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Re: I'm back!


Every spring, each Houston television station meteorologist publishes his personal hurricane tracking chart, complete with maps of all the mandatory evacuation areas for the Galveston/Harris County (Houston) area and evacuation routes. These are distributed in grocery stores, insurance agencies, furniture stores, in the Houston Chronicle, at libraries, at hardware stores -- if you want one, you can have one, free. There are also hurricane workshops held by each county, open to the public, and the Office of Emergency Management publishes a fancy booklet of about 30 pages for the coast from Corpus Christi to the Louisiana border with the same information, also free, not as readily available in hard copy but easily obtained as a download.

The mass evacuation of areas of Houston north of I-10 and west of I-45, approximately 50 miles from the coast, was probably unnecessary. As Noreen said, there were many people who were in mandatory evacuation areas, and their evacuation was hampered by those individuals who were probably not in danger from the surge (the primary cause of mandatory evacuation).

I listened to radio and tv in the car all day that Thursday, and I believe the Houston mayor and county judge panicked people. They were trying to get people who lived near the bayous to leave, but instead apparently a large number of Houston residents who were not at risk of flooding left when they didn't need to.

The state's solution has been to appoint not one, but two "Blue Ribbon Committees" to determine what went wrong and what to do next time. At least three of the members of the first committee are former oil company presidents. As far as I can tell, not one committee member was in the evacuation traffic jam.

Contraflow would have been more effective if it had started closer to the coast. Conroe, where it began, is approximately 92 miles north on I-45 from Galveston. Even New Orleans did a better job than Houston and Texas Department of Transportation.

The last death count was 71. They haven't counted the dogs, cats, horses, and cattle that died while being evacuated.

However, our public officials continue to assure us the evacuation was a success. I guess it was.

Scottie


----- Original Message ----- From: "james singer" <islandjim1@verizon.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 12:17 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] I'm back!


Cathy, we have hurricane evacuation maps given to us every year by everyone who wants to sell us insurance or a used car or something else. The maps are color coded by elevation and distance from the water's edge. It is, after all, storm surge that is the real killer, not wind and rain. Evacuations are suggested/ordered by those color codes. But when a hurricane, such as Charley last year, suddenly veers off course, it's a tad too late to change recommended to mandatory.

In Texas, not opening both sides of the interstate for exodus was stupid beyond belief. And, as Scottie pointed out, not providing fuel, water, and potty exits was equally dumb.

On Oct 4, 2005, at 12:47 PM, Cathy Carpenter wrote:

Am not familiar with the Houston area, but I did read that ordering a
total evacuation and not taking into account the topography was part
of the problem. There were sections of the city that were at little
risk due to location and elevation, but they were told to go along
with those at higher risk. I also read that people concerned about
belongings and pets (most understandably) evacuated in multiple
vehicles, so the congestion on the roads exceeded estimates. When I
lived in Hawai'i, the phone books had tsunami evacuation maps - when
there was a warning, you could tell exactly whether you should head
inland or not. While hurricanes are unpredictable, they are less so
than tornados, so I imagine similar maps could be developed for
hurricanes, based on location, elevation, and proximity to bodies of
water. But politicians overreact because people want guarantees.

Cathy, west central IL, z5b

On Sep 28, 2005, at 7:49 AM, Donna wrote:

That is really so very sad. I can relate to natural
disasters causing loss of life, but my god, not an
evacuation!

Have they learned from this and designing a better way
for the next time?

Donna
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