Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Himmicane Ike and Houston

Large area won't have lights till after Monday

CenterPoint Energy executives issued a timeline for power restoration Wednesday evening, indicating it will be after Monday before most lights shine in a huge swath of the Houston area from Spring to Pearland to Baytown.

David McClanahan, CenterPoint's president and chief executive, emphasized that many customers in those areas will see their power restored earlier, and the company said high-voltage lines and other major points in the system are repaired.

Dozens of neighborhoods deal with sewage backups

Sewage backups have plagued more than 30 neighborhoods across Houston because more than a hundred motors that keep wastewater moving to treatment plants have been without power since Hurricane Ike barreled through, a city official said today.

About half of Houston's 400 lift stations have regained electricity, said Alvin Wright, spokesman for the city's public works department. But backups have occurred at more than three dozen lift stations since Ike struck, he said.

Ike evacuees, the furry kind, arrive in Houston

Hurricane Ike not only devastated Galveston, forcing thousands of residents off the island, but the killer storm also displaced countless domestic pets. Some five animals have already been found dead, said Caroline Dorsett, executive director of the Galveston Island Humane Society, which she said was destroyed.

Animal advocacy officials and a legion of volunteers from around the country now are working to rescue the stray pets and reunite them with their owners in Houston.

"These animals are part of people's families," said Kay Mayfield, director of emergency services for Colorado-based Code 3, a national animal rescue group that is in town working with SPCA to search for the animals. "They need to be rescued just like humans do."

SPCA officials are asking Houstonians to open their homes to the storm-weary pets for the next 10 days. If the animals are not claimed within that window the host can opt to adopt the pet or return it to SPCA's shelter at 900 Portway Drive, Nandlal explained.

The animals are cute and diverse in age and types: From kittens and pups to Tabby cats and Pomeranian dogs. One black and white Rat Terrier, Maxine, was swollen with pregnancy, but frisky and energetic. Some of the pets were nippy, growling and revealing their teeth. Others appeared docile, searching for any comforting hand to pat them on the head.

"These animals have been through a very big storm so clearly they are under a little bit of stress," Nandlal said.
~The Houston Chronicle

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