Still no time or adequate internet to do a full post.  We're not sure how high the winds got, but the devastation to the trees is extreme.  Perhaps a third of the live oaks were destroyed outright, while all others are mostly stumps, and there is not a leaf on a tree in the county.  It's eerie to see, as if the live oaks had suddenly become deciduous and it were winter.  The houses, however, mostly are OK.  Homes built to post-Andrew code are largely fine, though some metal roofs started to peel up and you see a lot of shingle damage.  Tile roofs, for some reason, didn't do that well.  Few houses came completely apart, even on the waterfront, which surprises me.  I'm particularly surprised by how many windows held, even if all the storm shutters weren't put up in time.  Really very few windows blew out.

In the height of the storm the house shuddered, but nothing blew in.  A gutter was torn off.  Some water came in that we think was driven sideways through the fascia, as the roof seems OK to visual inspection and no water came in on the far side of the eye.  Yes, the eye went directly overhead.  They're saying something like 106 mph sustained, gusts to (you hear various numbers) 130 mph. Our ears popped.  The water in the toilets dropped way down into the pipes.  Perhaps the worst trouble we had was on the far wall of the eye (we were in the eye a couple of hours), when the wind came around to the front door side, which is a double door opening inward.  I no longer like that arrangement.  Despite the storm shutters, the wind tried to push that door in.  A heavy cypress door flexed visibly.  The copper flashing around the door made a bizarre harmonica-like scream.  I jammed a chair under the double doorknobs and a rake between the chair and the bottom step of the interior stairs.  It still wanted to blow open.  Nevertheless, in the end, there was only superficial damage to the house.  The trees are awful, simply blasted, post-nuclear-looking.  They'll look considerably better when they leaf out.  Many will live and thrive.

Our outbuilding all were fine; only the lightweight chicken coops blew apart.  The chickens were all safe in the garage.

There were about 12 inches of rain, a moderate storm surge, no flooding at all.  The flooding was all east of here, and very bad.  Corpus Christi to the southwest was barely hit, so we were able to drive down there almost immediately for supplies.

An astounding army of volunteer and for-profit tree-clearing crews have poured in and made huge progress.  With no flooding and so few houses breached, the piles of debris along every street and road are almost entirely composed of trees.  I'll get some pictures up when communications improve.

They predict we'll have power back this week:  very impressive.  They're going to bring two 5MW generators to our little rural peninsula on the tail end of the county, so we won't have to wait for the rebuilding of the entire grid from Victoria to here.  Very smart, very appreciated.  A huge fraction of the electrical poles are tilting or frankly broken and flat on the ground.  I've never in my life seen so many man-lift electrical trucks:  there have to be thousands.

We all took the TV images of the President with the Texas flag very kindly, once we got satellite TV back.  I feel a real affection for the man this week.


Texan99 said...

I was quite remiss is failing to mention how touched we both were to see how hard you all worked to find out what local conditions we were facing, and how much you worried. After the storm, even though we were fine, it was extremely comforting to get word to you all finally, and know that you were caring. Even when you're not personally damaged, such a storm is shocking. A warm community is everything.

raven said...

Tex, I guess that is as good as it gets for having the eyewall of a hurricane pass over you!
Very glad to see you are OK.

E Hines said...

Welcome back.

It's good you and your neighborhood came through so well.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

I'm glad you weathered the storm so well.

Anonymous said...

*virtual hug* Very happy and relieved to hear that you and your neighbors came through 99% intact.


Gringo said...

Glad to hear you weathered the storm. Kudos to whoever built your house. The estimate of a third of the live oaks destroyed caught my attention. Live oaks are not necessarily small trees. I grew up 50 miles from the coast in New England, so I saw plenty of hurricanes. In all those years, only one tree got blown down on my parents' property.

Perhaps why tile roofs got destroyed more is that the height of the overlapping tiles-compared to an asphalt roof- led to more turbulence.Bad news about metal roofs. Asphalt roofs may not look as good, nor last as long under ordinary conditions, but it appears that for hurricane country they are, for the time being, the best solution. I wonder if metal and tile roofs have a similar record for tornadoes- also common in Texas. At least north Texas.

Only 12 inches of rain- amazing. Ditto that Corpus was so close to the eye of the hurricane and got hardly any rain.

Tom said...

Great to hear from you! I'm glad you came through well.

Donna B. said...

Glad to hear you're OK.

Grim said...

Great to have you back, Tex. We were rooting for you.

Vicki said...

Great to hear that you came through mostly unscathed. Glad you're back.

douglas said...

I'll echo all the gladness at your return!

I'd think the issue with tile roofs is that the arched profile might be susceptible to generating lift in high enough wind speeds- like hurricane force winds. Quality asphalt shingles properly installed, and metal roofs are best IMO.