Thursday, September 22, 2005

H-18: Feeling the Katrina Effect

You've seen the news. The highways are a mess.

The storm track has shifted significantly over the last 24 hours. The weather guys say that its strength made it hard to model. The shift in the track has left Texas playing catch-up as Beaumont and the areas North of Houston are targeted.

The conventional wisdom in the emergency business is that people won't take the first hurricane evacuation seriously. The send one is when everyone panics. And that's where we stand right now. There is an unprecedented number of people on the roads. Katrina has put fear in people.

Now Texas is scrambling to solve the problems. The state is moving fuel trucks to the highways to refuel cars that are out of gas. Buses are also pulling out stranded motorists. The guard will be dropping food and water as well as pulling people out. We've got time, but not much. The clock is working against us.

The big friction point here is special needs facilities. Lots of nursing home have inadequate or non-existent plans. This sucking up all the state's resources to pull people out. The special needs facilities remain the state's number one priority. I'll talk more about nursing homes later, but I hope that I won't have to back of my pledge that no-one would die in a nursing home.

I was wrong about the ACL fest, but it was their luck that the storm track shifted. Austin will escape major effect. The shelter operations in Austin/Travis County is fully operational as well shelter thousands of people. We're expecting more.

The good news is that Houston and Galveston may avoid a direct hit. The bad news is that there are numerous refineries and petrochemical facilities threatened in the strike zone.

I'll post more tonight after my shift.


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