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HomeLocal / Area NewsHURRICANE ALICIA HIT 32 YEARS AGO TODAY –WHERE WERE YOU

HURRICANE ALICIA HIT 32 YEARS AGO TODAY –WHERE WERE YOU

SCOTT ENGLE

I still remember Alicia like it was yesterday. Was out most of the night as it slowly moved in. Spent most of the night with Don Shafer who was the media representative for Herman Hospital Life Flight. We stayed at the hospital. Nurses were called in after midnight and I remember one who came in was pale white. She had driven her VW Bug from Clear Lake in the winds. During the night several marble slabs from the side of the building fell off. Then about 6 am a chemical fire came in on Almeda Road. Firefighters fought the blaze in hurricane force winds and several were sent to Hermann for inhalation.

As the storm settled down and moved north toward Spring I left the medical center. As I headed north on I-45 water made the road impassable near I-10 so I dropped off and went by Houston Fire Alarm on Bagby right next to Houston Fire Station 1. When I hit the speaker at the back door and announced myself I was immediately buzzed in. As I walked in Dispatcher Ray “Radar” Gibbs was on the phones along with everyone else. It was crazy.  This was prior to the days of 911. Gibb’s yelled over to me to start grabbing phones, “If it is not life threatening tell them we will get there when we can”. Hundreds of calls for power lines down, cars on fire, trees and power poles on fire. But most of the only calls being dispatched were house fires or medical emergencies. This went on for close to 5 hours.

Finally leaving there I arrived in Spring, remember no cell phones yet. There across the front yard was the sweet gum tree. You know what the remaining time of the day consisted of.

Twenty-one people died that day. The total bill for damage was $2 billion dollars.

What is something is that Hurricane Alicia was the most costly Hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast, second to Hurricane Fredrick which hit Mobile, Alabama in 1979. That is if Hurricane Agnes which hit the east coast in 1972 is excluded.

Agnes was another bad one as I had grandparents in Luzerne, Pennsylvania. The flooding from the Susquehanna  River came just up to the city limits of their town. Once again no communications for weeks and just news reports. That storm was more flooding than wind damage like Alicia.

 

This aerial view of the Flagship Hotel shows the damage caused by Hurricane Alicia on Galveston Island, Texas, Aug. 19, 1983. <span class=meta>AP Photo</span>

                       THE OLD FLAGSHIP HOTEL NOW PLEASURE PIER

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