Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricane Post #4

Lost in all the discussion of possible disruption to the nation's gasoline supply due to Hurricane Rita, is the potential damage to the source of another, much more valuable natural resource.

Hurricane Rita could quite possibly disrupt the nation's supply of Tabasco Sauce.

Texas coastal map


Avery Island, Louisiana (click on the map) is not really an island. It's a salt dome about eight miles south-southwest of New Iberia, surrounded on all sides by bayous. Dr. Neil Frank (who knows more about hurricanes than just about any other man alive) predicts a 21 percent chance that Rita will make landfall near New Iberia.

The streets of Avery Island may run red with hot sauce. Oh, the humanity!

From the Tabasco website: "The next pepper crop is ensured by the McIlhenny [family] who personally select the best plants in the field during harvest. The pepper seeds from those select plants are treated and dried and then stored -- for use the following year -- both on the Island and in a local bank vault as a hedge against any disaster that might befall future crops."

Pepper seeds in a safe-deposit box. Chew on that for a moment. But it looks like they're gonna need 'em.

* * *

We're now getting reports of people, who are trapped in the freeway gridlock, suffering heatstroke. Interstate 10 is reported to be backed up solid from Houson all the way to San Antonio -- a 200-mile-long traffic jam.

We're quickly reaching the "point of no return", where if we're not in the process of evacuating, we're best advised to stay put, lest we end up having to ride out the storm on the freeway.

From MSNBC: "'We ended up going six miles in two hours and 45 minutes,' said [one lady], whose neighborhood is not expected to flood. 'It could be that if we ended up stranded in the middle of nowhere that we’d be in a worse position in a car dealing with hurricane-force winds than we would in our house.'"

I'm not fond of that prospect.

posted by Gary @ 3:09 PM

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Location: Houston, Texas

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