I've received more than a few inquiries and well wishes in the past few days with the hurricane a-coming, so I figured I'd give a general state of the union update.
First. There is a hurricane coming. Her name is Rita, and she's an angry nymph.
Second. We are not leaving Houston, for reasons I'll illustrate directly.
The wife had been out of town for training, and was unable to get back immediately. Her boss insisted she get back, however, so that she could be with her family. This meant that we had to wait for her to get back last night before we made any attempt to leave. We couldn't exactly fly up there, what with the debt we've incurred from law school and the fact that the cheapest rates we could find were to Minneapolis at 660/person. So, by the time she arrived, the traffic was backed up far enough that people had been in line for hours without moving too far. I heard a caller on the radio this morning who had been on the road since 2:30 yesterday afternoon and had travelled 48 miles by 8:30 this morning. Every highway and back road out of town is backed up farther than we can imagine.
So, we looked at our options. The storm's trajectory has moved, and they now expect the hurricane to land to our Northeast, which would mean that the worst winds and rains and swells would be on the opposite side of us - apparently the strongest part of the storm is the Northeast side. We're in a part of Houston that is relatively high. We're not on a flood plain, and when Alicia and Allison came through, our neighborhood did all right. The weather folks anticipate winds in our area to be between 75-85 mph, so we're still in a bind, but it's not anywhere near as daunting as it looked last night. We've taped up the windows, there are no trees in our complex, so debris will be minimized. We've moved the irreplaceable belongings up to the second floor or the landing so that if we do flood, they won't be lost. We have enough provisions (dry food, water, Coca-cola, diapers, wipes, bathroom necessities, flashlites, candles, etc) to keep us covered long enough to get through, and will be fine.
We've spoken with the Boy to let him know what to expect (the other two are still a bit young to really understand). He knows what he's supposed to do.
Over half the area is not evacuating; we're not alone here. With over 4 million people in the greater Houston area and a mandatory evacuation of 1.3 million, there's a certain sense in staying behind to let those that need to get to safety get there.
I'm not going to pretend we're looking forward to this. Don't plan on hourly hurricane updates from my laptop, or anything like that. As prepared as we've gotten ourselves, bear in mind that there are tens of thousands in Houston and the outlying area who aren't able to prepare as well as we could. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers throughout this ordeal, and put in a kind word for the people of Beaumont, who look to take the brunt of the storm at this time. We'll be fine, and we'll be here to help out those that need it when the storm is over.