Thursday, September 13, 2007

Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast.

(If you don't know where that came from, watch this)

Welcome to this special Humberto edition of Friday Photo, a new feature where I share photos that I've taken with the world.

Our front yard yesterday before Humberto paid us a visit. Click any photo in this post for a larger size.  

As I sit here at my computer listening to The Who, I thought I should write a nice, lengthy post about my experiences with Humberto.

As just about everybody else, I thought that Humberto wouldn't be any big deal at all. You know, just a lot of rain and maybe a little bit of wind.

  A long exposure shot from our front porch that night before things began to get nasty. There was a light rain and some wind, but nothing bad.

I was wrong. VERY wrong.

When the 10 PM advisory came out with 65 MPH winds I had a feeling that Humberto might become a hurricane. I mean, I'm no meteorologist, but I figured that since it had intensified by 30 MPH in twelve hours it had a shot at packing a little more power.

It was about 12:45 AM when I came across the information on the web about the storm being upgraded to a hurricane with 80 MPH winds.

When it came on shore just east of High Island at 2:00 AM it was packing 85 MPH winds. I started watching the local news outlets, who were doing wall-to-wall coverage of the storm making landfall, flipping channels a lot at first and then settling on one. About 3 AM, the radar they were showing indicated that the storm's eye was heading pretty much due north into Beaumont. About that time, the lights were starting to flicker and the power dropped for a few seconds a couple of times.

About 3:30, the power went out for good. Without the noise from the TV I could hear the wind and rain from the storm a lot better, and it was pretty loud, even downright scary at times. I found out later that the local storm report put out by the NWS showed a 74 MPH wind gust at a middle school about two miles from our house and that what we were experiencing at that time was a portion of the eye wall, as the eye passed just a few miles southeast of us.

A little before 5, I remembered that my Zune I bought back in February has an FM radio, so I plugged some headphones in it and scanned the radio to listen for news. Thankfully, all the ClearChannel stations were simulcastiong with their AM news-talk sister station, so I got to hear all the information.

Our front yard after the storm had passed. The pile by the street is of stuff that had already been gathered before I thought to get the camera out.  

When the storm let up enough, I checked around to see what the winds did and saw nothing but tons of leaves and limbs, though nothing terribly substantial was laying around on our property, then took a walk around the block to see if it was safe to walk the dogs. Since it was, we took all three of the kiddos for their morning walks. The mosquitoes were already pretty bad, and they're just going to get worse over the next week or so.

  Down the street, one of our neighbors got a lot more that fell than we did.

After the dogs got their walks, I helped out with the clean-up and then decided to walk around and take some pictures of the sights. I walked down the block and then across the LIT campus to see if the MLK underpass had flooded.

What a shocker, it did. The city had also already come out and blocked off the underpass, directing all traffic to the feeder roads.

STOP! There are limbs down in LIT's parking lot!  

After that walk around, I came home, settled down, and made some phone calls to family and friends to let them know that I was fine.

After that, I decided I needed some sleep and laid down until probably about 2 PM. It was about then we found out that the official word from the electric company on when we'd have power back was "by Tuesday."

  MLK blocked off at the underpass, though I'm really not sure if three orange barrels was the way to go here.

With that, we decided to get out the generator and hook up our fridge and deep freezer to avoid the stinky mess we came home to after Rita. To stay away from being too graphic, let's just say that I'd never smelled anything that bad in my entire life. We got the freezer cleaned but decided to let FEMA handle the fridge after my cousin offered us an extra one he had in the garage.

In this shot you can see the water collected in the underpass. I would have gotten closer, but the mosquitoes were about to carry me away.  

Anyways, we got started setting up the generator when we realized that we needed another extension cord or two to pull this off, so I got sent out to pick up some extension cords and find an open gas station to fill up our gas can. My car had a nearly full tank, so I offered to take someone else's car and get it filled up while I was out and my grandmother took me up on the offer.

  The lids to some trash cans lay in the LIT parking lot. I never saw the trash cans, which seemed odd since the cans always looked to be pretty heavy.

I had heard that morning that the downtown area had power, so I headed down MLK to a Shell station near downtown, thinking I'd probably have some luck there. There wasn't even a line! I just pulled right up to a pump, swiped my grandmother's debit card (she'd offered to pay for it since I was filling up her car) and filled everything up.

Another shot of the trash can lids... and a dumpster.  

When I got in the car, the fumes from the gas can in the backseat were getting to me, so I decided to drop that off. I set the gas can by the car and went in the house to make sure that the dogs weren't in the backyard. When I opened the door, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.


Our electricity was back. Since there wasn't a dire need to get the extension cords anymore, I decided I was better off waiting than fighting off the throngs that would likely be at Home Depot looking for anything and everything.

So now life's pretty much back to normal. All that's really left is to rake up all the leaves in the front yard and get them out of the way.

1 comment:

K T Cat said...

Dang, dude. When we get a slight mist, all of Southern California goes bananas with cars skidding off the streets and people drowning. Looks like you had a bit more than that.