My Thoughts

A summary of my daily thoughts.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Ray of Hope?

I am listening to CNN. Rita is weakening. Even if Rita decreases to a category 2 hurricane, she still might bring a much higher level surge like Katrina did. When Katrina hit, I wrote about the levee and seawall around Port Arthur and mid-county. My house is north of I-10 by approximately 3-4 miles. Beaumont is 35-40 miles inland from the coast. There is a grid of bayous and drainage canals that could backup into Beaumont if the seawall is overwhelmed. June 1 of every year KFDM-TV has a program on hurricane preparedness. They always show a graphic on where the water would go for a direct hit on our area for the different categories of hurricanes. Beaumont is supposed to stay dry if the level is 3 or below. I do not know how much faith to put in the seawall.

I looked up the statistics on Alicia, the hurricane that I went through in 1983. Alicia was a Cat. 3 storm when she went over Galveston island and weakened as she approached Houston. The eye went right over downtown Houston. Houston has many glass-sided buildings. There was lots of broken glass. I lived out on the west side of Houston. My power was out for about ten hours. Some pyracantha shrubs in my yard were torn off the trellises and the shade of one low voltage decorative light was blown away. That was the only damage I suffered. Others were not as lucky.

My house in Beaumont has a new roof and a new fence that I had installed in June of this year. I hope they are strong. The old fence was rotten and the roof was on its last legs. My house is in better shape than it was a year ago.

I got an email from a friend of mine that I was worried about. Her husband has been undergoing chemotherapy this summer. They are in Jefferson, Texas, which is just south of Texarkana. I went through Jefferson yesterday.

My eye doctor is from Gulfport, Mississippi. He went through Hurricane Camille when he was 12 years old. His father and brother still live in Gulfport. He went over to check on them after Katrina. Their houses survived. Power outage was their only problem. My doctor seems to think the worst of the worst is shown on TV. There is a railroad track that goes through Gulfport that is six or so blocks from the coast. He said the rail tracks seemed to provide a barrier that slowed down the surge of water. He thinks houses that are north of I-10 in Beaumont are safe. The west end of Beaumont where I live has lots of areas that flood with a heavy rain so I am very fearful. My house has an elevation of 22 feet above sea level. I have lived in it for almost 18 years and never had a problem with water.

The new FEMA head, Paulson, is giving a press briefing. He sure seems to be in better control of the job than Brownie was. I think the Texas Department of Transportation is going to get a lot of criticism out of this one because they did not convert southbound lanes to all northbound. I doubt the extra lanes would have helped very much. Houston is just plain clogged even when there is no hurricane.


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