Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Before

Today was anything BUT calm. The city is slowly emptying its inhabitants onto the freeways. I don't know what passes for news where you are because it's 24-hour weather-watch here now. Not that I mind or that it's unnecessary, but it's kind of creepin' me out. Living alone doesn't help. I've got this nagging feeling my whole family is ditching me, kind of my worst nightmare to begin with. Cellphone networks are saturated, as everyone on the road is calling everyone else on the road. Text messaging still works, as will email until the storm actually hits.

The NBC affiliate here did a live call-in Q&A. It went something like this:
Caller 1: Hi, I live in (location 1). What should I do?
TV Guy: Well, if your house is in the floodplain, you should leave.

Caller 2: Hi, I live in (location 2), right next to (location 1). What should I do?
TV Guy: Well, if your house is in the floodplain, you should leave.

Caller 3: Hi, I live in (location 1), should I leave?
TV Guy: Well, if your house is in the floodplain, you should leave.

[And no, that's not a typo- Caller 1 & Caller 3 were in the same location.]

I can see why Katrina was such a disaster, with a couple hundred thousand people stuck in that city. It's not because of some overt failure of either the local or federal government. It's because the general population doesn't know anything. No matter how much warning we've been given, there are people all over town who simply don't know that they should pack a week's worth of clothes and toiletries into their cars and drive north. (And don't tell me they don't have cars- everyone in Houston has at least one car and it's always on the road, in front of me, when I have to be somewhere.) The real failure of disaster planning is the inability of the government to take each individual by the hand and explain it to them one at a time.

As for me, I'm not in the floodplain, but I am between two of the city's bayous. I expect the streets to flood for several hours, but I'm fairly well above the streets so I don't expect the house to flood. I'm fairly well protected from wind-damage due to there only being a 6' gap between the townhomes and the exposed side is largely my garage. I expect the power to be out for a couple of days, and it'll be miserable, but I don't need it to survive. I stocked up on supplies (except gasoline, impossible to get now) including canned goods, juice, and propane for the BBQ grill. Couldn't find batteries, so I'll have to rely on whatever dad has when he comes. Couldn't buy water either, but I drink a LOT of a name-brand sports-drink [Ed. note: Name withheld- no free publicity] and my laziness in throwing out the empties means I've got a lot of empty jugs to fill up with tap water. 4 gallons of tap water (now frozen), 1 gallon of tea, 1.5 gallons of juice should be good. Tomorrow I'll fill the tub and a 40 gallon trashcan with water for washing and flushing. I still need to take "before" photos of the townhouse and clear out the other half of my garage for a second vehicle. Then wait.

You may well ask, why not leave and avoid being miserable and/or uncomfortable? It is 1 AM as I type this and the Houston Real-Time Traffic Map shows every freeway northbound out of town in red (< 20 mph). At 1 AM. I may not be able to leave.

But I may yet try.

8 Comments:

At 8:49 AM, Blogger evilsciencechick said...

you're probably sick of me saying it, but PLEASE BE SAFE!!!

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

ditto what ESC said.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger kcterrilynn said...

I thought of you this morning when they were showing the evacuation on the news...be safe and maybe, just for luck, fill up more jugs for water.

Take care of yourself...

 
At 1:06 PM, Blogger tinyhands said...

According to what I'm seeing on TV here, I couldn't leave if I wanted to. The roads are completely congested, gas is scarce, it's 100 degF outside and my car has been overheating again. We'll be ok for the short term. I'm charging up the batteries in my camera, so I'll take pictures for you all.

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger Jammie J. said...

I'll keep you in my prayers.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Brighton said...

Maybe taking off this evening when things cool down to a mild 95 degrees...
We are at Kristin's, hoping like hell Rita takes a turn North...

 
At 2:15 PM, Blogger me said...

please try to leave, if possible. please. i'll post something while i'm riding your new pony.

 
At 2:41 PM, Blogger christ*el #3tx said...

hell, ida stocked up on lots and lots of booze. and pass out until it was over.



but you be careful. and if you need a place WAY up north, i'll come get you on my broom.

 

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