Friday, September 19, 2008

More From Houston

I've got some down-time, so here's a rundown of what I've done and seen so far.

Kevin and I flew into Houston Monday night. We checked into the station around 10:30 central time. After saying hello to a couple of people we remembered from the last trip, we checked our schedules for the next day and checked into our hotel.

Tuesday morning I arrived at KTRK at 8 am. I was not assigned a reporter, but my first task was to go downtown to the Morgan Chase Tower to check the progress of the cleanup in the area. The building is the tallest in the city and a number of its window were knocked out during the hurricane. There was still very little power in the city, so most of the traffic lights were four-way stops. Adding to the difficulty were the police roadblocks. Entire city blocks were shut down so that heavy machinery could come in and clear the glass and debris. My next job for the station was chauffeur. KTRK had stationed a crew out on the Bolivar Peninsula, an area that took a direct hit from Ike. My job was to run a satellite truck operator out to the live location to relieve the operator who'd been stationed there for 48 hours. My new GPS told me the trip from Houston to the peninsula would take about an hour and a half. We left a twelve-thirty. We pulled up to the satellite truck about three-forty five. What I saw on that ride was incredible. As we headed east out I-10, we started to see the full force of this hurricane. Part of I-10 is lies very low to sea level. Officials had to use plow trucks to remove the debris the storm surge washed onto the highway. For a 2 mile stretch, there was a 6 foot pile of debris lined up just off the shoulder. Billboards were skeletons with the tattered banners blowing in the wind. It was difficult to know where exits were because the signs were blown off the posts.

We stopped to get toilet paper and paper towels at the one open gas station we passed along the way. Several state troopers were directing traffic to the pumps and the line was hundreds of yards long.

When we got to Route 61 we headed south, and that's where I started to realize the force that this hurricane had. More to come...


No comments: