People have spent a good chunk of the evening criticizing the traffic conditions of the Houston exodus. Finally, Dr. Neil Frank, an authority on Hurricanes from KHOU NEWS, explained the evacuation plan as such: He said the evacuation plan was made to evacuate those on the coast and in flood prone, low lying areas (the now famous zones on the maps: A, B and C). The evacuation plan was made to evacuate these two million people, not the entire population of the Houston metroplex.
The problem is, he said, is that about half of the four million people not in the evacuation areas decided to evacuate as well. That’s where the breakdown occurred. So yes, many things went wrong because of that. He did say, however, that all in all, after watching the death and destruction of Katrina on tv for two weeks, people who would have normally stayed put panicked and decided to leave. Most, if not all, people on the roads right now should be able to get out of harm’s way before Rita’s landfall.
Not that he blames them, but the extra surge of people during the evacuation led to the traffic jams on the freeways. That’s the best explanation I’ve heard all day.
The best newspaper report on the Houston Exodus comes from across the pond in London.
From the Times Online: Exodus is “breathtaking in size.”
The exodus from the Texas coast, and 60 miles north through Houston, was breathtaking in size. In essence, a coastal suburban area of two million people was being ordered to evacuate through the Houston metropolitan area of four million.
Highways leading inland out of Houston were gridlocked, with traffic bumper-to-bumper. Petrol stations were running out of fuel. Police cruised along the queue with petrol for drivers running low. Shoppers emptied supermarkets of food and water.
Breathtaking in size. I love that.
Going to bed now to get a good night’s sleep because I doubt I get much sleep tomorrow night.
Personally, I’m more worried about all the rain we are going to get for the next five days. I’m glad I know how to swim.