Guess I'll Be Entertaining Rita For A While...

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posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 11:32 AM
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Hello ATS -

As a newbie in training, I haven't posted much as I've been tying to find my footings around this great new place I've found...ATS. So please forgive any mistakes I may make here, and Mods, please move this thread if need be...and I'll gladly stand with my nose in the corner!

We've been following Rita since her "birth" - haven't we all? lol. Since we live in Houston, we've paid particular attention to her track. We live just about 80 miles north of Galveston. Now, that sounds like it's far, and on a beautiful, hot summer day it seems like an eternity to get to the beach - but in actuality, it's not all that far - especially with a storm the size of Rita. Both my husband's company and mine closed late Wednesday so families would have time to do what they needed to do in order to be safe. We began making preparations for Rita's visit....taping windows and then placing plywood over them, removing screens, removing anything in our yard - front or back - that could become projectile and hurt or damage someone else's property. We also took a dead tree down, as did several of our neighbors, to protect our property and our neighbor's property. Those of us that chose to stay (and I'll get into that in a minute), got together and traded phone numbers, cell numbers, email addresses so we could communicate, if need be, with each other. It was also good to know who was here in our community. Knowing that will allow us to help one another should the need arise (and I hope it doesn't) to help each other after Rita's visit. Are there many of us here in my subdivision? Yes. Why have we chosen to stay? We all have our various reasons - some think that we'll only get a bad rainstorm and other think we may get a tornado. Still others think that we'll get, along with the rain and possibly a tornado, straight line winds - the kind that damages property - rips off roofs, up roots trees and such. All of us have tried our best to take the necessary precautions.

Now, I'll explain the reasons that we have decided to stay in our home.

We tried to leave yesterday - which would be Thursday. The projected path was still up in the air, but we thought we might be safer if we could leave the city. We waited until late in the day - 6pm. We know many backroad that are hardly travelled - some are dirt roads as they are in the country - and we were hoping that we could use those avenues to get us to our family in Dallas. After being in the car for 3 1/2 hours, having gone 2 miles total with our one year old (as of today 9/23 - what a birthday present, eh? lolol) and two 150 dogs. We decided to turn back and try later. We came home, watched the news for a bit, slept and got up at 2:30am to see if we could leave again. At first, we were moving pretty good and we felt confident that we'd be well on our way. Then we ran into traffic and again, we sat in grid lock, not moving for another 4 hours. We poured over our map - scrutnizing every possible avenue - all to no avail. We decided to go back home. Had we not had a one year old with us - the traffic, while a pain in the rear, we would have endured. Our Babe just couldn't do it - and I understand. I couldn't put her through that any longer. Now I'm sure there will be those that will criticize our decision to come back home, however, I feel much safer and protected in my own home than I do in my vehicle, stranded with thousands of others, on an open freeway where a hurricane can have free reign on my family. I will protect my family as best as I can - a car is no shelter at all.

On our way home, we began hearing of people dying in their vehicles from carbon monoxide. We heard from several other families, all with little ones like ours, who were turning back and going home because of the horrid traffice jams. Pets perished in vehicles due to the extreme heat. People were turning off their a/c trying to save gas - sitting with the windows and doors open for any air from the outside. We learned of the terrible bus fire in which 24 elderly people perished - our hearts just broke when we heard that news. We learned of the thousands and thousands of people stranded, literally out of gas, or stuck in gridlock, on the freeway with Rita bearing down - literally screaming towards them with no shelter and nowhere to turn to for safety.

We then learned that the gas trucks that were promised LAST NIGHT at 7pm were finally reaching some people. Good news, eh? Well yes - sort of - the gas trucks will be giving people 5 gallons of gas each. Okay - any gas is good, however, with the unimaginable traffic here, 5 gallons will be wasted away in trying to escape the mountains of traffic as you sit on the freeway going nowhere. So those people who ran out of gas, will again, run out. THERE IS NO GAS IN HOUSTON - NONE. I'm sure you've all heard that by now. Really, 5 gallons is like a tease - and it's no help at all. Speaking of gas, family members from Dallas have called us and they are beginning to see long lines at the pumps - and a couple of stations have run out of gas already. And the millions of people evacuating to Dallas haven't even reached Dallas yet. I would assume that Austin and the other cities that will be receiving people fleeing from Rita will experience the same gas shortage. Please take my advise - fill up your vehicles and fill up your gas cans. Stock your food pantry. Pick up that baby formula. Have plenty of water on hand. We told our family in Dallas to do the same. The cities impacted by the evacuees will be experiencing the same thing we are here - so be ready. I cannot stress that enough. Please DO NOT think that because you are far removed from Rita that you will not feel her effects. You will. 2 MILLION PEOPLE ARE EVACUATING FROM THIS AREA. If your area doesn't run out of gas, the price will skyrocket because of Rita. Get it NOW - do it all now. Do not wait. 6% of the nations refineries are in the path of Rita in Port Arthur/Beaumont Texas.

And there is something else to remember, it's not only Rita evacuees that will cause impacts, it's also Katrina evacuees being moved from Houston.

All exits are blocked off on the evacuation routes out of the city. The evacuation routes out of the city have all been turned into contra lanes - with the exception of Highway 290. Contra lanes means that they turned the freeway - both sides - in one direction heading out of the city to allievate the traffic jams - while a noble effort - I-45 is a mess. If you haven't seen the jams on tv, and I'm sure most of you, if not all of you have, seen them - think of going to your favorite sporting event or concert. Now, imagine that jam a 1,000 times worse. Imagine taking 24 to 48 hours to travel a usually 4 hour trip. Or 16 to 18 hours to travel a usually 1 to 2 hour trip. There are people stranded in the south - who I don't think will make it out in time before Rita hits. Galveston's surf is already showing signs (as of 11am on 9/23) of the outer bands of Rita reaching the island. New Orleans is experiencing wicked rain and the Mississippi, which normally flows in one direction is physically being rerouted by the force of the winds from Rita. It's flowing backwards if you will. The levee (in NO) that protects the 9th Ward...is leaking. This was the levee that was hit by the barge. The levees that broke during Katrina are "patched" not completely repaired. They were patched to stop the flow of water into NO so that the cleanup effort could begin.

All the stores have closed - there is not one store open - anywhere - until you reach Hunstville and further north (speaking from an I-45 perspective as that is the route most known to me). I'm sure people using the Katy Freeway (I-10) and 290 are experienceing the same thing. Those stores to the north will sell out of many items, and have - the supply trucks can't get to the stores because of the contra lanes to replenish the supplies - so once, bread let's say, is sold out - it's out.

This is disasterous....I guess that's an understatement.

Right now, our winds have picked up ever so slightly. Yesterday, it was eerily still - no wind, no birds, no frogs, no crickets even. Just hot. Like an oven - the sun was just beating down on us along with his friend, humidty. It's still so very hot here - close to 100 degrees. In Houston, we have awful humidity as well - so it feels so much hotter than the actual degree. The weather guys have told us that we will begin to feel changes later today through the evening and on into Saturday as Rita comes ashore.

Rita brought to mind one thing, among others, for me - it made me think of what would happen if we (we being Houston - we who house a city called Texas City - full of refineries..NO is our neighbor, which we all know, has refineries as well in Lake Charles, Chalmette) were attacked - bombed. The traffic jams we are experiencing now for a hurricane would be the exact same thing in a terrorist attack. Now, while it's not pleasant to think this particular thought - that a good many of the people that are leaving now for the hurricane - wouldn't have the chance to leave as they'd become victims of the attack, we'd still have this massive jam from those trying to escape. There would be no escape....no way out. People would run out of gas, as they have done now. They would be sitting ducks on the freeway. The gridlock would be as it is now - immense. That is a very sobering thought for me. Is it possible for the Houston area to be attacked? Of course it is - just as anyplace in the US is vunerable.

Back to Rita - I will try to update you as things happen. That depends if we lose power, which is a strong possibility.

May I ask that you each pray for all of us here in Houston and our surrounding neighbors as well as those in NO? Our southern neighbors will need it the most as well as NO. Thank you.




posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 01:25 PM
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Well, good luck Telayliean. I wish you the best.



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 01:33 PM
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Wow, what an ordeal! I'd have probably made the same decision in your shoes... The good news is, last I checked, Houston may be getting spared much of the nastiness anyhow... Sit tight, and good luck



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 01:35 PM
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also an FYI your hot water tank holds a lot of water that is just fine for drinking and what ever else you might need water for. Just make sure you shut off the circut breaker first. Remember to shut off the water to the hot water heater so that none of it gets contaminated.

[edit on 23-9-2005 by mrsdudara]



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 01:41 PM
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Good luck im sure we all will be keeping are fingers crossed for you all, Its on our news here in london 24/7 so will wish you all the luck,

See other members who are there too

Texas Members; Hurricane Rita...Your Preparations



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 02:31 PM
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Will be thinking of you while watching the news and sending good thoughts your way.

Fill tubs and buckets etc. if you don't have city water - you can then use that to flush with and put as many bottles containers in the fridge to fill it up and help keep it cool plus you can drink those.

Stay safe.



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 09:40 PM
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Thank you - thank you everyone.

I've spent the day cooking everything in sight so we will have food already prepared - kinda like an MRE only with better taste...lol! It's 9:08pm here - the wind has picked up quite a bit and the temp has cooled. Actually, it's quite nice outside now. Makes me want to open up my windows for fresh air! lol

My husband spent the day gathering everything we own that holds water and filled it. We filled every sink, except the kitchen sink, with water. He even made purfied water - a bit of bleach in the trash can (now stop that - he cleaned it out! lol) and fill it with water and bingo - purified, non-contaminated water. We made space in our closet for the three of us and our dogs. We pulled out all the candles and flashlights. Put batteries in the radio and put it in the closet. Took the cordless in there as well just in case the phone lines are up. We have a fridge filled with food and water so I feel good about that.

Several times today, we went outside and joined our neighbors to see what was happening. The sky was a brilliant blue - like a summer sky with beautiful white clouds. Then a few hours later, you could see it become dingy - darkening somewhat. Still later, it became ominous - dark smokey gray with very odd looking stark white slender clouds that seemed to circulate in a slow moving motion around our neighborhood. I don't mean to imply that there was a tornado - there wasn't - you could just watch the "clouds" move in a slow, wide circle - like an album on a record player on speed 33 - showing my age here!! lol

The trees sway and bend and continue to do so - almost in a swooping motion. As the clouds circle, the trees tend to circle as well being lead by the wind. It's started to rain a bit - not much to notice unless you were outside and felt the few drops.

The brunt of what we will experience will be about midnight - central time - and last for around 3 to 4 hours. So sleep is definately OUT this evening!

I am nervous as anyone would be - this is our first hurricane. We've been through tornados, but never a hurricane. So, I'm trying to keep my sense of humor!

The cities affected made one last sweep at around 6pm and picked up anyone left in harms way and took them to safety. I'm glad to tell you that. A car is no match for a hurricane.

Asala, thank you. My girlfriend is there now unless she decided to come home. She is from England - for her sake, I hope and pray she chose to stay there until this thing has passed.

Just now - strong winds and pelting rain is hitting our windows. Our ride is just beginning. It's 9:25pm. It's funny it comes in spirts if you will - funny thing to hear. Kinda sounds like a water sprinkler hitting the windows.

Will be a while, I'm sure, before I can let you know what happens. I think I should probably shut down my computer and see what's going on. Thank you all for your prayers and wonderful advise. I hadn't thought bout some of those things - specially the water heater - I so appreciate that information.

God speed to us all. Thank you again.

~T



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 10:15 PM
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Hang in there ~T!
And check in as soon as possible.



posted on Sep, 24 2005 @ 05:35 AM
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Telayliean
I have been reading your posts and completely understand your decision to stay.
I hope you are Ok
From your posts I can see you are prepared to face this hurricane and I am sure you will do it right. You have water, you have food and a lot of food cooked...


Please, keep us updated (if possible).
Take care



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 04:47 PM
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Well, we made it through our first hurricane. This experience has also taught us a lot about being prepared. I have read on ATS before from other members that you can never, never be too prepared. I now know what they mean.

We worked hard all day Friday preparing our family for the hurricane. I had no idea what to expect and we thought we had prepared for everything. I had discussed with my husband the ideas you all had given me, the water in the water heater for example and he pulled out the generator and made sure it was working correctly.

It dawned on me, very late in the day on Friday that we were going to run out of something. I am kind of ashamed to admit this - and yes, I'm human - but this one is a biggie. We weren't going to have enough milk (formula) for my daughter. How on earth could I have let that happen?? I, as well as my husband, was working hard to be sure we had everything that we needed and completely missed that. No one is harder on oneself than a Mama. I jumped in the car, my husband and daughter too - as he didn't want me to go alone - and we raced to see if there was a store open.

Here's where it hit me - where the preparedness comes into play. We realized, after visiting several stores, that they all closed 2 1/2 days ahead of time. Now, not being in a hurricane before, I did not realize that every store for miles around would close (I know this sounds silly - and I know better now - it's that hindsight thing). In a tornado situation, there is at lease one store open for a little while and then it closes. Here, there was nothing. We even drove to far north Montgomery County (about 45 to 50 miles) from our house to a Walmart there - it was closed as well. I burst into tears, which is not something I normally do...I felt completely cut off from civilization. I could not believe that I did such a thing - I'm very organized and very level headed - usually. After arriving back home, my husband went to check the dry stock we have "to be sure we could manage several days if we had to after Rita hits". He came back to the kitchen with a small box of Carnation Instant Milk. It was like he was holding 2 dozen roses in his hand. I was speechless. It was the most precious box of instant milk I had ever seen.

After that experience, I was ready for whatever Rita was going to bring to the party!! lolol.

Quite frankly, we were very lucky. Rita did extensive damage to East Texas and parts of Louisiana as I'm sure you all have seen by now. We had very little rain and not much wind to speak of....maybe wind gusts of upwards of 30 miles an hour. We were very lucky indeed.

The only thing we sustained from Rita was she knocked a tree into some power lines and we were without power all day yesterday (Sat., 9/24). It was close to 98 degrees, but not that bad really considering the wind gusts made it feel somewhat cooler. We put some cool water in the tub, had the neighbors over and their one year old, and let the girls "go swimming" in the tub to cool them off. The power came on about 7pm that night. So all in all, it wasn't too bad. There are some here without power and today (Sun., 9/25), it feels like it's 105 degrees outside. They are saying that by Friday - September 30th - they'll have all the power back on to the remaining people who are out - I don't remember the figures exactly, but it is several thousand people without power. Heat exhaustion is a major factor living in Houston - as it is anywhere where there is excessive heat and humidity. I sure hope they can get the power back on before Friday.

In a way, I'm glad we decided to ride it out. The traffic trying to make it back to town has already - since early this morning - been in gridlock in several places and they haven't finished filling up the tanks at the various gas stations yet. We might be in for another gas shortage - I sure hope not.

Thanks again for your advise and support. As a side note, my girlfriend stayed in London (thank God) and called us to be sure we were alright. She's coming home later this week after the mess at the airports subsides.

Now, if Phillipe will just completely miss the Texas/Louisiana Coast we'd ALL be thankful for that!

See you all around the Boards!

~T





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