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September 15th, 2008
10:11 PM ET

Gilchrist, Texas: Before & After Ike

David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer

I came across a series of photos from photographer David J. Phillip, showing the devastation to Gilchrist, Texas from a helicopter tour.

From the air, you can really see the impact; with the Gulf of Mexico seen at right, one beachfront home stands among the debris. Ike was the first major storm to directly hit a major U.S. metro area since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.

I decided to find that home using Google Earth. Take a look at what the region looked like before Hurricane Ike struck, and what we now see today…


Filed under: David M. Reisner • Hurricane Ike
September 13th, 2008
11:02 PM ET

With no flood insurance, man kayaks out of living room

Rick Bastien
CNN Media Producer

Dennis Norris doesn’t have flood insurance, but his first floor condo in Seabrook, Texas, flooded last night when Hurricane Ike brought waves crashing over the shore and through the condominium complex. Dennis had nowhere else to put his belongings and no one to help him move them so he stacked them high on this bed, hoping the rising water wouldn’t get to them.

His sofas and coffee tables are ruined, soaking up the murky brown water shimmering with a film of fuel that leaked from the boats in the marina. The marina is now in pieces floating amongst the condos; the boats meander, too, damaging the exteriors of the buildings or washing up on filthy pavement.

But Dennis didn’t need the marina, he kept his kayak in his condo, and today he was able to paddle his way out of his home with the carefree attitude of someone who has just lost his home and does not yet have an answer.

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Filed under: Hurricane Ike
September 13th, 2008
05:23 PM ET

Sharing the roads with downed trees and power lines

Program Note: Watch special coverage from the storm, with Anderson Cooper tonight 6p -8p ET.

Kim Segal
CNN Supervising Producer

We woke up in Houston to find the streets littered with debris. After hearing about the flooding and rescue operations in Orange, Texas we decided to make our way there. Leaving a team behind to report on the damage in downtown Houston.

Those of us working on the CNN special — with Anderson Cooper, 6- 8pm tonight — hit the road. Starting out west on Interstate 10 we zigzagged around flooding, driving on and off the service road.

A half hour into our two hour trip the interstate became impassable. We are now going North to eventually go South in order to reach our destination. The fleeting view from my passenger side window I see destruction everywhere. Properties are flooded, roofs are damaged, we are sharing the road with downed trees and power lines.

With cameraman Robert Proctor at the wheel we are carefully making our way around the debris that blocks the road.

We just passed a military convoy. From our first glance at the aftermath of Hurricane Ike their assistance will be invaluable to numerous towns here in Texas.


Filed under: Hurricane Ike
September 13th, 2008
03:13 PM ET

Task Force Ike ready for deployment

John Couwels
CNN Producer

Task Force Ike, made up of 25 local, state and federal agencies, began leaving San Antonio headed toward the areas affected by Hurricane Ike.
Task Force Ike

The force of 1,500 people is made up of paramedics, Texas military, heavy equipment and mobile command centers. The force lead by Texas Military Col. John F. Nichols said this is, “the first time that so many agencies have come together to create such a mass strike force.”
Task Force Ike

The massive deployment of over 700 vehicles traveling to the effected areas will help clear roads, assist anyone injured and rescue those in need. The force is part a larger force of search and rescue members consisting of helicopters and ground search and rescue teams.

Task Force Ike

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Filed under: Hurricane Ike
September 13th, 2008
03:00 PM ET

Flooded roads on the way to Texas coast

Thomas Evans
CNN Producer

Here's a picture of what we're dealing as we drive towards the Texas coast. This is the I-10 – 59 Split.


Filed under: Hurricane Ike
September 13th, 2008
01:23 PM ET

Major damage on Surfside Beach

CNN's Susan Candiotti is nearly blown over as she reports on the conditions of Hurricane Ike.
CNN's Susan Candiotti is nearly blown over as she reports on the conditions of Hurricane Ike.

Susan Candiotti | BIO
CNN Correspondent

SURFSIDE BEACH, Texas - Surfside's Mayor Larry Davidson says 20 homes are destroyed.

The island is trashed with household items including refrigerators, grills, and furniture scattered about the island. A storm surge of up to 12 feet flooded the island - population of about 1,000.

The Surfside police chief tells us it's pretty devastated.

"We've got houses blown into houses and in bits and pieces ... Of the 10 or so homes (on stilts) on one end of the beach, maybe two are left ... They're just in pieces. It's a mess."

Chief Smith says the man who refused to leave the island is OK: "Roy Wilkinson? He's fine, sittin' on his front porch taking it all in."

Smith's own home, built just four months ago is standing. It's flooded on the ground-floor storage area. Living area above on stilts is mainly OK.

The chief says there was a suspected chemical leak at one of the many petrochemical plants in Clute and around the port of Freeport but it turned out to be false. He says there are no problems at any of the plants.

Crews are already trying to remove debris from beach roads.

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Filed under: Hurricane Ike • Susan Candiotti
September 13th, 2008
08:42 AM ET

Swaying in the wind

Jay Schexnyder
CNN Photojournalist
Galveston, Texas

Ike is pounding the hotel. The whole structure is swaying and vibrating! I'd just fallen asleep after 25 hours of being awake, now I've been jolted to life by pounding on the door. A policeman barked, "Go to shelter on second floor!"

The buffeting, roaring wind is freezing me, but maybe I should run. Conflicted.

The walls are thundering. I hear cracking above (the roof peeling away?). Searing, blistering rain against my balcony window. I see the waves below, tops sheared and ramming into the sea wall.

It's the swaying that's getting to me. I'm getting sea-sick, fighting fear and awe. The power of this thing seems evil (fear) and overpowering (awe).

The wobbling of my room, this Blackberry glowing in the dark transfixes me. I'm still not moving.

The first light of dawn is creeping in. I will go down soon. I've lived through plenty of storms. This is a new experience: throbbing walls and swaying buildings....throbbing fatigue and swaying isolation.


Filed under: Hurricane Ike
September 13th, 2008
08:16 AM ET

CNN Galveston crew all safe

Watch CNN's Gary Tuchman in Galveston, Texas, where the eye of Hurricane Ike passed.
Watch CNN's Gary Tuchman in Galveston, Texas, where the eye of Hurricane Ike passed.

Jason Morris
CNN Producer
Galveston, Texas

The back half of Ike is absoltely pounding us and finally blew us off the air.

At our hotel – The San Luis Resort – officials were going room to room to evacuate people to a safer spot due to glass blowing out.

Team Tuchman, Team Marciano and all hard-working CNN crew on the ground here are safe and riding out the worst of this massive hurricane.


Filed under: Hurricane Ike
September 13th, 2008
07:35 AM ET

A last rest for first-responders

Jim Spellman
CNN Producer

While Houston has been getting pounded, I have been sleeping pretty well. I am with a Coast Guard unit that is ready to deploy as soon as the winds calm down to 40 mph.

We are locked in the Reliant center with hundreds of other first responders. And their gear.

We can hear the rain and wind pounding the building but everyone here needs sleep, their work will come after the storm and this might be the last rest they get for days.


Filed under: Hurricane Ike
September 13th, 2008
01:11 AM ET

Bacliff Residents Not Evacuating

Rick Bastien
CNN Media Producer

In Bacliff, many residents not evacuating...

When asked how he has prepared for the storm, resident Steven Alexander said "it ain’t nothing but a little wind and rain." Steven said he’s been nearly a lifelong resident of Bacliff, but he hadn’t done any preparations for Hurricane Ike; he was only concerned with flooding. This sentiment is shared with several other residents of the small Galveston Bay town.

Charles Slaydon has also lived in Bacliff his entire life, and he survived a typhoon during Vietnam war while staying on a Navy ship. Slaydon runs a local business repairing and buildings masts for boats, and joked that the hurricane could "break every one of those masts." But Slaydon, who carries his pet parrot, Gracie, on his shoulder, also acknowledged that Ike is going to be a lot worse than the locals expect, saying "there’s a lot of people who don’t think this storm is as bad as its going to be, but it’s a bad boy".


Filed under: Hurricane Ike
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