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« RITA: Houston Hurricane Ghost Town. | WILLisms.com | HURRICANE RITA: Latest Track -- Looking Like Port Arthur. »

RITA: Abandoned Cars, Abandoned Roads, In Houston.

We are at my parents' house in West Houston. More like Katy (West on I-10). The roads getting far out of town are empty. If anyone still wants to evacuate, they could. They shouldn't. But they could if they wanted to.

The blame game squads have already been trying to blame Governor Rick Perry or Mayor Bill White or the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) or anyone else for the gridlock seen on television. But patience paid off for those who really needed to get out. The roads are now clear. The evacuation was an unparalleled success story. MILLIONS left the area on limited roadspace. And millions got out just fine.

Bravo to all the people who got the contra-flow going. Bravo to those responsible for this evacuation.

Think about this for a minute.

I'd estimate that 1/4 or 1/3 of the license plates heading EAST on I-10 yesterday from Houston to Beaumont were Louisiana plates. Maybe more. Then you have hundreds of thousands of far-inland Houstonians who had no business evacuating, evacuating. Then you add all the hundreds of thousands who did need to evacutate, evacuating. These are MANY THOUSANDS more people than the infrastructure was ready to handle. But it was handled. Just fine.

Sure, some ran out of gas. It was hot. People were stranded, temporarily. But people got out. And the people left behind are hunkering down. Shame on the media for continuing to show OLD images of gridlock, giving the impression that this gridlock is ongoing. It's not ongoing.

While driving NW (toward Austin) on Highway 290, we made record time. I-10 inside Houston was pretty much abandoned. Almost no vehicles on the road. There were maybe 40-60 abandoned vehicles on the side of the road, with green stickers on the windows. But no people were stranded with the cars. Last night, we saw City of Houston buses loading up with water, and they were going to head out on the shoulders of the roads with police escorts to pass out water on evacuation routes and pick up people who are out of gas.

And clearly, SOMEONE picked up all of the stranded folks, if not those city buses. We also saw evidence of Good Samaritanism. Today we passed a gas station with no gas, and 6 or 7 cars were parked there, stranded. And we saw a few other folks bringing red gas jugs to them so they could get back home or to shelter.

But the good news is that most people are out of harm's way. And those who aren't yet still have plenty of time to get to shelter.

The evacuation was a stunning success. Now let's hope the response to the damage is similarly successful.


The latest Rita track:


Posted by Will Franklin · 23 September 2005 02:48 PM


Will- So glad to hear you made it out! I appreciate your update and your positive view of the situation. Take care and hope that you and yours, and your things, too, make it through this.


Posted by: Jim Hoft at September 23, 2005 02:58 PM

Well, the only real danger up here is supposed to be tornadoes. Benn there , done that, not worried. The downside is that Beaumont is going to take a beating and Louisiana is going to get dumped on.

Posted by: Rob B. at September 23, 2005 03:50 PM