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Vanessa Edward Foster's Hurricane Blog
Hurricane Rita, September 2005
September 22, 2005 12:18:33 AM EDT
My Hurricane Rita Blog: Log #1 - Wed. 11PM
Well, I figure I might as well do something with this if I'm gonna have to deal with a freakin' Hurricane. Esp. one I can't even drink (a New Orleans drink at that)! After the last few weeks and dealing with the feelings after Katrina hitting New Orleans, about the last thing I was thinking I'd have to do is deal with a storm myself. Little did I know ....

It was sort of a blessing / curse that my last day at work was Friday. The girl I was replacing who was on medical leave was coming back this week, which is good. For her. For me, well, back to hitting the bricks again. But it allowed me more time to take care of other things this week such as the dentist stuff, and more recently, prep for what looks to be a nasty storm in Hurricane Rita. We'd been watching it the last few days because of the forecasted track (which was a direct hit on Galveston). It's moved a bit further south in forecasts -- now down to Matagorda Bay -- but these things are unpredictable.

I've survived a number of hurricanes beginning with a monster right off the bat: Celia. After Celia, most of the remaining storms were real duds. Allen was supposedly a monster, and barely reached 90 mph winds when it made landfall. Gilberto was even worse -- and bigger! But it made an even lesser impact when it hit. The last actual hurricane to hit Houston was barely a hurricane when it landed, though the winds hit 100 once it hit the east side of Houston. But that was 40 mi. away from me, and I not only got no rain, but barely any real breeze out of it. It was a tiny storm.

Rita reminds me a lot of Allen and Gilberto. The difference this time is the conditions. The gulf is a lot warmer this time (Corpus still has 90 degree water temps!) and the weather over us right now is also stiflingly hot. Upper 90s all week until today, when we hit 100. And tomorrow's the first day of fall ... maybe up north somewhere. Not here! Even now, at 9:30 at night, it's still 92. This is perfect hurricane conditions. And accordingly, Rita is responding heartily, growing and really defining itself well. Has the third lowest barometric pressure ever in a storm -- almost as bad as the horrific storm that hit Key Largo FL in 1935, immortalized in movie by Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson.

A little more sign of the accommodating weather conditions ... Rita now at 10PM has 175 mph winds and 215 gusts. Celia all over again -- but larger! We'll see what happens to the conditions tomorrow.

Apparently this storm has a lot of folks spooked. My sister was taking her boys and leaving. My mom now wants to leave with her too. But on the other hand, a friend of mine who works at NASA, Kristin, will be coming over to get away from the storm surge, as her place in Clear Lake is much closer to Galveston Bay and storm surge. So lose one, gain another (and offer some refuge). Not sure if you remember her from the TATS meeting, Sarah -- probably not. It's been quite a while. Seems like a life ago.

Storm's also got folks in their typical panic / rudeness / crazy pre-evacuation or hunker-down mood too. Traffic is much more surly. Everyone's driving with only half a mind, and the other half a hair away from completely losing it. It's like a full moon on massive steroids with a straight Jack Daniels chaser. Climate's right for road rage as well, unfortunately. As for me, I'm not even bothering with beating the traffic on those 5mph parking lots we normally call freeways. When it takes 8 hrs. to drive 45 mi., it's really not worth the trip. Maybe this is what some of the New Orleaneans felt as well. They've got even less evacuation routes than we do! No doubt that no one wants to be in a car below sea level, idling in gridlock when the levee breaks. So much for us knowing how they felt before Katrina.

There's not much in the way of supplies at the stores ... really makes you feel vulnerable. More vulnerable than you really are, actually. I'm certainly not gonna starve. If I can do 12 days on nothing but water, I can survive the rest of the year on what I have left here in the house. We all tend to panic buy, and I try to keep myself from that. But just seeing shelves bare of all water was literally making me thirsty for a cold drink of H2O. I was getting a stress headache just thinking of the probabilities after Rita. How our brains work against us!

Oh well, I've laid out the basic stuff. I have a bunch to do tomorrow, guess I better try to get some sleep. Not easy to do when it's 90 at 11PM. We're supposed to reach 98 again tomorrow, joy! At least when the storm hits the weather will finally cool down. Of course the humidity will go up. Nothing comes without its price, I suppose.

More later ....

Ness ....

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