Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
RedScare

Happy Anniversary Hurricane Alicia

Recommended Posts

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Alicia, the storm that snuck up on Houston.

 

http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/sudden-hurricanes-surprise-tropical-storms-alicia-allison-humberto-20130814

 

 

Alicia was born as a tropical depression Aug. 15, 1983, over the north-central Gulf of Mexico just 125 miles south of Port Fourchon, La. It tracked west and steadily gained intensity, becoming a hurricane just 36 hours later, and a major hurricane with 115-mile-per-hour winds early on the morning of Aug.18, just 66 hours (2 3/4 days) after forming.

By that point, it was already bearing down on the upper Texas coast, slamming onshore just a few hours later. Windows shattered in Houston skyscrapers as gravel from roofs flew through the air. Galveston reported a 98-mph wind gust along with nine feet of storm surge on the Gulf side of the island. Twenty-three tornadoes touched down as Alicia pushed inland.

 

Alicia was born in the time that hurricanes were still excuses to party. Weather Channel did not exist. We did not get 24 hour wall to wall terror from weather reporters back then. One day, we wake up and go to work, and a hurricane is coming. The next day, it is a Cat 3. We worked a full day, got off at 5, went to the store and loaded up on beer and Doritos, and headed home to party with the hot UH coeds from the apartment next door.

 

Alicia hit in the middle of the night, waking me and the coeds (my roomie was a nerd, so both girls wanted to stay with me instead). The winds were so strong that you could feel the walls move in and out from the gusts blowing against them. Power went out everywhere, but for some reason, our apartment stayed lit. We watched the major networks cover the storm. It looked worse on TV than at our apartment.

 

In the middle of the morning, the eye passed over us. It was strange seeing blue sky, knowing that the storm would return soon. The freaky part was all of the birds trapped in the eye...thousands of them. They flew along with the eye as the stormwall was ferocious.

 

After the storm passed, we jumped in my Toyota 4x4 to inspect the damage. Stoplights were blown away or the poles blown backward. We found a bar on Washington that was open. It is still a bar to this day, The Dubliner, or something. There were trees and power lines down. We got to downtown, but it was on lockdown, due to the shards of glass falling from the skyscrapers. After Alicia, skyscrapers never used pebbles on their roofs again, as those pebbles became BBs during the storm.

 

Nowadays, hurricanes are scary creatures. Whether it is the media overstating the danger, or the fact that now I am a homeowner, I would just as soon most hurricanes pass me by. But, I'll never forget my favorite storm Alicia.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was living off Post Oak and Willowbend at the time, and woke up at 7.30 to a dark house and the sound of the storm outside. my room mate was visiting his wife in law school in Austin, so I was by myself. I didn't have a battery powered radio, so had no clue as to what the status was. After a few hours, the eye moved over, and calm reigned for an hour or so, and I listened to the radio in the car. Once the eye passed, I watched the rain and wind blow from the other direction for a few hours, and waited for it all to pass. Once it was over, I went out to see the streets full of tree debris, and pretty much impassible. The houses across the street soon had power, but I had to wait 4 days. Nothing like hearing the hum of your neighbor's A/C to annoy you as you sit in the dark, hot house.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was 11 months old, so I should have been at my house in Spring near the hardy toll road :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was 13. Remember staying up all night and heading outside during the eye. We got lucky. Our house never lost power but every other house on our block did. That remains a mystery...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not having potable water sucked.  This was before the City had generator backups to the water pumps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I intended to stay up to witness the storm, but I'm not much of a night owl so I just went to sleep.  In the middle of the night I heard what sounded like a giant explosion but it was too dark to see what had happened.  The next morning I found that a small utility building behind my apartment had just blown apart and vanished.  Luckily I had power back the same morning, but foolishly I drove out to see damage and stalled my car out in deep water.  A couple of days later I took friends to Galveston to see the extensive damage there.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a kid out in northwest Houston, and somehow the whole family ended up awake and in my 2nd floor bedroom in the middle of the night when we heard crazy loud winds and lawn furniture hitting the house.  We weren't very smart about getting into a more secure lower floor space.  The next morning we could clearly see where a tornado had touched down in the gas pipeline right-of-way behind the house, not more than 50 yards from our house.  It had bounced around and destroyed a doughnut shop nearby.  But we only lost a single roof shingle.  Very, very lucky...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It hit on my 10th birthday. I don't recall a whole lot of the storm itself, other than the power being out for a bit, listening to the ominous reports on the battery powered radio, and getting around by flashlight.

We lived in Sagemont, right off of what is now the South Belt. I do remember when the eye went right over us. After all the pounding winds that sounded like they were treating the roof off, there was this terrific calm...and everyone in the neighborhood poured out of their houses to check the damage. Lots of roof damage and fence damage. I distinctly recall the green skies, with lightning flashing in the distance...first time I ever saw green skies (but not the last). I later learned that's an indication of tornado weather, and sure enough there were dozens of twisters that hit Friendswood and Pearland just south of us.

My grandma's boyfriend had a beach house in Sea Isle on Galveston Island. If you recall, the National Guard wasn't letting anyone on the island without proof that they owned land there. My grandma made a huge sob story about going to look for her boyfriend's body, we hadn't heard from him. It worked, and we were able to go check his house. His house was standing, but the piles had all moved around, and most of the stairs were gone, so my dad wouldn't let me inside.

I remember seeing lots of homes down there that was nothing but the piles, the floor, and a toilet! Walls, roof, furniture, all gone, but that toilet was safe. So...next time we've got a hurricane bearing down on us, go sit on the shitter! :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alicia hit the last week I lived with my parents. Out in Katy in 83 there were few large trees in the subdivisions on Mason RD, but damn there was a lot of wind damage to roofs. My recollection  is pretty weak- very high winds, high water getting uncomfortably close to the doors, we lost power, and I think maybe the eye was not terribly far away because there was a period of calm, at which point I went to sleep. (My grandfather's funeral was a couple of days before Alicia and my mom was sad and pissed and really not coping well with shitty weather/no power  on top of all that, so I coped by sleeping thru as much as I could).  The next week I was moving into my dorm at UH, and me and my little gang spent some time downtown gawking at all the blown out windows and debris piles where we could get close enough.  It was during this first month of college, post hurricane, that we discovered Warren's--all thanks to the spectacle of storm damage  and broken glass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The day before Alicia hit, my college roommate was flying back in from the east coast in preparation for the new semester, and after picking him up from the airport we decided to ride out the storm with a couple of friends in their apartment near Bissonnet and 59. Everyone proceeded to get hammered, and eventually drifted off to semi-consciousness. At some point in the middle of the night when the storm was raging, I woke up and looked out the window to find one of the people who lived in the apartment standing in the middle of the parking lot with arms upraised, taking it all in. It was just like the scene from THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, except with rain blowing horizontally. I don't think we ever lost power while we were there, but my parents' neighborhood near Aldine was without power for a week or two afterward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a hurricane party and stayed up all night.  During the eye, I went outside to retrieve someone's dog that had gotten loose.  Like fools, after it passed, we attempted to drive downtown, but between Buffalo Bayou raging and DT being cordoned off, we never made it. I also remember seeing jet skis zipping around on the sunken part of 59 through Montrose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...