bloggin' all things brownsville

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good Bye, Dolly -- The Ultimate, Unpleasant Tourist


I'm writing from South Padre Island's Emergency Operation Center located at our municipal building. It's 1:40 a.m. on quiet South Padre Island. Our building is running on a generator, but the AC doesn't work. UGH! Note to self: Purchase oscillating fans for future emergencies. It's me and two other members of the Emergency Management Team staying in the building overnight.

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.

We issued an 8 p.m. curfew today -- no reason for folks to be driving around in flooded, debris-filled areas. I drove out a couple of times, and the winds really shook my Town vehicle. Stepping outside of the vehicle, the rain feels like hundreds of needles poking you. In between wind gusts, you can walk OK, but once a gust hits you, hold on to something tight. I lost a couple of baseball caps. Just after two minutes outside, my clothing was soaked, and sandy, salty water covered my face and mouth completely.

We had one major accident today with a 17-year-old male falling over a seventh-floor balcony. He's in stable condition. Witnesses reported that a wind gust caused his fall. That's why we urge folks to remain indoors.

We have significant damage to our Convention Centre and fire department. Folks are reporting missing boats, windows, doors, roofs, decks, docks, etc.

The owner of Amberjack's extended a special dinner invitation to our Emergency Management Team and emergency personnel. With the power out, he felt the best use of the food before it spoiled was to feed us. How cool is that? With no power, it was dinner by car lights; restaurant staff faced their car vehicles at our tables. We were very grateful, and a break from the sandwiches was a Godsend.

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.

Met and spoke to some cool folks, too! Like Dave Price of CBS's The Early Show pictured aboved.

I hope folks are staying dry and safe in Brownsville. Thanks for all the kind emails and phone calls. All is well. I will post new photos of the Island tomorrow.

Time for sleep now. The other two team members are snoring already in their respective corners. Time for me to do the same in my corner.

Melissa

10 Comments:

Blogger BobbyWC said...

I'm not sure when we got electricity back near the airport , but I woke up about 1:30 when my CPAP (forced air for sleep apnea)started to fail. I was using my car battery to run it and it started to get low. Using it first for 5 hours to watch DVD's on my laptop was probably not a smart thing to do.

Anyway at 1:30 my electricity was back on and all my meat was still frozen.

other than my neighbor's dead palm branches being all over my truck, things look real clean here near the airport. I have a couple of broken tree branches hanging from the tree -

back to bed

BObby WC

Thursday, July 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dolly sure behaved like a tourist diva. She made us all wait and wait, and then when she got here, she took her sweet time looking around, deciding where she was going to head on next.

She seemed to like the island best, though. Brownsville fared relatively well.

Patricia A.

Thursday, July 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I lost a couple of baseball caps."

...

Thursday, July 24, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

DOT DOT DOT

Thursday, July 24, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

According to AEP, SPI will be without power for 7-plus days. Not good. We are not happy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 17 year old didn't fall over the balcony, a window broke and the wind literally sucked him out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw another report that said power would be back on tomorrow. Is that true? What about Port Isabel?

Friday, July 25, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

The 17 year old didn't fall over the balcony, a window broke and the wind literally sucked him out.

He did fall over. Those accompanying him later admitted that he and his friends were taking photos of each other on the balcony when the wind forced him over.

Friday, July 25, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

I saw another report that said power would be back on tomorrow. Is that true? What about Port Isabel?

We had another meeting with AEP today. Power is estimated to be restored in 4-7 days. Port Isabel remains without power as of 10 p.m. today. However, there are AEP crews EVERYWHERE. Laguna Vista or parts of Laguna Vista now have power.

Friday, July 25, 2008  
Blogger Joni said...

Melissa,
You have done a wonderful job of keeping everyone informed through the emergency updates. For those not on the island it was a good way of feeling less helpless. It must have been quite an experience!Joni

Saturday, July 26, 2008  

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