Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricane Blog #2

What a difference a day makes ...

Texas coastal map

Hurricane Rita is now projected to make landfall east of Houston, near Beaumont. (Click on map for a larger version.) This means that, rather than being in the nasty northeast quadrant of the hurricane, Houston is likely to end up on the "weak side" with lighter winds and a bit less rain.

Of course, a local TV meteorologist pointed out that "if you get hit by the weak side of a freight train, you're still gonna get hurt." Rita is still a Category 5 hurricane, even though it has weakened slightly. Forecasters think that it may weaken to a Category 3 by the time it makes landfall.

However, the real story here in Houston is the traffic. Lines at the airports are four hours long -- if you can even get to the airports. Because Galveston and all coastal areas have been evacuating through Houston's freeway system, gridlock on all highways are being reported, for up to 100 miles outside of town. The average speed is ONE MILE PER HOUR. And, with Houston stations quickly running out of gasoline, there is no place locally for people to refill their tanks. With evacuation taking so incredibly long, even people who filled their tanks up before hitting the road find themselves running out.

Texas is taking the unprecedented step of reversing traffic flow on the inbound lanes of most major freeways, so that all lanes will lead away from Houston, but the logistics of such a maneuver (mostly removing concrete barriers that divide traffic) are delaying its implementation.

Even though it looks like our house will be spared the worst of the wind and water, it's a certainty that the electricity will go out. Figures that yesterday, Houston set a new heat record. Pile the 200-percent humidity that the storm will bring on top of that, and I really don't look forward to sitting here without air conditioning.

So, we're still strongly considering evacuating. The problem now is, how the heck do we get out? We have a neighbor who is acting as "advance scout" for us, who will drive against traffic toward Corpus Christi, then to San Antonio, and finally to Austin. It's double the distance of a direct trip to Austin, but will probably take us less than one-third the time that a direct evacuation would cost us right now. Our neighbor will let us know how the traffic looks.

Might we have outsmarted the rest of the Texas Gulf Coast in finding a way out of here? Stay tuned ...

posted by Gary @ 11:08 AM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

» Home

Location: Houston, Texas

Why the heck wouldn't you want to read the toxic byproducts of my mental processes? It's not like you're too busy to waste a minute or two here, you know. You ARE just killing time by mindlessly surfing the web. Pop open a brewski and stay a while.

Powered by Blogger
Design by Beccary

Listed on BlogShares

Humor Blog Top Sites