Earlier today, Liane interviewed Galveston resident Merri Edwards, who was staying at a Fairfield Inn outside Houston, Texas. Edwards is one of the thousands of Galveston residents who evacuated in advance of Hurricane Ike. We will be following her story in the next two weeks as she and her family discover what remains of their home and belongings back in Galveston. You can read Liane's first interview with Merri Edwards below and share your own Hurricane Ike stories.
Liane: Did you feel the effects of Hurricane Ike there in Houston?
Merri Edwards: Oh yes. The wind, and, of course, the rain. The shingles blew off the hotel the power went out. My husband and I were in a room on the third floor. We had to move to a room on the second floor because the water started pouring in from the roof to the third floor.
Liane: Your house in Galveston is about a half mile from the beach?
Merri Edwards: That's right.
Liane: Any news on the condition?
Merri Edwards: We have not heard a thing. We haven't been able to get a hold of anyone in Galveston yet.
Liane: Some people were talking about the Galveston Flood of 1900. You're actually a historian, and you've given lectures on this topic for the Galveston County Historical Foundation. Tell us just a little bit about that event.
Merri Edwards: There was about a 12 or 15 storm surge for that one, and of course, no seawall. It wiped out most of the buildings in the city between the Gulf and Broadway.
Liane: I understand it killed over 6,000 people.
Merri Edwards: Yeah, and that was just here. It made its way up along the East Coast and the seaboard, and it finally blew itself out east of Greenland 10 days to two weeks later. I think the biggest estimate I've seen is that it killed almost 12,000 people. It killed between 6,000 and 8,000 people in Galveston alone.
Liane: The seawall was put in place after the 1900 hurricane, and it worked, really.
Merri Edwards: It worked. There was a storm in 1915 right after the grade-raising was completed and the sea wall was built. The storm in 1915 was even stronger than the storm in 1900. The seawall proved its worth.
Liane: It must have been interesting for you to watch that water coming in over the seawall.
Merri Edwards: It really was. I kept thinking about the 1900 storm and what it must have been like for the people there. People that fought that water all night long.
Liane: What's next for you? When do you plan to get back to Galveston?
Merri Edwards: Well, as soon as they let us in. Right now, we're without power, so we don't have television. We have a crank radio we've been listening to, but there's not much information coming in on it from Galveston. Which is very frustrating.
Liane: What are your thoughts about the future? Are you going to stay in Galveston and rebuild?
Merri Edwards: I don't know. I don't know what I'm going to find when I get there; if we still have a house, or what kind of damage there is. There were some fires, but I don't know where the fires where; if they were in our neighborhood. Right now... I just don't know. For the last couple of years I've talked to my husband about moving, and one of the things he always got hung up on was moving fifty years worth of stuff, packing it all up, and moving it. If we lose everything we can put everything we own in a car and go.
Liane: Merri Edwards is an evacuee from Galveston, Texas she joined us on the line from a hotel north of Houston.