RITA

Last night I went to the grocery store as usual. It was so crowded, it felt like the night before Thanksgiving and everybody was rushing around to find the last can of cranberries. Usually, there are 6-10 people in the checkout lines while I am there (before 5:30). Last night, there were no less than 60.

After Katrina, Rita is causing a subtle, but noticeable panic among Houstonians. Those who remember Hurricane Alicia from the early 80’s are particularly on edge. Alicia left Houston without power for two weeks. The promise of vast amounts of rain have many who endured Tropical Storm Allison’s great flood in 2001 on edge as well.

Apparently, Houston is in the “danger zone.” If the storm hits south near Matagorda, Houston will get tropical storm winds (75 mph-ish) and a lot of rain (which we need some, but not flooding). If the storm hits Galveston head on, the forecasters say, “think Alicia,” which means that much more wind damage (100 mph +) and rain.

The Convention Center has been evacuated because the Red Cross doesn’t keep major shelters open in “danger zones.” The closest shelter is being set up about an hour north of Houston in Huntsville. I really feel for those Katrina evacuees who were placed in apartments in Galveston. Galveston is currently under a voluntary evacuation and will announce a mandatory one tomorrow morning.

All school systems south of Houston are closed until Monday. My roommate’s job is even on notice and may close Friday night. Roomie, the calm one, the one who doesn’t panic made a suggestion to get some ice on the way home Thursday if I can find any by then. This should be interesting.

I don’t anticipate anything but stormy weather, but you never know. We have plenty of everything, so I know we’ll be okay. I’ll keep you posted.

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