I have been in contact with family and friends back in the Houston area, and the following are their first hand comments in regards to the current state of affairs in Texas.
Electrical power has yet to be restored to their residential area(s) and phone service, including cells, is sporadic.
Food retailers are just now starting to reopen, although there are limitations on both supplies and personnel, so long lines are expected at local grocery stores.
Local schools were tenatively scheduled to reopen Thursday, but as I post this report, there has been no official word of this occurring as scheduled, mostly due to the lack of electrical service.
Cleanup proceeds apace, with anything north of downtown Houston experiencing mostly broken windows, damage from fallen trees, and debris from street flooding.
The death toll from Hurricane Ike is standing at 51 as of 4pm Eastern Daylight Time September 17th, 2008. The majority of these lost are being attributed to those not heeding the evacuation warnings and staying within the affected areas, especially in Galveston and along the Texas coastline.
I have lived in Texas for the first 44 years of my young life, and I can tell everyone from first hand experience that a hurricane is nothing to take chances with.
The Gulf Coast has been "spared" so far this year, with Hurricanes Gustav and Ike not being as strong as predicted/feared when they made land fall; and the state of Texas itself has not been the target of a major storm for a mighty long time, which might be the reason a lot of people decided to hunker down in their personal residences and "ride the storm out".
However, as the destructive force of Hurricane Katrina and others have shown, this is NOT a good idea!
PLEASE! When warned to evacuate because of an approaching hurricane: DO SO!
News, Editorial Commentary, and a Public Service message courtsey of the Free Choice e-zine.