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Author Micah Cambre

hurricane ike

Three years ago, I was paying attention to Katrina as it demolished New Orleans.
This year, I’m paying attention to Hurricane Ike as it threatens to RAVISH the Gulf Coast and Houston area.

Hurricane Ike before it hits the Texas Coast
Hurricane Ike before it hits the Texas Coast

the one that almost hit

Hurricane Rita – the most hyped about, covered and watched hurricane ever. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita quickly turned into an arena of bad expectations and intense speculations.

Before we realized it, she became the 3rd most powerful Category 5 hurricane on record. We anticipated all the worst fears; Galveston was about to repeat the storm of 1900, Houston was going to become a swamp of destruction, and gas prices would hit close to $4 a gallon. 80% of Southeast Texas made a very quick, last minute run for the hills in light of this speculation. Early on, all the forecast models predicted doom.

Then she turned. And kept turning until she made landfall hitting the Louisiana state line, Sabine Pass and the poor, unkemptly city of Port Arthur.

It was fun watching the forecasts because they would change so rapidly and showed the unpredictable nature of weather as it happened. But it also showed the human nature of trying to determine what to expect.

Houston dodged a New Orleans sized bullet. It still, however was hit with a financially disruptive BB pellet. Houston will survive and move on, and months passing will leave this potential nightmare behind.

Hurricane Rita

Information for anyone who wants it.

Houston Chronicle Hurricane Rita coverage
Wikipedia’s Hurricane Rita info
ABC13 KTRK’s live continuous coverage
KHOU’s live feed
Donate money to relief efforts now
High Resolution photos
Weather Underground Expert Dr. Jeff Masters’ Blog’s Steve Gregory’s blog
Rita’s tracking path since its formation (via Google maps)

9/23 7:45am – Having talked to a lot of friends from the Houston/Beaumont areas, this whole ordeal seems to have caught the Golden Triangle area off guard. It seems that most of the residents of the Beaumont, Port Arthur decided to leave yesterday morning/afternoon. And what’s more amazing is how fast traffic built up in a matter of hours.

In Beaumont, almost no one was leaving on Wednesday. They weren’t all that worried about going because all the forecasts were stating that it was heading more towards the south Texas coast. Then, as time passed and shifts in the path towards the north northwest, the panic began. A friend of mine who lives in the small town of Groves, Texas, which is in Jefferson county, left his house at 6am on Thursday morning. He made it to Arkansas in about 7-8 hours. His parents, who had to wait for his dad to finish work, left at 9am. In the next 8 hours, they had only made it to Lamar University, or about 15 miles. That’s right, 15 miles in eight hours! Absolutely amazing and only in a difference of 3 hours!

Because this hurricane’s projected track is headed really close to Groves and Beaumont, there’s a really good chance that my childhood home will be completely flooded and covered in water. I keep in touch with approximately 3-5 people in the Golden Triangle area, and they might not even have a home to return to in a couple of days.

9/23 1:50pm – If you are from the Houston area or have lived in the area, you might be interested in a blog called Stormwatchers supported by the Houston Chronicle. It is area residents who are blogging from around the city, taking photos and posting updates about their respective home areas. If the hurricane hits closer to the Beaumont area and there is a blogger out there like there was in New Orleans, I think that blog would be more interesting and I’ll most certainly link to one if it’s remotely interesting.

9/23 11:25pm – One of the most amazing things about being away from Texas is that I can still feel like I’m home almost 1500 miles away because of the Internet. I have the choice of watching any of the three major new stations in Houston, two of which I linked to above. I have watched those newcasters since I moved to Houston many years ago, so seeing their familiar faces is somewhat comforting.

As I write this, the north part of the eye of the hurricane has made it to land now and will probably hit Port Arthur and Groves in the next hour. It’s so weird to think that this could completely tear up those cities. In 1986, I slept through my one and only hurricane, Hurricane Bonnie. It was a category 1 but I was so young and probably so tired that none of the noise was loud enough to wake me up. When we woke up, I can remember going outside and seeing branches all over the place. One of the first things we did was get in the car to go look around the town and see what we could because I think this was the first hurricane that all of us went through.

I don’t really keep up with many hurricanes since most of them aren’t as personal as this one, but this might well be the most covered and anticipated hurricane that’s ever struck the US. With the dump and ravage that Hurricane Katrina put New Orleans through, Hurricane Rita’s potential to be one of the worst hurricanes ever kept all of the media obsessed with tracking every little step, every little change. I’ve seen more and more blogs dedicated to this hurricane from different experts and people who have stayed behind.

For those who left, many of which went north to north Texas, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Texarkana, Lufkin, Oklahoma and Arkansas, there’s a really good chance that it’ll be at least Tuesday or Wednesday before they are able to make it back. Not only will there be an enormous amount of rain between now and Tuesday, but the traffic is going to be absolutely attrocious. When you are in rush hour in your own city, you’re probably sitting with thousands of other people with thousands of cars. Imaging waiting with not thousands but 10s of thousands and millions of people trying to go to the same place. Makes me appreciate not being in Houston

. . . Wait a minute, I’m in LA . . . d’oh!

Once I get them, I will definitely post some photos. I know the fire chief of Port Neches and he’s currently stationed at Lumberton High School so as soon as I hear from his son and hopefully they take photos, I’ll post whatever they have if any at all.

I see that I’ve gotten more and more traffic from google and other search engines because of Groves and Hurricane Rita. If I get any photos or know of a good place to go see some, I’ll link ’em. Sorry if you came here looking for extensive coverage of the city of Groves!

hurricane commentary

Here are a few things comments to make about this hurricane.

  1. Gas prices are going to go up again. There will be some fear on the stock market so the price of gas is going to rise above $70 a barrel. Between Louisana and Texas, this is probably anywhere between 10-20% of oil producation for the US. Losing this amount of production again could be catastrophic for gas prices.
  2. Houston has a HUGE economy in the energy companies. This hurricane is now projected to hit almost dead on target of Houston, but probably just west. This is still, however, going to negatively affect Houston for a while. Just about any energy based technology is going to go up in price, some drastically.
  3. Because the winds have reached over 175 MPH and it’s a category 5 hurricane, it’s very likely that as the hurricane weakens when it hits the shores it won’t weaken below a category 4.
  4. There will be much less human casualities than were in New Orleans. I’ve already talked to so many people today and most of them had already left their homes. The freeway systems, which are much easier to navigate than the LA freeways, were jammed pack going north on almost every road.
  5. This hurricane is quickly on track to become the most powerful hurricane, ever, on record. It’s currently at number 3 as of 10:30 PST. To get expert analysis on what to expect, go here as the hurricane moves closer on land.
  6. You can also visit Houston Chronicle’s Rita coverage page for some great local coverage.
  7. Same with Wikipedia’s frequently updated page.
  8. Feel free to visit my website as well for personal comments.

This thing is likely to hit my home. Where I came from. It has officially become personal.

my weekend plans have changed

Southwest Airlines cancelled my flight. They decided not to allow any flight to or from Hobby past 12 noon on Friday. So, the little glimpse of hope that was there is now gone. In fact, it looks like this hurricane is about to take Houston and crap all over it. Go to the Houston Chronicle for all your local Hurricane Rita information.

Hurricane Rita info on Wikipedia

Houston, we have a BIG problem.

Have you tried making a cell phone call to or from Houston lately? Probably, if you have, you are out of luck. I’ve had an easier time getting ahold of a couple of Sprint Customers (though, I did have a little trouble), but it’s virtually impossible to reach anyone using Verizon, Cingular, or T-Mobile. There is so much calling going on that these systems are overwhelmed.

No only are those systems clogged, but the freeway systems are virtually parking lots. I talked to a friend of mine just a little while ago and they left from approximately the intersection of Beltway 8 and I-45 at about 2pm CST. When I talked to her, she was all the way to the intersection of Beltway 8 and 288, or approximately only 13 miles in 1.25 hours! Average speed? around 8 MPH!! I talked to another friend who was almost to Brehnam and she left at approximately 12pm CST. What a difference in only a couple of hours!!

Even if this hurricane doesn’t hit Houston, one thing is for certain: Houston’s going to take a HUGE financial hit for this. It doesn’t matter if there’s no hurricane anywhere near, all of the businesses in SE Harris county or Galveston county aren’t going to be in operation from today until next Monday. That’s millions, possibly billions of dollars a day!

Looks like now is going to be the appropriate time to give more to your favorite charity.