In the eye of Category 5 Rita
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From Global American
Sept. 22, 3:30 a.m.
[Posted as received from the source]
[SEPT. 22, 2005]
HOUSTON -- As I write this, a Category 5
hurricane (Rita) is bearing down on us living on the Texas coast.
Winds currently are hitting 175 mph, the most powerful storm ever to
focus on Texas. Roofs start coming off at 125 mph. The storm surge
is expected to be 20-25 feet.
Within 24 hours we will lose power, which could last for weeks.
Ironically, I just spent the past two weeks working with the
Katrina evacuees from New Orleans. Now up to 4 million Houstonians
are becoming evacuees as well. I'm looking at the two large pine
trees in front of our house, wondering if they will be in the house
by this weekend, if there is still a house standing. We live sixty
miles from the coastline and they expect our winds to exceed 120
miles per hour by the time it gets here!
People are taking this seriously and streaming out of town. TV
reports that people who left Houston yesterday spent 10-13 hours to
get to Dallas, which is normally a 4-hour trip. Today it is closer
to a 20-hour trip! Traffic is crawling 5 mph (and slower) and people
are running out of gas on the road. Gas stations are jammed -- if
they even have gas.
The nation as a whole will take a hit along with Houston, because
of the major refineries here that were spared when Katrina hit New
Orleans. Rita is expected to hit just to the west of Houston,
meaning the "dirty" side with the greatest storm surge will flood
the ship channel industries and the refineries that produce about
15% of the nation's gas.
Galveston Island will be covered up by a 20-foot storm surge.
Even NASA in Clear Lake will be flooded. Space operations have been
shifted to Russia for the space station.
Will we stay or go? My wife and I have two
dogs and two cats. We face a 20-hour drive with Henri, a 100-pound
dog who loves to eat and can be grumpy, Lexie (the friendliest dog
in the world), 10-pount Minou who hates Henri and an aging kitty
Louis XIV who gets carsick.
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Traffic will get worse at daybreak. We may have to stick it out
along with a lot of other people. My gut says get the heck out of
Survivors will be "camping out" for weeks without power or water.
It will be like a bomb hitting Houston.
Wish all of us Godspeed. I'm praying it moves east enough to get
us out of the worst winds. You may not hear from me for some time if
we stay (lucky break right?). I will try to give brief updates on my
Global American Series
*Pronounced "Fetland.: International Attorney/Negotiator (over 55
countries), `91 Gulf War Analyst, 9 11 TV terrorism expert and a
volunteer pilot and ground team member for the USAF Auxiliary (Civil
Air Patrol) which does search and rescue.
Michael is based in the Houston area.
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