Thursday, September 22, 2005

From Parking Lot to Vacant Lot

I don't know what happened. All last night, and all day today the traffic at US 90 here in Dayton was either completely stopped or crawling. They were at a complete stop for at least an hour at one point. We noticed about an hour ago that trafic was moving slow but steady. A few minutes later it wedas moving briskly, a few more minutes and the trafic was very light.

Something is either very wrong or hopefully very well. Maybe they just got the traffic moving and the queue has ended. Channel 2 is reporting that I-10 has improved tremendously. So maybe this is great news.

Over at BlogHouston Ann is giving kudus, to the authorities despite some of the problems.

There are estimates that more than 1 million people are trying to evacuate. It appears that some people are evacuating who really don't need to be -- they are in areas where they could ride out the storm relatively safely, if they have taken precautions (none of Harris County is under a mandatory evacuation order; residents in flood-prone areas have been asked to voluntarily evacuate). But some Houston city officials have gone on air begging people to get out and then late last night the storm track took a turn for a dead on hit at Galveston/Houston. Plus it was a Cat 5 at that time. It scared the hell out of many people (me included!) and many people probably decided at that time to get out.

AND we had the oh-so-recent Katrina disaster on our minds. How much of Houston/Harris County resources are either not here or have been depleted due to Katrina relief efforts?

Yeah, state officials probably should have opened the contraflow lanes earlier and maybe Houston should not have called for voluntary evacuations til later. But I think all these things piled on together to make this a very difficult situation for Galveston/Houston, where 1 million + people are trying to get out on evacuation routes that were not built to handle that volume of cars. City, county and state officials are trying so hard to save lives -- in direct contrast to NO and LA officials -- and I feel like I have to give them credit for that.

It looks like a lot of the Katrina evacuees here at the hotel have decided to be relocated to an evacuation center. apparently the Rita folks have decided to hunker down here.


On 9/23/2005 01:10:00 AM, Anonymous Elsa said...

Good morning,

It is appr. 0800 o'clock in the morning now and temperature will be 22 degr.Celcius. I heard that Houston is totally evacuated, must be spooky for such a big city. I hope you and your family have a safe place. Trust that your government has learned from Katrina.

In Holland indeed we have experienced the water in 1924 and 1953; and more or less in 1995.We have our Deltaplan and dykes. But still water is so powerfull; and also we have taken into account that it will happen once again.

I saw on a picture that Galveston is a sort of Island with a little harbour and a dyke or wall around it. I hope she is strong enough.

Take care.

Kind regards Elsa

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