Storm Aftermath: Widespread Damage

by Tina Alexander

From the looks of things, there was not a neighborhood in East Texas that did not have some measure of storm damage.

Whether it was huge trees shaken out by their roots and left lumbering across yards littered with debris, roofs peeled back like a can of sardines, or dangling power lines that left countless neighborhoods in the dark, Hurricane Ike left its mark on East Texas.

The rain and high winds let up Saturday afternoon just long enough for local residents to get a glimpse of the clean-up that lies ahead.  Emergency crews sprang into action trying to clear roadways and restore power to the more than 50-thousand Oncor customers in the Lufkin - Nacogdoches area alone.  They plan to work well into the night.

Other workers are bedding down for the night as they dream about first light and the long workday ahead.  Dreams of buzzing chain saws, hammers pounding and tree grinders humming.

The Lufkin State School is calling all available workers back to work.

Officials with Consolidated Communications say their employees are working around the clock to restore telephone service to customers in its Conroe, Katy and Lufkin service areas following Hurricane Ike.

Due to widespread power outages, almost 200 Consolidated Communications sites are without commercial power.  While many of those sites continue to operate on batteries or generators, some 40 sites are without any type of power.  As a result, more than 21,300 their customers are without phone, Internet or TV service.

KTRE's Meteorologist Brad Hlozek says we can expect another 1-3 inches of rain through the Saturday evening hours.  There's a 50 percent chance of rain in the forecast for the first half of the day Sunday.  We should see clearing skies and sunshine tomorrow afternoon.

Despite the widespread destruction, many local emergency disaster organizers say East Texas seemed better prepared to handle the storm, though one can never be prepared enough to handle the unknowns that come with one of nature's most powerful wonders.