Friday, September 23, 2005

Rita notes

It's four-thirty in the morning and I am watching Houston TV station KPRC online. They are reporting that people are pushing their cars on the highways because they are either out of gas or they can save gas, since they can push faster than they can actually drive! A tanker truck on I-10 and 1458, with the contra-flow in effect (all traffic is going North), giving out five to eight gallons of gas per car. Some people are walking up to the station with gas cans where the truck is parked.

Groups of local volunteers are working the expressways furnishing bottled water to stranded motorists. One man said "We are all one people" and he just wanted to help out. Eighteen busses full of volunteers were escorted by police to places where they were needed, some helping to unload trucks of water, some taking people home with them to give them shelter, others working the expressways.

The "Twelve-hour Rule" is being advertised by the authorities, meaning that if hurricane winds are being forecast twelve hours or less, the do not try to evacuate. The attempt will be futile. In other words, since the hurricane is expected to arrive tonight at nine PM, then it is not advised that anyone try to escape after nine o-clock this morning. You are better off seeking safety wherever you are and hunkering down for the storm.

Stores are running out of supplies, ATM's are running out of money, gas stations are out of gas. "You realize why they tell us to get prepared."

Well, it seems that evacuating a million or so people is easier said than done. I'll bet a lot of people are less judgemental about what they saw in New Orleans than they were a day or so ago.

The weather people are concerned about a high pressure center now covering central Texas. If that system is strong enough, it will have the effect of making the hurricane, a low-pressure system, en effect slow down, pause or move southward...which would have the effect of causing flood-level amounts of water to rain out, flooding whatever areas it may be located. By dividing the rate of movement of the storm into 100 it is possible to estimate the approximate number of inches of rain that can be expected to fall. (Example: if the storm is moving at 10 MPH, then ten inches of rain can be expected, 20 mph would result in only five inches, but if the storm should slow to only 5 mph, it could drop up to twenty inches of rain! That's a flood in anyone's book.)

Westland Baptist Church reporting from KATV is housing 275 to 300 people and asking volunteers to come and help feed and take care of these people until they can move on. They are asking for breakfast foods and sandwiches for the road. The people there were just stranded on the highway and couldn't make any progress so they stopped for the night.

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