Tag Archives: hurricane

Granddad’s update, post Hurricane Dolly

28 Jul

My grandfather lives in Harlingen, Texas, and decided last week that he and his girlfriend, Lina, would take on Hurricane Dolly from his home. I’d already heard they the two of them had survived the storm, and the return of electricity brought a post-Dolly e-mail.

Finally got power back on just this evening. It was off 5½ days. Being without power was worse than the hurricane. I had 2 large coolers so loaded the stuff from my fridge and kept it on ice but don’t know if I saved it.

We were on the south side of the hurricane so all our wind came from the West. Very strong (100 MPH) and very gusty. It was an experience. My friend Lina stayed with me and she says she will never stay in a hurricane again. (I admit being in the same house with her was a bit like I imagine it would be to be in a cage with a hungry lion.) ( I exaggerate, It was good to have her with me.)

My apartments came through in good shape. I boarded up some windows and sat in line for an hour and a half for sand bags. I have 4 large “Live Oak” Trees in my front yard and they all survived. I had a yard full of limbs, some as large as my wrist but I had no broken glass. One apartment has a wet carpet and I still don’t know how. Water didn’t get high enough to go in the door. I inspected the roofs and maybe a dozen shingles were blown off.

After the hurricane, water was deep and we couldn’t go anyplace without driving through water. No one had electricity so all restaurants and gas stations were closed. After a couple of days of cold food and no coffee I rigged a small propane heater on it’s back in my vice so it made a burner of sorts. I was able to heat a meal. Showers were cold but in 100 degree weather it wasn’t that bad. Sleeping at night even with windows open was difficult.

The day after the hurricane the highway was alive with hundreds of generators, National Guard and all sorts of electrical crews and clean up people. National Guard set up in several locations and passed out bags of ice, cases of bottled water and “Hot Meals.” Hot Meals are military rations. You pour water in them and they will get so hot you can’t hold on to them. They are really very good. The 3 that I had were “Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli,” “Vegetarian 3 Cheese Lasagna” and “Chicken Pasta Italiana.” There was also in the box “fruit mix, M&Ms, Peanut butter, ice tea mix, salt & pepper, napkin plastic knife & fork etc.” The lines for these were a mile long but moved at a good pace. One of the grocery chains gave out free ice.

There were benefits. There were a lot of “people helping people.” My residents sat in the front yard to keep as cool as possible and all got acquainted and would share ice ,water and hot meals with each other. It was heart warming.

Living was difficult mostly because of the 100 degree weather and no cooking capabilities. When the restaurants and gas stations did begin to reopen (Some with generators) there were very long lines as most people still didn’t have electricity in their homes.

I hope I never live through another hurricane but if one comes along I will stay and will know better how to handle the next one.

Granddad and Dolly

23 Jul

I’ve done floods. And blizzards. And earthquakes. All were fun in their own way.

I just got an e-mail from my grandfather who is preparing for Hurricane Dolly. Dolly just made landfall in South Padre Island, Texas. When I was in the eighth grade, we went to South Padre Island to visit my grandfather for Christmas. It was very cold there that year. Grandad sold the island condo several years ago and moved to Harlingen, Texas, which will be in Dolly’s path.

Grandad is in his 80s. He owns an apartment building in Harlingen and still does a lot of the maintenance himself. In his e-mail, he talks about boarding up and caulking doors and windows at his girlfriend’s and the apartment — he did that himself. His e-mail:

Hi Y’all

Hurricane “Dolly” is just about to make landfall at Brownsville TX. Lina & I are settled in at my place prepared to ride it out. We spent all day yesterday buttoning everything down. I waited an hour and a half in line for sand bags. We boarded up Lina’s house in Sebastian and spent the rest of the day getting the apartments ready. Winds are reported to be just under 100 miles per hour. We will have 2 problems.

Problem 1. I am all electric and the power will without a doubt be off, maybe for several days. My freezer is full. I hope it doesn’t all spoil. I was so busy with everything else I didn’t have the foresight to buy a small camp stove. We have plenty of canned goods & water but we may be eating cold pork & beans out of the can. Weather will be mild so no air conditioning won’t be a big problem.

Problem 2. We are expecting a lot of rain. Harlingen is very flat and only a few feet above sea level. When there is a 3 or 4 inch rain businesses close and schools send the kids home because there is extreme flooding. We had a 17 inch rain a few years ago and I lost a new van to the water. My insurance Co. paid me a total loss on it. I have installed plywood panels in the doorways of my building and caulked them in. I hope they will keep the water from flooding the ground floor of my building.

Other than that we are just waiting for the big blow. I do not believe that we will have any major problems. (perhaps famous last words) My building built 4 years ago was well constructed to withstand hurricane force. 100 M.P.H. winds are strong but some hurricanes pack 150 M.P.H. winds.

I’m kind of looking forward to the experience and will let you know how we come out. Wish me luck.


It must run in the family — I kinda what to know what it’d be like to go through a hurricane too.