quinta-feira, setembro 22, 2005

Rita - up and down the block

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Rita 4 am Friday

Rita 10 pm Thursday - not much change at all ...

the people in this city like to talk to one another, and there is nothing like an impending hurricane for an entrée to conversation - so my walk up to the local supermarket today was made pleasant by several short exchanges despite the 100 degree heat 100% humidity and still air

the chat was of the people stranded on the jammed highways trying to flee north, with no gas available to buy, stopped for 10 and 12 and 14 hours with cars full of children, pets, whole families, the zone between Houston and the gulf, a number of small communities including Clear Lake where the NASA control center is, Galveston, Texas City, Pasadena, Beaumont, many more ... were given mandatory evacuation notices which put them on route 45 north to Houston and then north to Dallas, and it was a parking lot, it is beginning to clear now from what I see on tv, but still heavy traffic, and many will be stuck on the roads overnight - a second night for some, the city government of Houston is now organizing city buses with volunteers to deliver water to those without gas or broken down, and if necessary let them board the bus even just to enjoy the air conditioning, they are also organizing fuel trucks to carry enough gas to get to a place to buy more - the tv tells me that in the entire city there are a handful of gas stations still with gas to sell

I never would have made it to the airport last night so it was just as well that I could not get started, it is possible to get there now but many flights are apparently being cancelled and the remainder are full - there were definitely no more seats to Rio, many of the security people did not make it in to work with the result reported on tv that people are waiting three and four hours in lines to get through to the boarding gates - and it will be officially closed at noon tomorrow

telephone numbers have been given out for those in the evacuation areas without transportation, a fleet of school buses is coming from Dallas to pick them up, to join buses from Houston, there seems to be a determination to maintain control, do the right thing, ensure that people are taken care of - lesons learned from Katrina being put into action, in fact, some of the evacuees from Galveston have wound up at the shelters orgaized for Katrina

on the other hand - the US Postal Service was so working today! - the mail came and I got a few books I had ordered - so if the power goes out Saturday morning when the storm finally does arrive, and the roof is still on this building, I will have something to do

the young girl at the checkout in the supermarket had a permanent smile - her name tag said it all "Katrina", everyone had a good word for her, and for each other as well, the supermarket was crammed, the lines were long, and instead of getting the least bit frustrated, everyone turned to each other and chatted - good!

meanwhile the storm is reducing in strength, estimates that when it comes ashore the winds will be down to 90 mph from 165 mph, storm tidal surge down to 5 feet from 12 feet, and so on ... there is a possibility that the worst of the storm will have been the attempted evacuation but it is too soon to say that for sure, more later

Rita 4pm Thursday - a little more east

Rita 4AM Thursday - waaay east from yesterday

last night when i went to bed, midnight or so, i had a look at the noaa hurricane website and it seemed she was gonna hit corpus cristi not galveston - but this morning it looks like just about dead on galveston again

patrick white wrote a book about an old lady who rides out a hurricane - eye of the storm