Archive for the ‘Hurricane Rita’ Category

Images

Images from the evacuation of Huntsville

The police are out…

I just turned on my scanner and am currently scanning all of Ft Bend County’s law enforcement/EMS (including Cities of Missouri City, Stafford, Sugarland, et al), all of Harris Co. Sherrif’s Office, all of the various municipalities around Houston/Harris County (including Webster, Clear Lake, etc..), Houston Police, Houston Fire/EMS, and so on… Everyone appears to be out and about and working. Communications are still good.

I’ll, hopefully, be putting a live feed of the scanner onto the internet via shoutcast as soon as I can, but to do so I need two crucial pieces of equipment. I’m in dire need of a 9v DC adapter, and a standard headphone-plug male-male cord to interface the scanner with the sound card. If anyone can provide these things and feels like delivering them to the Misson Bend area (well, just barely south of there, Hwy 6 and Bissonnett), I’d greatly appreciate it. Comment, or visit the contact form at my website (note, it’s a two-step process to e-mail me. You’ll need to confirm a bounce message for your e-mail to be delivered). I’d procure these items, myself, but 1) I’m flat broke, and 2) There isn’t a radio shack that’s going to be open for several days. heh.

On the upshot of the lack of storm in Houston, I’ll be able to watch the NASCAR race, this weekend.

I hope our friends in New Orleans are fairing as well as we are, tonight.

Fire up the bullhorn, Claude…

Did I say it was quiet in my last post? Perhaps I spoke too soon…

The winds have picked up quite a bit, here, since my last post, although they are far from the promised 60mph sustained, and 75mph gusts. It’s possible we’re seeing 45mph gusts here in NorthEast Ft. Bend, but I doubt it. I’m reminded more and more of just another night with a severe storm rolling through, and less and less of what I expected during what was once one of the worst hurricanes on record.

I went to sleep around 10:30pm, and woke up around 2:30am after sleeping fitfully (I neglected to take any sleep meds, and find it difficult to sleep without them). A few moments after I woke up, the power went out, plunging me back into darkness. After retrieving my flashlight from the floor – where it had fallen off of the bedside table (evidentally what woke me up, in the first place) – I clicked it on, only to be greeted by the power returning, a scant 10 seconds later. Getting up and pulling on a pair of shorts, I walked out onto my front porch.

Facing south, and covered on the top and two sides, my front porch is rather well-protected from this storm, and I was able to smoke a couple of cigarettes with ease and safety. While I would occasionally get a bit of a breeze flowing in – especially up near the porch roof, I was not drenched by blown rain, nor was I rocked off of my feet, by any means. In fact, an orphan leaf sat rather placidly about halfway back towards my front door, shivering only slightly in what little wind managed to whip around back into the porch area.

Stepping to the edge of the porch, I was able to look out at the trees which were bending in the wind a bit, although no more than I’ve seen happen before. The rain is blowing around, occasionally creating rather nice-looking swirl patterns against homes across the street. I can see some neighbors at windows, though they seem afraid to come out onto their porches, as they all face north on the other side of the street. We’ve signalled our presence to one another via flashlight. It seems I’m not the only one “brave” enough to watch the passage of this storm. I would likely still be out there, or even walking around in the wind and rain, had nature not suddenly called me back inside.

After grabbing a drink and heading back into my computer room, I sat down and typed out version one of this post, intent on making a call into the This Week in Houston podcast, and reading the very same post as my report. About three seconds after the call went through, I lost power again. Just as before, it was back on within ten seconds… Unfortunately, I forgot to save the post before the power went out.

It appears I may be grappling with the power all night long. Amazingly, however, my cablemodem appears rock solid. Amazing as, during most bad storms, I lose cable internet relatively quickly. This time, it seems destined to be my companion for quite some time, tonight. This is a good thing as my family has gone to bed, and I am left alone to contact and be contacted by the world.

Should I experience anything more worth reporting – or just get really, really bored – I’ll update again.

Rita Update From The Marriott

I’m sitting in my room right now in the Westchase Marriott at Beltway 8 and Westheimer. In a last minute decision, my family decided to “evacuate” to a hotel due to the fact that we have a large tree in our front yard that could potentially fall over our house. Better safe then sorry, right?

The people at the Marriott are doing a wonderful job. There’s three HPD vehicles parked outside the hotel and plenty of officers inside. The lobby is full with people hanging out, chatting, or having some drinks at the bar. No one seems worried, and there’s plenty of laughter going around. Everyone seems calm and prepared. I’ve also seen a lot of people with pets. I don’t know what the Marriott’s regular policy on pets is, but I think that it’s a good idea that they allow people to bring them in given the situation. The last thing we want is for people to be stranded in their homes because they couldn’t find shelter for their pets.

On our way to the hotel, I noticed that the Godfather’s Pizza on Westheimer was open and serving food. Unfortunately, by the time that I got there they had ran out of everything. So I decided to instead go to the buffet at the restaurant downstairs. Surprisingly, the food was good!

According to an announcement earlier in the day, the management team has decided to close the doors shut at 11 p.m. to prevent any damage from winds. They’ve also boarded up and sealed quite a few windows and doors around the hotel. Once the doors are sealed, people are welcome in the main ballroom to hang out while the hurricane passes. As tempting as it sounds to linger in a large room with a bunch of random people in the middle of the night during a Category 3 storm, I think I’m going to have to skip.

The winds haven’t been that bad. I’ve stepped outside a few times and I know that I’ve felt winds of this intensity in Houston before. I guess the worst is still to come.

I tried to take some pictures, but considering it’s dark none of them came out that well. Just visualize some trees and plants moving because of wind. That’s basically it.

Oh, and a nice little addition is that the tub in my room came pre-filled with water. You know, just in case we run out we can drink out of the tub.

Hopefully my house will be in one piece when I go back tomorrow..

Ft Bend..

Out here in far NorthEast Ft. Bend County (right by the Harris County line), the winds aren’t really all that heavy. In fact, I’d be standing around in the road, if it wasn’t for the steady drizzle falling down on me every time I step off the porch. To be honest, I can’t even tell that it’s raining just by looking out off the front porch. Standing outside smoking a cigarette, earlier, it felt almost exactly like it does when Houston’s two-week tornado season comes a calling in late October/early November. It felt like a quick, but bad, storm was on its way in. Of course, it’s felt much like that, all day. Perhaps it’s the fact that this is occuring in cover of dark that makes it seem more… sinister.

I’m no longer worried about the effects of the storm, and – in fact – am in the process of getting ready to try and get a few hours sleep. I’ve left word with my parents to awaken me should the power go off, the winds kick up heavy and steady, or the weather get frighteningly bad. Somehow, I doubt I’ll be woken up. After all of the preperation, the high anxiety, the worry, and the – mentioned once again – exhaustive preperation, I feel almost gipped that I’ll likely be sleeping through the night. A good portion of me wants to see this hurricane come towards Houston, just to make this all worthwhile. An even larger portion of me wants to see some major weather events in Houston, just so that when the next one comes, people won’t be slow in responding thinking it would just be “another Rita,” and eventually move off, away from us. Of course a tiny portion (and I do mean, tiny) of me is glad that the storm has moved on to the east, and is no longer heavily threatening our area.

Time to get some sleep, at least until the wind kicks up. Supposedly, we’re still expecting winds around 60mph, sustained, for Ft. Bend County (according to the 8pm NWS reports), but I’m wondering when.

Snubbed by Rita

front_ritabasemap.jpg

Word on the street (errrr…. news stations) is that Galveston, Houston and our surrounding areas are no longer under hurricane and tornado warning. Rains and wind – yes. Flying rooftops and floating cars – no.

The majority of the people I’ve talked to are somewhat disappointed. So much preparation, so much waiting, so much traveling and so little action. But we are safe – it’s all just been a bit surreal.

Best wishes to the Port Arthur and Beaumont areas – they’ll be hit a lot harder than our area of the world and that could be very dangerous as there are so many petrochemical and oil refineries.

Another very bad thing: Our Louisiana pals are getting hit *again*. What is it about your state that makes it such a popular vacation destination for crappy weather anyway, LA? Two levees in New Orleans have broken and neighborhoods are re-flooding. Tough times for NOLA.

Be sure to send our New Orleans Metblog sibling some love.

‘The devil don’t never stop working’

Here’s an interesting article on the state of things gasoline-related in Northern Houston / The Woodlands.

“Between 2.5 million and 2.7 million Texans heeded warnings to leave coastal areas, marking what Texas Governor Rick Perry called the biggest evacuation in U.S. history. State officials are rushing to take fuel to hundreds of stranded families as Rita nears the Texas coast.”

Both the governor and Mayor White have pledged to not allow any evacuees to take shelter on the side of the road – the Transportation Department and various law enforcement agencies have assisted 5000 motorists so far. Gas and food is gradually being passed out to stranded cars and evacuation routes seem to be slowly but surely clearing up.

It will be a long long time before I complain about Houston traffic again!

>>> As a side note, someone told me that Katy has already lost power. Anyone know if this is true??

Rock You Like a Hurricane

It’s starting to look a little dark outside over here on the north side, boys and girls. Rita’s on her way.

I’ve showered, had dinner, and I’ve got my car under the carport over at my aunt’s house next door, so I guess that’s as prepared as I can be.

I know lots of people who stayed in town, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that everything goes well for all of us.

Everyone be safe!

The wind cometh… …and goeth

It’s not been too bad out here in NorthEast Ft. Bend County. The wind is up to 15mph, though it isn’t sustained. It’s occasionally dying down to almost nothing, but it doesn’t stay there long. Sevel neighbors are out, chatting with each other and watching the skies. This is reminiscent of the last block party without the music and/or food. I’m tempted to wheel a grill outside and fire it up. …maybe not.

In a small sense, life goes on. I was asked – well, while it was phrased as a request, it was much more a command – to mop our kitchen floor, a few minutes ago. I’d much rather keep up with the news and blogging, but unfortunately familial requirements come first. It’s almost amusing to me that my mother is so concerned with the cleanliness of the kitchen floor in the midst of a pending hurricane, but I suppose we all have our ways of handling stress. Evidentally her’s is to make me clean. Not that it’s that big of a deal, mind you, but when you make a concious decision to join into a continually running event of citizen journalism, you tend to want to stick with the task. heh.

Currently, there are three live feeds of the HoustonPodcasting.net stream. The main mirror is located at http://www.houstonpodcasting.net:8000/listen.pls, the secondary is http://fyreplace.com:12345/listen.pls, and the third is http://unigrep.com:8049/listen.pls

Additionally, the Unigrep site has a live camera feed looking out of the window of the owner’s home at http://unigrep.com/rita

Come and join us on IRC at irc.sc.com, channel #ritacast. I’m Fyre.

I’ll post more as I get more to say. Right now, it looks like mopping the kitchen floor and eating lasagna for the next hour or so.

Very sad news on I-45

Absolutely tragic – evacuees from the Brighton Gardens Assisted Living in Bellaire were killed last night in a explosion as their bus caught fire and exploded when it hit the elderly evacuees’ oxygen tanks.

This, of course, happened on the already PACKED I-45N, very close to Dallas. Traffic is now being diverted at Ennis, about 30 miles southeast of Dallas.

My heart really bleeds for the victims and their family members. I pray for patience and peace for all those stuck in the traffic. Scary stuff!

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