Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricane Ike's aftermath

We are ok. Unlike three-quarters of the Cincinnati area, we never lost power. The winds kicked up after noon on Sunday and whipped the area to and fro - tearing the roof off the Delta Airlines hanger at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport, ripping shingles and siding from numerous homes, downing trees and power lines, and wreaking general havoc on the region for around six hours.

I had driven up early Sunday morning to visit my mom in rural Warren County. We had no idea there was a threat of bad weather and it wasn't until we went outside around 1:30 p.m. to gather some vegetables from the garden that we realized that it was more than just blustery. I decided to cut the visit short and try to get home, but downed trees and power lines prevented me from going very far. I went back to Mom's and hunkered down until the bad weather subsided around 6 p.m.

Mom lost several trees and is without power, but she is ok. I tried to talk her into coming home with me but she was having none of it. She has kerosene lanterns and plenty of raw veggies from the garden and bottled water to keep her going.

After leaving her house I took lots of back roads and finally worked my way to I-75. I saw plenty of downed and uprooted trees along the way, and traveling south on the highway was eerie - restaurants and stores were dark and their parking lots empty, damaged billboards hung in tatters, wind-whipped debris was scattered everywhere, and even the rest areas were closed due to lack of power. Along I-75 the only power I saw was Children's Medical Center in West Chester.

By the time I reached Norwood there were signs of power here and there, and the downtown business district was well lit. Arriving in Newport, the queues at area drive-thru's was crazy-busy. Not a parking space to be had at Frisch's and Donatos, and the drive-thru for McDonalds was at least 20 cars deep. Heck, even Arby's was hopping.

Kroger was a nightmare to navigate, but at least they were open. I felt sorry for the checkout clerks - every lane was open and six people deep. I noticed that most of the license plates in the parking lot were from Ohio.

Our street lost quite a few trees; one landed on a house and damaged the porch and windows, another landed on a car. Luckily there were no injuries. Some homes lost guttering and some shingles, but all in all we were very fortunate.

Downed limbs

Newport police officer assesses storm damage with a resident.

A tree landed on a home in Newport's East Row, damaging the porch and blowing out upstairs windows.

A tree limb rests on a Volkswagen in our neighborhood.

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