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Hurricane Ike worries ND Texans

Becky Hogan | Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane Ike slammed Galveston, Texas, as well as parts of southern Houston early Saturday morning, leaving Notre Dame students concerned about loved ones that may have been affected in its wake.

According to The Weather Channel, Galveston and southern Houston suffered the brunt of Ike’s destruction, but the storm’s path took it from Louisiana to New York.

Senior Lorna Bath experienced some the effects of Hurricane Ike last weekend as she flew into Houston Thursday for a family wedding near the Mexico-Texas border.

While in Texas, Bath was able to get a feel for how the state has been handling the effects of the storm.

“People seem to be taking the curfews very seriously,” Bath said.

According to CNN, Galveston and Harris counties implemented curfews beginning on Sept. 12, and about 60 percent of Galveston Island resident have evacuated.

Although the hurricane devastated much of Galveston, it did not hit as strongly as originally expected – it was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane once it hit Galveston Island, according to CNN.

Leaving Houston on Sunday was more of a challenge than entering the city for Bath, however. Her flight from Houston to Chicago was cancelled, and she eventually had to fly out of San Antonio in order to get back to campus, she said.

Bath also said that she has some friends in eastern Houston who decided to stay as the storm first hit.

“[My family and I] called everyone we know to see how they were,” Bath said. “Most people didn’t have power or phones lines … and fences were destroyed by the storm. There was some flooding [in eastern Houston], but no significant damage.”

Bath, who is from western Houston, said that she and her family were thankful the hurricane had not caused any major damage to her home.

“My family was relieved that our house was spared,” Bath said.

Bath said she thought Texas residents were better prepared to respond to Ike due to the devastation they saw others endure from Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav.

“If it hadn’t been for those storms, the state would not have mobilized as quickly as it did, and it has taken great pains to evacuate the coast as much as possible,” she said. “The level of organization was impressive.”

Sophomore Elizabeth Morgan said that Ike has been particularly worrisome for her because she has experienced first-hand what it is like to have family members caught in a hurricane.

“I was personally affected by Hurricane Katrina because I have a lot of family in New Orleans. It’s an emotional experience whenever a hurricane comes and I always get a little scared and nervous about it,” Morgan said.

Morgan said she first started keeping up with Ike’s progress last week.

“Last week I was watching the news, and I saw that there was a big storm that was going to affect Houston,” Morgan said.

Morgan is from Spring, Texas about 30 miles north of Houston – while her town has not been affected as drastically as other areas like southern Houston and Galveston, she remained fearful for friends and family residing in these areas.

“Spring has not been affected as far as water, but trees have fallen and power has been cut off,” she said.

Morgan also said her grandparents who live in southern Houston and friends that attend the University of Houston who have been under mandatory evacuation.

“It’s hard for me to be up at school where everything is normal, while [friends and family] are at home in the midst of destruction with no air conditioning or electricity,” Morgan said.