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Sunday, August 28, 2005
Waiting on Katrina
Still dead calm here. A slight breeze, no rain.
I-10 is nearly dead, too. There are minute-long gaps where not a car passes either way. It's a strange, and frightening, sight. You start to realize that this really real - it's about to happen.
My friend, who left from Baton Rouge at 1:30pm today, going towards her home in Houston just rang me. She's still stuck in traffic (it's 11:30pm) and has moved a whopping 3 miles in the past hour. It seems all of the traffic we were seeing out here has moved elsewhere. It's good, though - more people out of harm's way.
But we're still just waiting. Tropical storm winds (39-73 mph) are as far out as 250 miles from the eye of the storm. We'll start feeling Katrina long before she actually, and officially, reaches landfall.
They are predicting this storm to leave over 1 million people homeless in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.
I wonder about the 70,000-something people stuffing into the Superdome. Sure, it can sustain winds of up to 200 mph, but what about water? What will they do when the water rises to 20' or 30'? Be stuck inside? Will the water come with them, and rise to a certain level? The Superdome is huge, and sound - but I wouldn't want to be stuck inside it - trapped inside it, maybe - in these conditions.
Random thoughts - you think of so many things.
The worse thing about these hurricanes, these warm water Gulf ones, is that it doesn't just affect those of us in the South living through it. Over 1/4 of the crude oil produced in the U.S. is produced off the Gulf of Mexico. When they are damaged, and production is halted, we all suffer; higher gas prices being the most obvious inconvenience. As if they aren't high enough.
Hopefully it won't be as bad as all that - but nothing looks too good right now. I'm going to get some shut-eye, as I know the storm will be waking me up in a few hours. There won't be much sleep after that. Even after the storm, no electricity means no a/c in the dead of August; which you can't even comprehend unless you've lived some time in a place with 110 heat index and 100% humidity. It's going to completely suck, that's for sure. But, then again, hopefully no electricity is the only thing we'll have to worry about.
I'll report back as soon as we start seeing some action.