Stay or go? Facts and reality, please.
September 22, 2005 4:30 AM   Subscribe

What was the Katrina damage 50 miles inland?

Everything I bring up just goes on and on about the coast, both for Katrina and her sister Rita. Last night our local newschannel talked about 110 MPH winds in Katy, near our house in west Houston. On the other hand, I can't find any info on how long it might take to get to Beaumont on IH10 East, and I don't want to run out of gas due to the traffic. We live in a brick house far from the 100 year flood plane, with very few windows and one giant pecan tree. We have food and water and all the necessities, but we're still thinking of leaving. We are having a hard time getting the facts to make a good decision.

I'm looking for facts or pictures, not "get out now get out now" scariness. My pants are plenty brown already, thanks.
posted by pomegranate to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
Response by poster: Nevermind Beaumont is now under evacuation orders. So now we're back to trying Austin, but we have the same problem - will the gas tank conquer the traffic, or will we be stuck by the side of the road, three dogs in tow, watching Rita blow in?
posted by pomegranate at 5:10 AM on September 22, 2005

Good luck.
posted by Lotto at 5:23 AM on September 22, 2005

Good luck indeed! From my safe position 10000 miles away I am thinking you can ride it out.
My evidence is having heard in the past how fast these storms disipate over land, and embarassingly, USA Today which indicates evacuation only much closer to the coast.
I know my personal nightmare would be being stuck in a traffic jam when things got ugly.
Click on the Intensity Scale
posted by bystander at 5:32 AM on September 22, 2005

Some of the folks 50 miles inland from Katrina are just now getting power. Many a roof was lost, many a tree down.

Remember this though, after a Gulf coast hurricane hit one year and petered out in west Texas, surveyors found the trunk of a palm tree...

in Big Bend.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:12 AM on September 22, 2005

In Hattiesburg, MS there was power lost for a good while, one week after Katrina parts of Jackson, MS still under a boil water notice. In Starkville, MS there was minor flooding everywhere for a night, loss of power in parts and classes at the university cancelled for a day.

It's all stuff you could deal with, but still not pleasant. Nowhere near as bad as the coast. I accidentally ended up on the coast when I was driving down to pick up a friend and the roads going further and further south were just scary with downes lines and trees.
posted by nile_red at 7:28 AM on September 22, 2005

Best answer: As a former Miamian let me tell you the most important thing anyone will ever tell you about hurricanes (because you sure won't hear it from the "News" people on TV and their broadcasts give you the exact opposite impression):

The danger during the hurricane is probably 1/1000th of the danger in the following 48 hours.

If you aren't one of the fools surfing or running around out in the storm and you have the sense to GET INSIDE and hunker down TILL ITS ALL OVER you are going to survive. Don't go out and marvel at how calm it is in the eye because it will sneak up on you. Don't go out and think "geez, it's just a really strong wind but it's no tornado" because a big ass board may come klonk you in the head. Even if you can't shutter your house you can get into a closet or bathroom and shut the door.

What will fuck you up is the subsequent conditions. Power lines are down, roads are hard to navigate, trees are half keeped over waiting to fall on your head and idiots with chainsaws are plentiful. You need to have food and water set aside since the power will probably be out and the tap water undrinkable. No city water system is free of leaks and cracks but the constant pressure pushes water out of the system and keeps uckies from getting in. When the pump stations fail, the pressure ceases and things in the ground leach back into the pipes, requiring several days before it's all flushed out.

Really, if you have some basic necessities and just stay the hell home afterwards you can avoid most of the dangers. Some suggestions/observations:

You can keep your bathtub full for emergency drinking water and to fill the toilet tank to allow for flushes if your water is completely screwed. Put a piece of saran wrap over the drain plug to prevent slow leaks - many tub drains aren't perfect seals.

If your freezer is not completely full, fill it. Take every tuperware container you can find, fill it 3/4 full of water to allow for expansion and stuff them into the freezer. It'll keep everything in there colder longer and you can melt it for drinking water.
posted by phearlez at 8:18 AM on September 22, 2005

Yeah, there's no problem in riding it out; it sounds like you've made preparations and aren't in danger of flooding. The problem with New Orleans is that the city is under sea level, right? And some people obviously thought it was still safe to stay there. The recent-hurricane madness is getting to you, is all.

I'd rather be at home with a pile of food and water than stuck on the road trying to find a place to stay.
posted by trevyn at 8:46 AM on September 22, 2005

This graph is interesting too: Predicted storm surge penetration in the Houston area
posted by smackfu at 9:48 AM on September 22, 2005

I'm stuck in the same situation. I live in SW Houston and have family in College Station. Given the traffic, I worry that I'll run out of gas before I could make it out of town. I'll probably end up stuck in my house. Hopefully the storm landfall will keep moving east and we won't see much damage.
posted by Serena at 11:58 AM on September 22, 2005

Good luck in whatever you choose to do, pomegranate. Good luck to everyone in Rita's path.

If I still lived in Houston, I'd be just outside of the mandatory evacuation area.
posted by deborah at 8:24 PM on September 22, 2005

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