My former coworker and chess buddy Mark lives in northwest Houston and plans to ride out Hurricane Rita, scheduled to hit overnight. He’s been sending updates. Here are some excerpts:
Thursday, September 22, 2005 9:54 PM
Authorities are advising no travel at this time unless you are in a storm surge area, have a full tank, a foolproof plan, and a shipload of patience. Hopefully, opening the counterflow lanes will alleviate the traffic nightmares for the desperate road warriors.
On the homefront, people in this subdivision seem to be rather cavalier. A bike tour around the neighborhood revealed that precious few homes have been boarded up. On a few homes, you can see that they tried to tape up the windows. There are a lot of people still here, most seem to be staying. Some evacuees may even have come here for shelter, as some homes have several cars in the driveway. People were walking around the neighborhood, and nobody seems too concerned. I talked to a neighbor who is staying. I asked him if he plans to board the house up (like we have done), and he responded "No, I'm just going to drain some water out of the pool. That's it." You could hear the grinding of some saws or the pounding of some nails or the buzzing of some drills, but less homes are boarded up than not.
I rode down to the nearby major street, which had light to normal traffic levels. I rode down to three gas stations. The stores were all closed, and two of them were out of gas. One store continued selling gas ($2.89/gallon) but did not allow patrons inside.
Here at home, the windows are boarded up, tree branches have been cut down, the garage has 2 of the 3 cars inside, and we have plenty of water, ice, food, and drinks. We will bring the animals in tomorrow and make sure the yard is cleaned up. Then, we will just wait it out.
Friday, September 23, 2005 4:11 PM
Locally, winds occasionally gust, and some trees in the neighborhood will probably be broken. We have boarded up all the windows we can, and are as ready as anyone can be. We will just wait for the storm to get here, ready to endure the pounding rain and relentless wind.
It started raining briefly, then stopped. The radio is set up with a battery if/when we lose power. There are 3 backup batteries ready to go. We have a flashlight ready to go with batteries. We have ample supplies of ice, water, food, and drinks. All three vehicles have full or near full gas tanks should we need to drive.