Friday, September 23, 2005

Houston Evacuation

My friend from Houston is leaving the city and heading up to IL. He sent an email update this morning from somewhere in north-east TX. This excerpt gives a good idea of the crazy situation down there:
We left Houston late Wednesday night (or early Thursday morning, if you will) at 03:00. Leaving the city per se was rapid; we got to the airport (25 miles to the north) within an hour. But it was a complete disaster from there. We averaged 5 miles per hour for quite a long way. Highway 59, which goes north-north-east toward Arkansas, was one disaster area. Many people ran out of gas. If the hurricane has any real strength (as reported), people will be in serious trouble. Drivers were behaving in a crazy way, driving either on the grass or in some situations in the opposite direction lanes (with opposite traffic!!!) and the police did nothing. We saw one major crash and numerous stalled/stranded vehicles.

Finally, after 19 hours we got onto an empty sideroad. Until then every effort that we made to navigate around the catastrophe didn't succeed, because the sideroads were also clogged.

Our gas was reasonable. We ended up with a third of a tank left. Obviously on the highway there was ZERO gas, but once we got onto previously mentioned sideroad, there were gas stations with lines but with the precious commodity. We managed to refuel and finally got something to eat. (We had been drinking water all along but because of the insane traffic couldn't really stop anywhere; it was 2-3 hours between any two junctions on the road.)

After gas and food, we slept very well at a rest area. It was full with people from Houston, and obviously there are no hotels in Texas....


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