As Rita makes her inexorable journey toward the Texas coast, a number of members of my Houston-based family are fleeing. They’re headed North, to the homes of other family members, some of whom are still close enough to have laid in supplies — water, gasoline (for the generator), charcoal, etc. — just in case the power is out for an extended period.
I’ve just learned my brother and his wife have arrived at my Dad’s with their newborn baby boy (born just a couple of weeks after Callum), two young girls, and my sister-in-law’s mother. They left last night and it took more than 6 hours to make a trip that usually takes 2. I’m a little worried about my Dad, who needs electricity to run his oxygen machinery. They’ve got a generator, thankfully, and are out getting gasoline (and more back-up oxygen) as I type. I hope supplies are readily available.
I got a text message from my aunt earlier, saying they were on the road. When I last spoke to her, last night, she and my uncle were prepared to hunker down and ride it out. I don’t know what changed between then and this morning, but I must say I’m relieved to know they are headed out. I’ve got a big family, though, and I don’t know what others have decided to do.
Growing up along the Gulf Coast in Houston, the threat of a hurricane always looms. (Don’t even get me started about the hurricane-related information drilled into us when I worked at KTRH Radio, where we expected to be the sole source of information when power went down and people depended on their radios.) People are now thinking back to Alicia in 1983, remembering where the flooding occurred and wondering what fate awaits the city over the next few days. Rita appears to be a wholly different animal than Alicia, though. People seem to be frightened in a way I haven’t seen before. Of course, much of the emotion is due to the aftermath of Katrina, but there’s also the fact that this is just a big storm. Very big.
Note: This is a cross-post from The-River.net, my other blog.