Friday, February 13, 2009

Update on Galveston Texas after Hurricane Ike


Here is the promised post on the status of Galveston Island after Hurricane Ike. Unfortunately the pictures that we took last week while were down there visiting were deleted from my camera by that unknown person that lives in our house! So the picture above is the damage that we had. That was a beautiful pear tree. It split and took out the fence about 12:00 am the night that Hurricane Ike came in. Then it split again when it was at the highest winds and the fence on the other side survived and the pool thankfully or it would have flooded the back of the house! We were so blessed to have only this little damage, others were not so fortunate.
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In Galveston we saw the steady clean-up and still in need of repair structures, businesses that were still not open. Hopefully they will be within the next few months. The seawall looks different without the business that were on piers over the water, Murdoch's Gift Shops, The Balinese Room, other small restaurants are gone also. The Flagship hotel was severely damaged and you can see straight through the ground floor, with one of the driveways to the pier gone. Both the 61st and 91st street fishing pier are gone.
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Businesses along the seawall are not all back yet and some look like they are changing owners. The beaches are getting a few feet of new sand to build them back up. Stewart Beach park was deserted and closed. Most of the structures are gone or damaged extensively, except for the large pavilion where the bathrooms, showers, snack shop and gift shop were.
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Going through the island's neighborhoods there were houses still in need of repair and it looks like the people who have returned are trying to get back to normal. Moody Gardens is mostly down as two of the pyramids are not open. The Aquarium is up and running for the most part. The steamboat runs on certain days. The grounds look stripped of most of it's ground foliage, because of the saltwater, as does anyplace that was flooded. Schliterbahn looks like it took a lot of damage also, and there were workers repairing it trying to get it ready for this summer.
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We went to the Strand area and saw that it had 8 feet of water there. Only a handful of the businesses were open, most were not and the ones that were were on limited hours. There was a lot of repair going on in the shops and buildings that were not open yet, and it will be a few more months before this is finished. But they will be opening as they finish.
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A drive down to the west side of the island to see about the Galveston Island State Park and the damage there gave us a delightful surprise! As we drove by the closed entrance there was a sign that said "A new Texas State Park coming soon" Yea! As we have camped there many times and loved the close "get-a-way". The gate was closed and we could see workers cleaning the debris and much of the back rows of the campsites were still intact. We drove down to the nearest beach entrance and walked up the beach to the park. The dune and the bridges are gone as well as the premium beachside campsites that were in back of them. A lot of sand is over the whole park and they are removing it starting the cleanup. The beaches here have a lot of debris from the hurricane so you have to walk carefully! I wouldn't drive down it either. The pictures that you see on the Texas State Parks site for Galveston State Park give a good idea of the damage but a lot of the park is still intact. Unfortunately the headquarters and other buildings are a total lose. They will have to be rebuilt, maybe a stilted design like at Mustang Island Park?
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I wish I had the pictures!!!!! It would show you so much more. Galveston had the look and feel of being wounded and trying to heal. To be expected with what it went through! It still needs help, it's citizen's to return, so the businesses open and jobs, our prayers and help so it can back to life again.
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I also wanted to thank all those who visit my blog and also those who leave comments. I read each one and love to hear what you think about what was posted! I will either leave a response in the comments section or on your site/email.
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Tomorrow I hope to post a picture of a new card if I get it finished (and sort and straighten my craft area!). So until then,
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EDITED TO ADD: If you would like to see more updates on the Galveston recovery, leave me a comment to tell me. I will post updates from time to time if you want them. Also check out post dated, 2-28-09 that has a link to pictures from Galveston 2009.
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Shalom,
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Sonya
Comments are always welcome, drop me one, I'd LOVE to hear from you!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sonya,

I found your blog as I was searching for information on the repair of Galveston as my family is planning a vacation there in June.

I have found little information that really let's me know what it is like there. I found a lot of homes for rent along the coast. We were looking at Ponte West and Sea Isle but nothing is really said about the condition of the area or beaches.

I am concerned about booking a place and then find out it is in the middle of a mess.

I am sure there are places that are cleaned up and ready for tourists and I would like to know which areas we should look at.

Thanks for your updates. I will check back again!

Also, I am glad you came out in pretty good shape considering the extensive damage suffered from Ike.

Jan

Sonya said...

Jan,

Those two locations are farther down the Island and we haven't checked conditions that far yet. I can tell you that the beaches as far as Pirate's Beach, which is at about 15 miles, are ok. There wasn't any seaweed or very little in Feb. There was some debris but not enough to worry about, I wouldn't drive on the beach though. There was a nice amount of beach but the dune was gone. Pointe West and Sea Isle are about 15 more miles west so it may be the same. There are houses that have damage, the newer homes seem to have faired the best with only the bottom garage area damaged. The older homes are the ones that took the hardest hits. The damage to the houses on the west side isn't like the devastation that you see on Bolivar. Bottoms of houses washed through, there was sand in the yards close to the beach. Here is a link: http://pointewest-ike.blogspot.com/ that has some pictures, check 'older posts' for the beach pics. Looks ok and is cleaned up. I will see if our friend down there can get any more info.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sonya,

Thank you so much for the information. It looks like Galveston is working very hard to have things ready for tourists this spring.

I will keep checking back for any updates but it looks like things will be good all along the coast, especially by the time we get there.

Thanks again and God bless!
Jan

Anonymous said...

Sonya,
I just ran across your blog about Galveston. My children and I wanted to come for a few days in late June or July but I was told by a friend that it looked like a war zone and there were no beaches. She said the water came up to the Sea Wall. Do you feel Galveston beaches are ready for tourists?