Thursday, September 22, 2005

Here Comes Rita!

Reminds me of an old Beatles song, “Lovely Rita, Meter Maid.”

Despite all the urgings of you wonderful readers and commenters, we will likely stay here in Victoria along with Grandma. That decision is looking a lot better as Rita’s projected track veers farther north, now taking aim directly at Galveston Bay.

Every mile farther north will mean a much easier time for Victoria. I don’t wish that kind of destructive force on anybody, but most of all not on ME!

Today we finished buttoning up the plant where I work. Almost literally. All windows are boarded, all processes are shut down and cool, every loose item is tied down, and the volunteer “hurricane crew” is ready to sit out the storm on the plant site. Their function is primarily one of trying to prevent any property damage or environmental “releases.”

The plant sits close to San Antonio Bay at an elevation of 25 feet. If the storm hit right here and the surge was anything like Katrina’s, there would be surf coming through my office. One of our last actions before leaving was to put all computer and electric/electronic gear up on tables and cover itwith plastic sheeting.

Kinda gets your attention.

This afternoon there are still no effects being felt locally. In fact, Victoria has had record high temperatures for the last two days (101). The sun is shining brightly with little breeze. It makes me think of the time before satellites and airborne hurricane hunters, when a storm of this magnitude could strike with almost no warning. Scary.

Both of my daughters called me this morning, urging us to pack up grandma and get out. But they know their grandma and understand the difficulty (impossibility?) of convincing her to go, short of brute force.

I told them that if the storm changes path again and looks as if it might hit close to here, I MAY just physically carry her out of the apartment, place her in the van, and drive west. She might disown me from being her son-in-law, but it might save her life.

The trouble is, we have no fears in Victoria of storm surge or real (dangerous) flooding. The biggest threat is either extreme hurricane winds or tornadoes. I maintain that there IS no real defense against a tornado, and they can hit anywhere, even in the “outer bands” of a hurricane.

And Grandma is convinced the winds won't be that bad here. So, our FINAL decision remains to be made, but as of now we’ll likely be staying.

Yes, I’ll let you know all about it at some point. I may be without power (best case) for a while. I may be without a home (very bad case) for a while. But not for a few days yet.

Tomorrow we still won’t see much in the way of stormy weather until late in the day. In fact, if the city wasn't under a mandatory evacuation and I thought we could get away with it, we could likely go over to the municipal golf course in the morning and play. However, I fear that the few remaining law enforcement people in town might frown upon that as frivolity, so I’ll likely forbear.

The latest estimates are for the winds to begin to rise and possible rain showers to come in late Friday, with landfall of the eye sometime early Saturday morning.

Check out this blog tomorrow for updates on our status!


Nankin said...

John, do be careful and my prayers are with you and your family.

kenju said...

I wish you were leaving the area, just in case. Be safe and keep us posted when you can.

Karyn Lyndon said...

Just watched the news and it looks like your area is being spared...and you saved yourself a REALLY long drive out of town. Guess Grandma knows best after all. Might as well play golf since you have the day