Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hurricane Rita – As Bad as She Wants to Be?

As of 6:00 a.m. Saturday, we have not suffered any ill effects from Hurricane Rita. We have been receiving some rain and strong winds, but have not suffered any flooding, wind damage, or power loss. We seem to have escaped the worst of it. Rita made landfall at 2:30 a.m. this morning “in extreme southwest Louisiana between Sabine Pass and Johnson’s Bayou, Louisiana.” That put us on the drier, weaker side of the hurricane. We don’t have an anemometer, but I think we only experienced wind gusts into the low forties.

We live in close proximity to a non-naturally occurring body of water – I am reluctant to call it a “lake,” but it is referred to as such. Thus, we are insured against flooding; I hope that flood insurance will not be made necessary. In our favor in enduring this squall is The Woodlands’ practice of burying power lines underground. This primarily improves the aesthetics of The Woodlands, but it also prevents The Woodlands from suffering from power outages every time there is a gust of wind. Power lines strung about a city are terribly unsightly. Hanging electric wires all about the sky, though, is less expensive for the power companies than is burying them. Reliant Energy attempted to run an above-ground power line over The Woodlands a few years ago, but the residents put up strong resistance and prevailed against the evil power company. Nearly a million homes are without power in Houston and southeast Texas following Rita.

A member of my nuclear (nukular?) family stayed in Houston until nearly the last minute – yesterday morning. He delayed leaving because he did not want to sit in traffic for eleven hours. I thought he was going to be riding the storm out in a downtown high rise. However, he left at around 8:00 a.m., got on Hardy Toll Road, set the cruise control at 65 mph, and, about 45 minutes later, joined us at home, a safer 80 miles from the coast.

We are housing some “evacuees.” Relatives from Friendswood, which is 30 miles from Galveston, are staying with us. I suggested that they sleep on cots so they could receive the full “evacuee” experience. That idea did not enjoy much support, though.

If the situation does not worsen, we will have a supply of bottled water and disaster “rations” – nonperishables – to last us for a long time.

President Bush is visiting Texas today! Yesterday, “President Bush canceled plans to visit with emergency workers and officials in Texas, citing the storm’s shifting path and a desire not to impede preparations.” “President Bush, determined to show a vigorous role in hurricane response management, monitored Rita from a military command center” in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am sure there is much President Bush can do here to assist in the relief efforts. We need him here in Texas much more than the American people need him in Washington. Never mind that the Commander in Chief is placing himself in harm’s way just to improve his tarnished image.

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