Wednesday, 21 September, 2005

Preparing for hurricane Rita

Hurricane Rita is at category five and spinning its way towards the Texas coast with 165 knot winds.  As of early this evening Rita is the third strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.  It's more powerful now than Katrina was.  The projected path puts the storm on the coast late Friday somewhere between Corpus Christi and Houston with an intensity of at least category three.  We're over 100 miles from the coast so we won't get a hurricane.  But we're still expecting high winds (40 miles per hour) and heavy rain (two to four inches) on Saturday afternoon.  The projected track puts Rita about 20 or 30 miles east of us.  If it deviates from its projected track we could see hurricane force winds and up to 15 inches of rain.

Debra went to the grocery store for a few things this evening.  When she saw the full parking lot and the zoo in the store she decided to get a few extras just in case we lose power for an extended period.  The propane tank on the barbeque is almost full.  We have 17,000 gallons of water in the swimming pool and enough firewood to boil it all if it comes to that.  I can't imagine that we'd lose power for very long, but you never know.

As I write this I'm listening to the Amateur Radio Emergency Services net where we're discussing preparations and callup procedures if we have to go out and provide emergency communications somewhere.  We're expecting 25,000 or 30,000 temporary evacuees to start arriving from the coast sometime tomorrow or Friday.  It will be an interesting test of our emergency prepardness.

I'll be out cleaning up the yard tomorrow and making room in the garage for the picnic tables, chairs, and other things that the wind can pick up and toss around.  I'd hate for a picnic table to dent that pretty new garage door I installed six months ago.  I'm charging batteries, checking the flashlights, filling the water bottles, and generally getting prepared to spend all day Saturday inside listening to the wind and the rain.  It's going to be an interesting weekend.