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Vanessa Edward Foster's Hurricane Rita Blog
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Entry 6
September 23, 2005 11:34:09 AM EDT
My Hurricane Rita Blog: Fri 9/23 10AM

Surprisingly, I hit the bed about 10:30 and slept well. It was very quiet last night. In fact, it was dead still, not a breath of air. The humidity was sweltering, but it somehow put me in the mood to sleep well. Woke up at 7:30 and the air was still dead calm, but it's picked up to a nice little breeze in the last hour or so. Coming from the north, so it's drier than normal.

Kristin, my friend from across town in Clear Lake called early this morning and made the decision to trek on over. She just got here a half hour ago, with a couple suitcases, a battery-operated TV(!) and supplies. And her cat Copper, who's tentatively sniffing around up here as I type. I guess I can apply for FEMA funds taking in an evacuee, huh?

Never made it to any of the stores to get a generator, Sarah. I got the Email, but haven't had a lot of time on line. Trying to limit it as folks have been calling us on the phone (I've only got the one land line and dial-up service. Anachronistic me! What do you expect, I still collect record albums!) Back to generators, I'm not sure that any of the hardware stores are open today. I saw the Lowe's near H.E.B. and the Wal-Mart had both closed yesterday at noon while I was out standing in line at H.E.B. (a regional supermarket chain for those not familiar). The lines yesterday were weird. That was the type of thing we saw *after* Celia, not before. Really kinda hit me that this storm thing is happening. Other than that, I've been oddly calm, ready for this to be more hype than hit. But after last night's jog, I guess I shouldn't be so confident.

As for the city, they finally got the freeways cleared out. A lot of folks who were going to evacuate, though, just turned around and went back home having burned most all of their tanks of gas. One guy they were interviewing evacuated New Orleans, was living along the Gulf Freeway and tried fleeing northwest before sitting in gridlock all day. They couldn't get gas, couldn't find water, the restaurants were closed, and they'd been on the road since 4AM. At 11PM last night, they interviewed him as he was driving back home, dejected. I'm sure y'all have heard about the bus fire just south of Dallas with all of the nursing home residents. What a horrific scene. One wonders if some of this (maybe overheating of the bus) was the cause of the fire, which exploded the oxygen tanks. That was hard to watch.

All in all, I'm comfortable having not fled. I'm glad I got Kristin out of her place over near NASA. I'd have worried about staying over there myself. We'll get wind. We may get some flooding as they're forecasting this to settle in over east or southeast Texas. But overall, we'll be okay. The visual of all of those cars parked on the should or in parking lots alongside all of the major highways leaving town is rather foreboding. They showed a reporter out there walking amongst the cars, but I didn't see the people. You could see all the trash: water bottles, cupcake packages, potato chip bags, an empty case of Coors beer. It looked like the aftermath of an outdoor concert, not the shoulder of an interstate highway. I don't know if those folks found ways to get out of there, of if they're sitting in their cars still. If this flood goes the way they forecasted, I really worry about folks parked within flood zones near the rivers. Where they were filming was just a little way beyond the San Jacinto river, known to flood pretty badly.

Unfortunately, even though the traffic has evaporated, there's still no replenishing of gasoline, or supplies like wood or water, etc. For some reason unknown to me, they're not sending in shipments now while there's a little window of opportunity. The weather is deceptively nice, bright sun, warm temps, nice breeze. All's quiet. I'm presuming they didn't want their drivers stranded on the road, but who knows? There's still another 12-18 hrs. before this starts making landfall with the bad stuff. It doesn't bode well. Makes me wonder what the aftermath is gonna be like, esp. with traffic streaming back into town along with the restock shipments. This may not be Corpus, but I still feel like we're oddly isolated here.

More later ....

Ness ....