On the afternoon of Friday, September 12th, 2008, Hurricane Ike roared ashore as a Category 2 storm. With the city of Galveston as the bulls-eye for the worst winds of the storm, most of the city evacuated for higher ground.
Since all of the club members live in other parts of the area, and not specifically on the island, there was not anyone available that could prepare the facility in short notice for what was to come.
As the storm pushed ashore throughout the evening, the storm surge raised tides 10-12 feet higher than normal. Galveston, protected by the seawall, was spared the direct blow of those rising tides. What did happen, is the storm surge washed in from the North (harbor) side of the island, inundating most areas with some amount of water.
In the case of our club, that was more than 8 feet of water.
While the main layout was unaffected, as it is on the second floor, the club library, administrative office and the G Gauge layout all suffered extensive damage. In addition, power to the facility was out for several weeks while local utility crews rebuilt the infrastructure destroyed by the storm.
Update, December 20th, 2008:
Power has been restored to the club, and the building is close to being weather-tight again. The heat and air-conditioning remain out, and we continue to have issues from the humidity affecting the layout.
The Thomas play layout is missing and presumed lost in the flood, and the extent of the G-scale losses is much more significant than originally thought. We have received a few offers to donate to the library, and that has been appreciated. We hope that the book shelves will soon be rebuilt, allowing us to start filling them with books once again.
Update, July 1st, 2009:
It's been a long road to get where we're at today. The building is again weather-tight, the mice have been evicted (we even had some chew through scenery of the main layout), and the trains are once again running every weekend.
While work is continuing in the library and other flood affected areas, we again welcome visitors back to our showplace.
Through the course of the last nine months, we've lost several members (as obviously their own hurricane damaged properties had to come first before the hobby), and we invite all who are interested to come down and visit us on Sundays, and if you can spare the time to come frequently, to join us as a member.
Final Update, February 2011:
With the continued shoratage of members, and lost of our biggest G-scale advocate, all plans to reconstruct the layout have been cancelled. All members now focus on the other layouts.
The following pictures were taken October 5th, 2008.
The benchwork and scenery was completely destroyed by the floodwaters, but most of the track, structures and rolling stock survived.
While all of it will require thorough cleaning to restore the equipment, we hope that all of it will make the eventual return on a rebuilt benchwork and scenery.
Although the ceiling fan needs to be replaced, Betty Eddy's incredible artwork will only require minor touch-up to restore it as a backdrop to the G-Gauge layout.
Where only empty shelves remain, there's no doubt that the members will all come together to restock the library with books, magazines, and videos.
A testament to the damage left in Ike's path, as the debris from the club and other first floor tenant are deposited in the street for removal. Also, the storm shutters on the second floor remain closed, a measure which protected the main layout from potential damage by windows being blown out.
More photos to come...