Houston Evacuation - Final 4th

Thi is a true report from Houston sent by email.

Fri, Sept 23 5:30pm

Me and my neighbors who decided to stay in our apartments, surveyed the two electrical poles on the end of our driveway, and parked our cars accordingly. Hurricane Rita was 119 miles SE of Galveston, with the eye still aiming for Beaumont/Port Arthur. I’d been stepping outside my door every couple hours or so - night and day - since Thursday, watching electrical poles and keeping an eye on my car, fearing my gas would be siphoned. The electrical poles are maybe 10 and 20 yards from my door, respectively. There is a wind-break of a chain-link fence with a line of trees on both sides of it, which helped since they are pretty close to my building. The poles are one on either side of the fence. The forecast expected the storm landfall at 1:00am, with it moving through to the north of Houston by 6:00am.

The evacuation process for the Lake Charles, Sulfur and Calcacieu areas of southwest Louisiana, went smoothly, with most people heading to shelters. Most of the shelters had no services (no food, no cots, no bedding, etc.), so people were urged to bring their own.

Sat, Sept 24, 3:30am

The eye of the storm turned toward Lake Charles when it was 90 miles SE of Galveston. As the eye moved through, Lake Charles, Louisiana, Beaumont and Port Arthur, and all towns between there and Pasadena, TX sustained maximum damage and flooding. There is 6-8 feet of water in Lake Charles and WestLake (Isle of Capri Casino is under water!). The storm is heading toward northern Texas to Jasper, Lufkin, and other towns, and across the border of Louisiana, leaving devastation in it’s wake. I’m sure you’ll see the weather reports as the storm slowly moves northward.

11:45am - Houston: Our Houston Mayor and city officials warned those who are here out of town, to stay out of town for 2-3 days to give them a chance to re-fuel stations that are dry. Please give the city officials time assess damage and to plan an orderly process back into the city to prevent gridlock. It is critical, according to the President of the US, and Texas officials, that those who evacuated this area, do not come into the city until the fuel reserves, food and water supplies are restocked to prevent another problem. A convoy is enroute to refineries to assist with full operations to get the fuel out.

Overnight, though, fuel trucks did travel along the roadways, filled parked (empty or not), with 5 gallons of gas. A note was pasted on the empty cars, letting the owner know that the City of Houston put gas in their vehicles. Those who were with their vehicles, simply drove off. The weather forecasted that Hurricane Rita may stall in the northeast corner of Texas because of a high-pressure area. If this happens, our southern areas could flood via run-off. Although it is not raining, the Houston city bayous are slowly filling. The city officials are pleading with people to stay where they are.

Believe it or not, traffic is building southbound from all points, and in some areas, looking like rush-hour traffic. The news media is on the side of the road giving reports, and people are driving beside them asking, “You know where some gas is?”

Reporters, as of 11:59 (on another station), said those cars that were still on the highways were being towed and evacuees will have to pay compound fees. I’m quite sure that they have a time limit for those vehicles to be removed.

Galveston: The Galveston officials asked those who have evacuated the area to not come back now because the city is in a state of emergency and is not safe. The resident’s property is safe, so please do not worry. There is no power or water, dangerous situations abound such as downed power lines, downed traffic signals, compromised electrical wires in buildings and homes, trees and debris, building and structural damages, storm damage and such. If the warnings are ignored, residents will be turned away. No one will be admitted into the city limits. Only essential personnel is allowed: houston school districts, emergency personnel, city, state and county personnel.

2.75 million people evacuated this area. 600,000 people are without electricity.

Okay, ya’ll, I think this is the end of my Houston Evacuation commentary (unless something unusual comes up). Along with your phone calls, emails and conversations, writing this to you have helped to calm my nerves and keep me from panicking. Being alone made me nervous when the winds and rain picked up. I couldn’t get to my mother’s because of the traffic congestion and blocked exits, though we were able to maintain communication by land-line. Right now, though, I have electricity, food, no flooding occurred, and those electrical poles are intact! Thank you for your love, encouragement and prayers.

Now I can get back to seeing if any of our missing brothers and sisters have been located and give an update later.

Love You Much, Norene (aka Lady HardDrive)

Posted by SPN on 09/24 at 03:32 PM in Personal

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