Ike cripples Southeast Texas
San Jacinto News- Times - September 2008
COLDSPRING – Hurricane Ike plowed across San Jacinto County early Saturday morning leaving behind an uncalculated amount of damage ranging from loss of homes to uprooted trees, downed power lines, broken tree limbs and scattered debris. No reports of injuries have been reported as a result of the hurricane although extensive damage has been reported, according to San Jacinto County Sheriff Lacy Rogers. Hurricane Ike took aim at the Galveston area late Friday as it made a path through Southeast Texas, leaving at least two million Houston-area customers without electricity, leading to fuel shortages, closed schools and crippling grocery and retail sales throughout the area.
Following the storm, Galveston City Manager Steven LeBlanc declared his city as not fi t for habitation and warned of a potential public health crisis, telling the estimated 20,000 residents who rode out the storm in the city to leave. In San Jacinto County, special needs citizens and senior citizens needing shelter to ride out the storm found safety in the San Jacinto County Senior Citizen’s Center in Coldspring. About six residents stayed the fi rst night. Those numbers have increased steadily during the last few days. As well as sheltering special needs residents, the center is also feeding members of the national guard who were guard who were deployed to help in the area. The center almost did not open for lack of an operable generator. Hours before the storm started Friday evening San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner was on a fork lift attempting to install a generator donated by the San Jacinto County Democratic Party because the new generator purchased with grant money refused to work. Just after dark Friday, San Jacinto County Pct. 3 Commissioner David Brandon and an assistant got the new generator operable. In Shepherd, residents found safety at the Shepherd Community Center where Shepherd Mayor Pat Sanford provided a generator for comfort Saturday and through this week. Sunday volunteers fed more than 400 residents needing meals with food donated by the Shepherd Independent School District and Subway. FEMA was expected to have food available for county residents immediately following the storm, however; as of Tuesday morning Judge Faulkner said there had been no deliveries of food to the county, only ice and water. Lines for ice and water have been long at times. Monday the line extended in Coldspring from the courthouse annex down Hwy. 150 and past the San Jacinto County Fair Grounds. Fuel lines, when it is available at local stations, are also long. The San Jacinto County Courthouse is expected to be closed through Friday or until electricity is back. Schools in the county will also be closed through Friday.
Judge Faulkner said storm debris cleaned from property and placed along ditch lines in the county and cities will be picked up the State Corps of Engineers. President Bush announced Tuesday that federal money to pay for Ike debris removal will be available. The state will be reimbursed 100 percent of the cost of debris removal and emergency operations over the next 30 days for people who have had to leave their home because of the storm.