I was told by a tug operator, who was in Channelview helping hold all those barges in place, that he clocked a 120 mph gust when his anemometer was ripped of the top of the tug. Some tugs lost pilot house windows during the storm.
I have a digital weather station rigged up to my home computer in Conroe area. My roof mounted anemometer recorded these winds (Mean Wind Speed - 5 min ave and Peak Gust). The center of the eye offically passed 5 miles East of my house. We had ~ 20 minutes within the eye. Peak pre-eye conditions w/ NE wind with measured MSW=81 mph w/ Peak Gust of 102 mph. Then we had eye calm for 20 minutes. Then post eye NW wind with measured MSW= 78 w/ Peak Gust of 97 mph. We are 78 miles from landfall. It was neat to see pressure fall to minimum as eye approached and then start to rise as it departed. The eye was cloudy this far inland with some light highly variable winds within it - I guess the eye wall was falling apart this far inland.
We had some major tree falls. Saw several big pines broke off 2 to 5 feet from ground level like you break a pencil. I had one old hickory tree topped by storm. No damage to my home at all. Some homes highly damaged in my area by tree falls - no injuries or deaths from the initail drop but injuries and deaths happening as folks clear debris. Be carefull out there folks with heavy damaged trees and chain saws!
I'd be curious about Friendswood. We have a weather station on top of our building but the unit inside had been sent back for repair and it did not arrive back in time to clock the speeds for the storm. Luckily the stuff on the roof survived.
We live south of Conroe, near The Woodlands (east of 45). I understand the mean wind speed were in the low 80's when the eye wall first hit, but the backside had speeds in the 90's. Gusts both times were in the 105-111mph range.
We lost ten really big, really beautiful trees. Only minor damage to the house, although many of our neighbors had trees good through parts of their houses. One guy I saw will definitely need a crane to remove a tree that literally broke his home's back. If they top it, the back of his house would get crushed, the tree is that big.
I went out in the "eye" to drive about a mile to turn the water on to our neighborhood. We don't have a backup generator for the water plant and to keep the lines clean, we have to maintain pressure. When the power went out, I waited for the calm, then ran out to open a valve that connects us to a nearby MUD with backup power.
Anyway, it never really got calm. It was still pretty nasty, so we must have been on the edge of the eye. The backside of the storm is what got most of my trees.