This past weekend I couldn't help being glued to the TV and watching Hurricane Ike roll into Galveston and Houston (sidenote--Geraldo and Shepard Smith--are my favorite newscasters ever when their is something big stirring...how should I describe them--passionate?) I kept thinking about the devastation there and the devastation that had just happened in Haiti from this huge storm. As I have friends who have family there, it made it seem all the more real. Little did I know that we were going to get to experience this hurricane, too. That it was getting ready to affect us in our city in a very real way.
Sunday started out so normal. We went to church. Eric left with the kids after church and I rode with a friend to pick up lunch and head over to another friend's house for our first discipleship group meeting. On the way there, my friend Nicole and I kept noticing that it was mighty windy. Branches and twigs were blowing across the rode and littered the streets. The sky had a very dark, ominous look yet it didn't really look like it was going to rain. Ominous. That was the very word we used to describe how the day felt. It just felt strange and 'off'. As we turned onto the street where our discipleship group was meeting, a huge tree was blocking the road. We drove around her neighborhood and came in on the backside and ran into Ross' house with our books over our head, laughing that we better take cover, not realizing how dangerous it was. During the hour and a half that we met, three more trees fell in the neighborhood. We are not talking small trees--we're talking huge ones. We heard transformers blow. Huge limbs were down all over. The electricity went out.
When Nicole and I left, I was starting to feel a bit scared. As we drove home, fire engines flew by us, a huge rock hit our windshield, power lines and large trees were down everywhere. And yet it had never even rained! At one point we looked at each other and started singing, 'It's the end of the world as we know it...' Jokingly, but kind of serious. It was such a strange, eerie kind of day.
We drove up to our house to see our mailbox down, two humongous limbs in our backyard, and our back fence down. And, of course, no electricity. We learned later, that there were gusts of 80 mph winds for three or four hours straight. Yet it never rained or thundered, nor was there any lightning. Everyone was going outside and checking out what was going on because it seemed like a typical, fall day that was a bit on the windy side. No one knew how dangerous it was. It is amazing that more people weren't hurt (sadly, there were two fatalities).
Today is Wednesday. Schools are still closed. 100,000+ people still do not have electricity. What a strange week it has been. What a strange Sunday we had. We got to experience what Houston experienced on a very small scale. Now we know firsthand how powerful this storm was and have a real sense for the devastation it has caused.