I actually had another post started when I realized I'd rather just mention this stupid damned 'Hurricane Ike" thing.
As I write this (Thursday afternoon, 11 Sept 08), there's a Category 2 storm out there bearing down with a projected path right over the top of my house (seriously: we might get to take the kids outside to look up through the eye and then scurry back for cover-- fun!). By the time this beast makes landfall, she'll likely be bringing sustained winds of 115 mph or so, which means by the time the storm covers the roughly 90 miles from the shore to my house, we'll likely still be having 70 mph sustained for 8-15 hours, along with the usual insane torrential rains -- somewhere between 6 and 30 inches worth.
Unlike Rita, which, coming as it did on the immediate heels of the Katrina debacle, scared a few million Houston area folks to panic onto the freeways, creating a nightmare of jammed up traffic which thankfully was spared all but a tiny bit of the storm, this time, this storm seems to be getting a nice steely eyed calm and level headed degree of proportionate fear. People are prepping, but there's none of the wide-eyed panic seen with Rita.
Hardware stores have long lines of people stocking up on plywood and sheetgoods to protect windows, but there's no mad crush.
Gas stations are running low and sometimes out, but resupply is happeneing. I was just at the neighborhood Shell station, for example, where I'd seen a line of cars getting their tanks topped off (always a good idea in such situations, in case you HAVE to go and go now...), but when I pulled in all the pumps were empty-- sold out. I bought a drink, and as I started my car I saw a tanker truck-- followed by a half dozen expectant cars and vans following him to wherever he was delivering -- so I quickly slid in to a pump and waited the 7 minutes til he was offloading to the tanks. I got the car filled and by the time I left, there were 50 cars lined up out into the streets.
As I was paying, I asked the manager how much they'd sold.
"We took 8000 gallons this morning, and it was gone by lunchtime. That's another 9000 gallons he's giving us, and it will probably be gone before dark."
We've stored everything that could be lifted by the wind and sent flying through a windshield or window.
We have food. Flashlights. Water. Ice and meat in the freezer. Canned goods, extra bread and crackers. A radio that works.
School is cancelled tomorrow and all events cancelled through the weekend. I hope we wind up bored out of our minds, but I worry that we'll have more than enough excitement.
So for now, we pretty much sit here, kinda marveling at how normal and calm things are -- beautiful sky, light breeze, a little warmer than normal -- and watch the radar updates as a huge roaring bastard of a storm chugs right at us from somewhere just over the southeastern horizon.