Saturday, July 26, 2008

Some Reflections on Dolly

The last week has been one of emotional extremes as residents, visitors, and all who love the sandbar known as South Padre Island, whether they were physically on the island or somewhere else, watched, waited, prepared, waited, and then were mesmerized as Dolly became the first hurricane to make a direct hit on SPI in 20+ years. I cannot imagine what those who remained on the island experienced but I know without a doubt the anxiety felt by those of us not present, who have property, friends, or just feel a connection to this special little sandbar, as we watched the newscasts and listened to reporters describe conditions that we could not imagine. As I continuously switched between The Weather Channel, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and any other weather reports I could find, the frustration mounted as I tried to get a glimpse of what was behind the reporter, to identify some landmark, to get some idea of how bad it actually was. Seeing one reporter after another demonstrate the strength of the wind, by taking the classic stance of man against nature, did little to show us what was happening to our homes or our friends homes, our favorite restaurant or bar, or whether there would be any beach remaining.

I have pulled together some words which I think demonstrate what all of us who love this place have been feeling.

The town began issuing emergency management storm updates which continued to become more ominous as Dolly approached the coast and seemed to be headed straight for Brownsville.

On the SPIForum discussions focused on Dolly

Ok, if its a cat 1, who is staying ? Who is going? What if its a tropical storm? If it even could be a 2 I am outta here!! ! Too early to run, later may be too late to hide. Gotta love it.
So let's take a straw poll:
Raise your hand if you are putting up plywood this evening. Feel free to elaborate why or why not.

(Those of you smug smarties who have storm shutters can just sit back and smile ;-)

The world is definitely watching - spotted the CNN Weather truck coming onto the island at 6:30 this morning.
Check out the weather channel, as of 5:45 Jim (Cantore) was on the beach in Isla Blanca Park.

Rob Nixon talked about getting prepared
Well it's 5:15 PM and it looks as if Hurricane Dolly is going to visit South Padre Island tomorrow morning.

I have been up since 6:30AM and I have shuddered my in-laws house, my house and been to the tower to tie down all that stuff.

And finally Wednesday came, bringing Dolly, who arrived as a Cat 2 Hurricane and slammed into South Padre Island with a force that no one expected.

being sandy feet:

Four thousand miles away from Blackbeards, the wide-screened TV is tuned to CNN International where I am treated to the totally surreal vision of my beloved island - battered and under water - over and over again in the news loop

and more here
The news from home is not very happy. SPI really took a pretty bad hit and the timing couldn't be worse -- July is peak season when most of us need to make enough to get us through the slow times. If the power stays off for weeks no one will come even for those of us who didn't suffer significant damage

from Melissa
The rest of the Island has no power and no water. The winds are whistling, but subsiding. The rain continues. There is significant flooding throughout the Island, but the flooding on Padre Boulevard has diminished some. There is significant damage to many, many buildings. More than 200 power lines/poles are down with many palm trees snapped in half.

The bridge is open, but there are pelicans everywhere. They are using its concrete sides as a shelter from the wind. Now that's a sight to see.

Staying through this storm and watching it blow in, was probably one of the most memorable experiences I will ever have.

To be continued


Rob Nixon said...

Great timeline.

Dolly has really hurt the island physically but it will be the economic damage that will be the most painful.

Joni said...

Glad to finally hear from you and know that you and your family are ok.

I know after looking at the pictures, I would be utterly devastated if I were faced with the clean-up that many are dealing with right now. Loss of business, coupled with the costs of rebuilding and the emotional turmoil - it just makes me incredibly sad to see a place I love and so many good people going through this.

It is good to see the town pulling together and we will get through it but it is going to be tough on a lot of folks.

I am so very blessed that Paragraphs did not have any damage.

Rob Nixon said...

Well it will all come together. It could have been a lot worse.

Leah, Brent and Jay are still pretty optimistic and are aiming for a labor day opening at Dorado's.

Josh and Amy don't know what they want to do about Psychadeli. We are trying to convince them that we will find them a place to set back up and not go to Austin.

Jake's are telling their employees that it will be at least a month before they get open as well as Sea Ranch.

We are hoping that they will have full power up by Thursday and we can open Friday

Joni said...

Well, I am thinking of everyone there. I would guess having some electricity will help everything look better. Thanks for the update.