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Vanessa Edward Foster's Hurricane Rita Blog
Entries: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - epilogue - prev - next
Entry 7
September 23, 2005 3:30:16 PM EDT
My Hurricane Rita Blog: Fri 9/23 2PM

It appears we don't know exactly where this storm's gonna land. Now there's discussion amongst the weather experts of it hitting either Galveston or further east up the coast in Port Arthur. Right now, both have the same probability. Either way, it makes little difference. It's hunker down and ride it out mode. But the better news is that this seems to be interacting a bit with the Louisiana coastline as it makes its way toward us (in the angle it's taking, according to Kristin who designed software to forecast hurricane patterns). Right now the winds have decreased all the way down to 125, and the barometer has steadily risen as well -- both welcome news.

But if we end up back on the dirty side of the storm, it's not much of a trade off. That's possible -- 37% according to the recent numbers.

More good news, I finally heard from Morwen. Before they finalized the deal on their apartment in the Montrose, they asked the landlady to spring for plywood to board the place up so they could ride out the storm. She denied them, so they didn't get their place. That turned out to work well for them. They decided since the storm was likely to cut off power, they weren't going to do any good staying in Houston and decided to bail. They took Hwy. 90 instead of the major roads, but still got stuck in the back up -- 10 hrs. to go 72 mi. away at one point. They finally made it into San Antonio very late last night, and rented an efficiency apartment for a week (all hotels are booked). Now they've shifted their future plans.

Morwen & Betty are heading out to San Dimas CA to stay. The hurricanes have left them with a bad outlook on the gulf region, and they just need to get their businesses and lives back in order. According to Morwen, the place in New Orleans had a little more damage than they suspected: lost a portion of their roof, and some other structural problems. She said the place may not be habitable for as much as 9 months. As such, they decided against staying close (and in hurricanes' way), and will leave the reconstruction up to a local trans woman who's still there in Jefferson Parish (next door to New Orleans).

I feel bad that we couldn't be more of a hospitable environment here in Houston, but there's nothing we can do to change this. Weather happens. Shit.

The mood is oddly serene outside. Breezy, warm and sunny day. Watching the people is unnerving in a way. Some are okay, others are acting squirrelly. My sister's boyfriend went to a convenience store a mile from me today, and when he came out, a black guy was looking in his car at all the stuff he packed in preparation to fly to Arkansas (which he didn't make because of massive traffic, and then discovering there was no parking anywhere). Now Ryan's black, huge guy, and could take this guy out with one punch. But when he asked the guy if he could help him, the guy turned and started cussing him out and acting wildly, before his friend pulled him away (probably realizing that you don't want to get beaten to a pulp by someone twice your size right before a hurricane). Others are all waiting outside of gas stations for tanker trucks that aren't coming. It's almost like a concert atmosphere there ... practically a party. Weird. And as I was talking to Ethan on the cell phone, I noticed a family taking all their kids to the park next door. Kids are playing on the swing sets, parents and older kids sitting on the bench. Just another weekend summer day. For some reason, this strikes me as odd at some level, though they probably think I'm likewise as odd, standing out on the front curb chatting on the cell phone. I don't know ....

Now it's just a hurry up and wait game. The hurricane eyewall is expected to make landfall at daybreak tomorrow. That's IF it doesn't decide to slow or stall, which they're also predicting is likely. If that happens, we'll be on a state of heightened alert here for some time -- not to mention the higher likelihood of the massive 40 in. rains we had a few years ago with Alison.

From reports, apparently tempers are flaring a bit out on the roadways from the folks trying to get gas. Also in Lufkin, folks are losing it a bit. For some reason, this whole evacuation process is really looking suspect. True, a lot of this was overhype by media and authorities who don't want to look uncaring so soon after Katrina. But people bought into it and all fled simultaneously, and we're woefully not very good at estimating the capacity needed to serve all of this traffic. Some of the shelters are finally opening up in Conroe, a suburb just north of Houston. But it's going to get hit almost as strongly as Houston, and even those have maxed out by now -- again, folks being turned away. Desperation's setting in, and there's precious little fuel to go around.

This is certainly a new America we live in now. 21st Century America's a different place. We don't have the same automatic expectations we used to have, that government would be organized and would take care of the things that it's chartered to oversee. We can count on government these days -- they're just people occupying space and collecting a nice paycheck. It's weird, but it really seems like we're seeing an "every man for himself" mentality in this country. Not sure I want to be on the roads in that eventuality.

Oh well, enough ranting, more updates later.