to think that you could spend the day Thursday (first day that they called for a mandatory evacuation in some of these places...people were told to "shelter in place" before that) securing your property and wake up Friday morning and still have plenty of time to get out and be safe. They did have mandatory evacuations working further south earlier in the week, but the storm just crept up on them, taking a more northward trek each day leading up to landfall.
While the forecasters did get the landfall time right, they failed to mention, or know, just how early the storm surge was going to come up. People on Bolivar were trapped beginning at 4am Friday morning. After that time, they had no way of getting out whatsoever.
So, yes, some people were going to stay no matter what, but I feel like I do have to defend those who had every intention of getting out, but were unable to. The southern beaches that weren't really hit that bad is where they were warning of immenent death and telling peolpe to write their social sec # in sharpie on their arm.
Rita "fatigue" definitely plays a huge part in this as well. Many people were forced with the decision of would they rather ride the storm out in their broken down car in the middle of no where or in their home.