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Vanessa Edward Foster's Hurricane Rita Blog
Entries: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - epilogue - prev
Final Entry
September 24, 2005 8:15:03 PM EDT
My Hurricane Rita Epilogue: Wed 9/28 9PM

Time for reflecting ... it's amazing how back to normal everything seems so quickly after the storm. Rush hour traffic today was back to a smooth but more typical load. There are grocery stores and gas stations open all over the Houston, and none of them have lines around the block, or restricted entry only to a certain number of people inside. Even the weather is back to the usual supercharged heat -- it's 90 at this hour, but much better than the 101 it hit five hours ago. Humidity and heat indexes are their usual stultefying levels, fraying tempers as this level of stickiness tends to do. But other than some downed fences and a few fallen branches or trees, you'd never know Houston was focus of such a frenzied effort before a killer hurricane.

Actually, looking at the lack of any damage, it's embarrassing to even say Houston had a storm. In fact, I'm sure those who evacuated or attempted to evacuate are feeling pretty sheepish right now. What a difference a week makes!

Not far from Houston, to our northeast and east, it's a vastly different story. One wonders how they're dealing with the 111 degree heat indexes and no electricity. I've been there, and truly feel for them. It's hell on earth, esp. if they can't get out.

The highest winds were clocked at 121 mph sustained -- not too bad. But the death toll is a bit surprising. More so, the sequence of them.

Harris County (Houston), for all it's relative lack of damage, so far has tallied 31 deaths from Rita. That was a shock. 19 of those deaths were "illness related", and 7 were hyperthermia from the 100 degree heat before the storm and high humidity, compounded by the idling army of cars on searing concrete. For a city with as little impact from the storm as we had, that death toll is stunning.

According to my mom, 40 heat-related deaths occurred in Texas during both the evacuation and return process (the bulk before the storm). That doesn't count the 24 elderly residents who burned in the evacuation bus inferno. Nor does it count the other auto accident deaths, much less drownings, being hit by debris or electrocutions that typically comprise most storm deaths. Doubtless that the typical deaths will be dwarfed by evacuation deaths this storm.

Thankfully the gouge-a-thon from gas stations hasn't materialized this storm. We've had a ten cent spike the first day post-storm, but that's it. Perhaps the investigations and rumors of investigations are having a positive effect. It's worse in the Golden Triangle, and probably in Louisiana I'm sure, due to the lack of working gas stations. But right about now, water and ice may be topping the priority of things desperately needed there.

Lessons from this? Certainly it doesn't appear any will come from politicos. Take a look at old Brownie. "Brownie's [done] a heck of a job." Yeah ... heck of a job being the immature, totally self-absorbed child looking to foist blame everywhere else and whine about being punished. Like Brownie said, he did "a darn good job!" That inquiry and his response was the demonstrated definition of 'chutzpah.' It's obvious these bozos will go down sniveling, whining and throwing a tantrum. What did we expect? Actually, that's probably the most long-term lesson learned from this and the previous storm, Katrina. An unlikely hick from the most redneck of towns, Vidor TX, surprisingly summed it up well. "We just can't trust the government. They can't be trusted to handle anything anymore." Maybe the sound we're hearing are the scales falling from a lot of eyes that were oblivious to the scales even being there in the first place.

It's too damn bad that Democrats are too inept to be able to seize upon this. For certain though, a massive change is in the wind ... just not from the expected direction.

And so it goes, we sweat through our clothes, bitch about the heat and the state of the country and live our lives as usual. We've been watching the two storms out in the Caribbean and Atlantic ... the closest one may develop soon, but it's too early to tell. And the preliminary models have its most likely track heading ... guess where? Yep. Texas coast.

Life is bitchin' ....

Ness ....