Here we go again...(Updated)
Hurricane Rita. On track for a direct hit
on the Texas Coast.
Update: The Houston Chronicle has excellent Rita coverage. And what's better is that they don't require and annoying registration.
From the National Hurricane Center:
HURRICANE RITA SPECIAL DISCUSSION NUMBER 12
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
2 PM EDT TUE SEP 20 2005
HURRICANE RITA SPECIAL DISCUSSION NUMBER 12NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL2 PM EDT TUE SEP 20 2005DATA FROM NOAA AND AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE PLANES INDICATE THATRITA HAS REACHED 100 MPH WINDS. RITA IS NOW A CATEGORY TWO ON THESAFFIR/SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE. THIS SPECIAL ADVISORY IS TO REFLECTA CHANGE IN BOTH INITIAL AND FORECAST INTENSITY. THERE IS NO CHANGEIN THE FORECAST TRACK.
I was going to blog about the AFG parliamentary elections today, but I'm busy with Hurricane preparations. My jurisdiction is a reception jurisdiction which means that we will receive up to 40,0000 evacuees from the coast. The coastal jurisdictions are spinning up to get people out. Galveston began voluntary evacuations today. As of 1000 CST today we were at H-72 before tropical winds began impacting the Texas coast so evacuations will probably begin in earnest soon.
The entire State of Texas is mobilizing resources for this. We have an good statewide plan, and we're all on board. Locally, we're moving things into place. Today I sat in meetings discussing traffic routing and shelter security. We also had a statewide conference call with the Texas Division of Emergency Management. We are all taking this very seriously, and although I don't like pointing fingers, I think our local and state response will be better than the response to Katrina.
There are some key things to pay attention to as you watch this. One will be the competence and professionalism of the Emergency Management types along the Texas Gulf Coast. They don't screw around when it comes to planning this stuff. I think much of the NOLA gov't was asleep at the wheel with the Katrina evacuation. Not so here.
Next, watch how Texas coordinates the state response. Anyone who has ever met the state emergency management coordinator here in Texas know that COL (ret.) Jack Colley is large and in charge. He makes things happen whether or not FEMA is slow on the draw.
Will there be problems? Of course. We already have one friction point here in Austin. The Austin City Limits Music Festival is going on this weekend. There will be 50-60,000 people in town for it over the weekend. Every hotel is booked, and we can expect heavy traffic on the routes that evacuees are moving along. No word yet if Rita will impact the festival.