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.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/13/art.vert.ike.roads.jpg width=292 height=320]
Program Note: Watch special coverage from the storm, with Anderson Cooper tonight 6p -8p ET.
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.
Task Force Ike, made up of 25 local, state and federal agencies, began leaving San Antonio headed toward the areas affected by Hurricane 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.”
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.
Here's a picture of what we're dealing as we drive towards the Texas coast. This is the I-10 – 59 Split.
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.
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.
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.
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.
he apparent head-on collision between Metrolink train 111 and the Union Pacific train occurred about 4:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. ET) in Chatsworth, a northwestern suburb of Los Angeles. It sparked a fire that was brought under control.
Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said 10 people had died, as rescuers continued to search the wreckage. The media relations department of the Los Angeles police department said one officer was among those killed, but did not release additional details.
"That number will likely grow because, as you know, we are in a rescue phase," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
About 220 people were on the commuter train, which was heading north, according to Los Angeles authorities. Passengers were still being evacuated, said Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell. Three passenger cars and one locomotive were involved in the crash.