Monday, August 20, 2007

Hurricane Readiness--Really?

So, this weekend, I was writing, cleaning house, getting ready for Novel in 90 Days and keeping a close eye on the weather, as Hurricane Dean is heading for the gulf, and may hit Brownsville in the near future. At least two Texas Search & Rescue teams responded to the devastating earthquake in Peru and now we're at the ready for a possible disaster closer to home. Sure enough, my phone beeped this morning with the readiness message--so while Brownsville battens down the hatches, we're gearing up the teams in case we're called.

In the mean time, Governor Rick Perry says, we, as a state, are ready. Really?

Remember the DISASTER of Rita, the "Tex-Odus," the completely unorganized trainwreck of an evacuation of Houston where people actually died sitting in 109- degree heat for 18 hours or more on Sam Houston Beltway and the resulting RoadWarrior-like battle for non-existant gas after being ORDERED to evacuate? My mother, brother and three of his children, as well as a neighbor's child (the neighbor came to the house and couldn't leave, but begged my brother to please, please take his child to safety) were caught in that sweltering heat in that horrifying death trap.

USA Today said, "Rita forced what could be the largest evacuation in U.S. history. Three million people fled in two states. Only Hurricane Floyd, which struck near Cape Fear, N.C., in 1999, comes close with an estimated evacuation of about the same number of people." However, in order to have an "evacuation," you need to actually provide the leadership to get people the hell out. Today went on to say, "What Rita may be remembered for most is the evacuation. As it swelled to a Category 5 with a predicted path over Galveston and Houston more than 3 million people hit the roads almost simultaneously."

What most people don't realize is that many Rita-damaged areas, like those ravished by Katrina, remain economically, ecologically and psychologically damaged beyond recognition.
Mr. Perry. I'll believe you're ready when I see it. Until then, you can bet our local SAR teams will be watching and waiting. We'll be ready, Mr. Perry. Will you?

One of the disasters of the Rita mandatory evacuation is that both sides of the freeway should have led north to get out of town, with emergency gas, water and medical provisions in medians.

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Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing
My friend Pantera with Tahoe & Me

Tahoe and a new friend at the signing