The still-lingering cold front makes it possible to go outdoors. The relative improvement in inclination to walk (no power to pump fuel!) and spend time with neighbors (no TV to watch!) has made Houston for the time being a more hopping, social place than previously. The comparison I heard to New Orleans wasn't based on storm damage, but conspicuous social activity.
The restaurants that are open -- I'm guessing here that gas stoves, ovens, and grills are the secret ingredient, perhaps next to wood-burning ovens and grills (mesquite bar-b-q?) -- are bustling even mid-week.
I'm trying to get a report on whether my place has power. Houston Independent School District has announced school closures through Friday, but I've got a line on childcare help we can rely on in the event we have a prospect for electricity (hot showers). The City of Houston says water testing shows no problematic bacteria, but they haven't discouraged ongoing antimocribial efforts like boiling water.
Firsthand reports from Houston say debris still abounds, particularly in the high-end River Oaks area, which had numerous mature, large trees to be split and obliterated by wind. Power continues to be out in about half the city. There is optimism of prompt power restoration in the city proper.
One friend, in the Northwast visiting an elderly relative, returned immediately after the storm despite the protests of his Galvestonian daughter who was living in his power-free home due to the storm, and was working in the Medical Center immediately thereafter. The house has gas heat and ovens, so he's in better shape than many, despite ongoing absence of electricity.
I've noticed there are several posts here on Hurricane Ike, and it's likely in Houston that we'll get more storms, so I've created a weather tag. This will allow me to distinguish posts on environmental policy issues from posts about immediate weather-related problems. For some reason, getting posts by searching for the intersection of several tags doesn't seem to be supported by Blogger, so it's rough getting the exact post I want, sometimes.
If you have anything interesting on Ike or the weather, drop me a line.