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So, after Rita passes on through, what do you think the impacts will be in the Houston area--e.g, what changes may get more attention than others. Here's some of my "predictions"; some of which are based on some comments by Judge Eckels last night:

1. Housing prices may go up somewhat--this is due to possibly increases in building codes. When I interviewed for a job in Florida this year, someone mentioned that while they work on evacuation policies in the Miami area, their major focus has been increasing the strength of the housing stock, due to the sheer number of people who would have to evacuate EVERY time a storm threatens. As we see here--too many people evacuated, partially because some of them may not know what kinds of winds they can handle (plus the idea of 90 degree heat and no A/C).

2. Increased focus on statewide high speed rail projects. Judge Eckels mentioned that this mode could be another way to move people out of town quickly. In other words, I hope that this gets more traction behind and less resistance in front of getting long-distance and high speed rail done.

3. Improvements to US 290 in Giddings and Elgin--this was a big reason why US 290 never became contraflow. The logistics of that wasn't very good once traffic hit those towns--plus Austin seems to be the seat of assistance, which leads to another suggestion--

4. State-designated gas stations along the evac routes--private gas stations that meet certain state requirements to (e.g. enlarged capacity, etc.) that would continue to be filled by--

5. Dozens of the 5,000 gallon gasoline trucks stationed in safe, wind-resistant, high ground warehouses on the north, northwest, south, southwest, and eastern sides of the Houston periphery.

6. Constructed shelters that are wind resistant along the evac routes with capacity for maybe 1000 people, space them every 25 miles. These helters can be other things during the year--e.g. community centers, gyms, and similar uses.

7. Believe it or not, the Trans-Texas Corridor will have a lot of answers for future evacuation routes--high speed rail routes, Oases every 10 miles or so, and several lanes of traffic with few interchanges. One reason the contrflow took so long is that over hundred miles of exits had to be closed/blocked and the long segment of road had to be cleared of its normal flow of traffic.

Anybody else have any "outlooks"?

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7. Believe it or not, the Trans-Texas Corridor will have a lot of answers for future evacuation routes--high speed rail routes, Oases every 10 miles or so, and several lanes of traffic with few interchanges. One reason the contrflow took so long is that over hundred miles of exits had to be closed/blocked and the long segment of road had to be cleared of its normal flow of traffic.

I agree, and I think some people may begin to re-examine their staunch defense for building the Grand Parkway. If anything, yesterday just proved once more that "we need more spokes, not rims".

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Somewhere on some other city's message board people are drooling over the possibility of maybe gaining population and businesses from Houston

Not gonna happen. Maybe for New Oreans, but not here, Houston and it's economy are just too big. Besides, Florida is always threatned with hurricanes, yet it's one of the fastest growing states.

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I believe the city should have designated "shelters of last resort" in and around town. Also the city needs to have its own strategic reserve of fuel - as someone previously mentioned prepositioned along the outer edges of the city - just in case something like this happens again (and it will).

The state obviously needs to build a coastal road that runs the entire length of the coast - to help move people from the coast atleast further away from danger. Dont make the mistake of Mississippi and Alabama - and build it well enough and 5-10 miles inland on high ground - perhaps the road can double as a storm surge break.

Shelters for large numbers of people in and around the states coastal cities - ie Brownsville, Corpus, Victoria, Freeport area, Houston, Galveston, Beaumont, and Port Aurther. These shelters should be high enough off the ground and have supplies for medical treatment, and food provisions (for Homeland Security and storms).

Houston needs to construct a few diversionary canals for Buffalo, Braes, Sims, White Oak ect.... that can carry water OUT once the storms move away. Perhaps they would also let water in - but build them so they move water out during high floods - ie. build them 20ft down - but not the normal level of the water.

Storm gates - to protect some lower lying neighborhoods. This is going to have to be done regardless - in the next 20 years.

Sunken freeways - sink all of the freeways so they act as temporary canals to hold water - better to have it in the freeways than the neighborhoods. Porus roads - with drainage underneath, roads would soak up the alot of the water that would otherwise cause local flooding.

Hurricane Straps - made manditory in new construction or no Federal Hurricane insurace - stronger built homes - perhaps even more metal braced structures.

Galveston might build flood walls - much like the tsunami walls built along many coastal cities in Japan - to protect the city proper. Construction of a seawall along Galveston Island further out.

Rail service to Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio - its got to happen, and it will.

More wetlands south of Houston, to obsorb water from surges and also local floods - more resevoirs ie Bear Creek, around the edge of the city. More local resevoirs in planned communities, and more porus ashpalt/concrete parking lots much like the streets I mentioned earlier.

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Considering we are at risk for hurricanes, and that so many people are without power now, do you think there's a chance we can get all those above ground powerlines buried underground? It seems people are always loosing power during every bad storm, so it seems like it would make sense to bury all the powerlines, but of course I don't enough about it or how much it costs.

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Considering we are at risk for hurricanes, and that so many people are without power now, do you think there's a chance we can get all those above ground powerlines buried underground? It seems people are always loosing power during every bad storm, so it seems like it would make sense to bury all the powerlines, but of course I don't enough about it or how much it costs.

we were wondering that last night-

" Overhead facility damage is easier to locate than underground and can generally be repaired quicker.

Underground interruptions may be less frequent, but typically last longer due to more complex repair requirements.

Following recent hurricanes, we

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Only lasting effect i see is that people probably won't leave so fast next time, and the storm WILL hit. So, many people scared by the media, and what they saw happen in New Orleans. Katrina's storm, didn't cause the flooding, the levy breaking did, and local government's inept response, caused the melee to ensue. I think all the news conferences were a great media opportunity for our Mayor. Trying to show that "we are prepared" should have been pretty easy when you have New Orleans as a litmus test of "what NOT to do !" in a crisis. But, it just goes to show that you can't rely on human responses, given a life or death situation. A little protocal was mishandled in the way of how our city's evacuation plan was to go. It was supposed to go in stages. Galveston, LaMarque, Texas City, Tiki Island, all zone A, then zone B, Nasa, Webster, Alvin, South Houston. Zone C, etc. etc. The local media took the ball and ran with it, and being the smart guys they are decided to post ALL the zones at the same time. "Next thing you know, ol'Jed's a millionaire", and you have the absolute worst evacuation effort in the history of man. Sorry for this being so long. ^_^

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There are two major lasting effects for me:

1) I'll remember that the only bar in town that you can count on to stay open during every night of an evacuation is The Volcano, which makes Pete a local hero in my book. There was a really fun crowd there both Thursday and Friday, and Pete was manning the entire place alone on Friday. Quite the Herculean feat.

2) I believe Mayor White (whom I think is doing a great job, but who isn't the most eloquent orator of all time) needs to add a "The following bars and restaurants are open..." section to the emergency press conference they hold every few hours for those of us who haven't left the city but are going stir crazy. The word of mouth network among our acquaintances began to resemble something from a post-apocalyptic movie, with everyone calling one another to exchange information about potential sightings of a Schlotzky's open in West U or drinks being served at McElroy's. If it kept up much longer we were going to put on metal hockey masks, drive up to the Schlotzky's, point a spiked club at the front door and demand their food like the guy in Mad Max did.

WHO RUN BAYOUTOWN?

=D

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Two bars were open downtoen Friday night - Warrens and La Carafe. We sat on the patio at La Carafe until 2:00am. I got interviewed from a San Anotonio reporter because she noticed all of downtown was dead and saw us and a few others drinkining, she thought it was a good story. I told her the media needed to settle down a bit because I was sick of seeing reports about trafic all day (nothing had changed so why keep repeating yourself all day). They had 24 hour coverage since Wednesday.

I talked with the owner of Warrens when the storm was a cat5 and she said she was going to keep the place open no matter what. It's a safe building and she woudn't have anything to worry about other than flooding.

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Two bars were open downtoen Friday night - Warrens and La Carafe. We sat on the patio at La Carafe until 2:00am. I got interviewed from a San Anotonio reporter because she noticed all of downtown was dead and saw us and a few others drinkining, she thought it was a good story. I told her the media needed to settle down a bit because I was sick of seeing reports about trafic all day (nothing had changed so why keep repeating yourself all day). They had 24 hour coverage since Wednesday.

I talked with the owner of Warrens when the storm was a cat5 and she said she was going to keep the place open no matter what. It's a safe building and she woudn't have anything to worry about other than flooding.

Dammit, I thought La Carafe would be open - that's one of our annual Christmas Eve hangouts. We even got close to downtown to check it out, but some genius in the group vetoed it. Thanks for the tip! You're right about the media too. I can't prove anything, but I'm pretty sure that Jeremy Desel (and every other reporter) was kicking over trash cans and sticking "missiles" in the shrubbery between reports just to have something to talk about. At one point the lady on CNN broke in to report that she had rescued a flag that had blown down and landed on the ground. While it's a nice gesture to the stars and stripes, I'm not really sure it qualifies as news.
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1. Food banks should be overflowing with canned items in the next few weeks.

2. Grocery stores should have record profits after nothing will have to be rebuilt due to storm damage.

3. Maybe more lanes are not the answer. Maybe learning how to read and use a map is.

4. Generators are now becoming common place. Lets find a way to make them quieter.

5. During your 15 minutes of fame interview, try not to make your legacy 15 minutes of looking like a dumbassmoron.

6. Pissoff Southwest Airlines, we want our Texas TGV!!!!

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you know, I see a lot of people complaining about the debacle that the evacuation became--bu what can you do? The problem with the evacuation was that TOO MANY people evacuated, which is better than not enough evacuating, but I digress. We had people who were not in the most crucial zones evacuating--simply because they were afraid of what they storm may hold for even western metro counties. I mean, 36 hours before the storm it, they were still calling for winds over 100 mph all the way to College Station and Huntsville.

That "cone of uncertainty" or "cone of opportunity" (depending on the tv station) showed me that we did the best we could here, given the circumstances. I go back to the point that I heard Judge Eckels mention days ago--we are going to have to look at re-doing the building codes here. There's just too many people. About a third of the people in the Houston area evacuated, and that can't happen in 30 years when we have 3.5 million new neighbors. I can't imagine telling 3 million people that they have to evacuate, only to see 5 million do it because they are uncertain about their homes' strength.

Another word about "why aren't they using contra-flow to get people back in" that I hear the newsfolk pining about...Say they use it--what are you going to use as the switching point? There will still be a massive traffic jam somewhere. For example, 290. Everyone comes into town on 290, but where do you switch it back to 2-way? What about those who would exit at the Belt and 290's end at the Loop. It's not as easy as people think it is and I think that our elected officials here should be give more credit than grief.

Whew. I think the rant is over now! lol.

Saigon--reading a map is a great point. I helped my mother-in-law get to SA by telling her directions over the phone using back roads. Several times, she was the ONLY car on the road--on Thursday--the busiest evacuation day. Folks, Texas has the largest state maintained highway network in te country. Let's use it.

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I don't think the County or City will do it in these less regulation times, but I would love to see builders required or strongly encouraged to build safe rooms in new construction, especially in the northern and western suburbs that are far enough from the coast not to evacuate.

I have been planning an "above ground bunker" to replace my termite's nest of a garage for over a year. It will be concrete block, with a second floor gameroom, with either storm shutters or plexiglass windows, and be strong enough for hurricane winds. The more people who can shelter at home safely, the more room for coastal residents to get out.

If we're looking at 10 to 20 more years of increased storms, then we need to look at the Miami-Dade way of preparing for these things.

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>>>I have been planning an "above ground bunker" to replace my termite's nest of a garage for over a year. It will be concrete block, with a second floor gameroom, with either storm shutters or plexiglass windows, and be strong enough for hurricane winds.

Dig the foundation about 6 feet below the ground and then drill about 10 piers below that. Pour yourself a concrete wall about 1 1/2 to 2 foot thick from underground to about 4 feet above ground. When you lay the cinderblock on top of that set rebar every fourth hole and fill up with concrete. Odds are its will be there no matter what hits it. (and a enclosed ventalated generator room on the second floor would also be a nice touch.

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>>>I have been planning an "above ground bunker" to replace my termite's nest of a garage for over a year. It will be concrete block, with a second floor gameroom, with either storm shutters or plexiglass windows, and be strong enough for hurricane winds.

Dig the foundation about 6 feet below the ground and then drill about 10 piers below that. Pour yourself a concrete wall about 1 1/2 to 2 foot thick from underground to about 4 feet above ground. When you lay the cinderblock on top of that set rebar every fourth hole and fill up with concrete. Odds are its will be there no matter what hits it. (and a enclosed ventalated generator room on the second floor would also be a nice touch.

Damn right on the generator room! :P

Probably will put a cistern in the garage somewhere, too. Maybe, I'll put in steel doors with the little square rifle holes, like on the Brinks trucks. :lol:

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>> Maybe, I'll put in steel doors with the little square rifle holes, like on the Brinks trucks. :lol:

To protect the generator huh?

I guess the a generator is going to replace the Plasma TV as the newest Bling item in Houston.

An Ace Hardware near FM1960 had 40 generators arrive on Thursday evening all presold.

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Two thoughts:

1. I don't see why everyone is crying about the evacuation plan. Evacuation plans call for getting people to safety, that's it. If I'm not mistaken, the roads were empty a full 18 hrs before the storm hit. Three cheers go to our leaders (both local and state) for getting 3 million people out of the city by Friday morning. Feds can kiss my butt on this one, Bush hanging around Austin was a blatant publicity stunt and will only serve to show that Bush cares about Texas, we all knew that already.

2. Perry will no doubt use the awesome approval he got out of this to push the trans-corridor. Sigh.

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>> Maybe, I'll put in steel doors with the little square rifle holes, like on the Brinks trucks. :lol:

To protect the generator huh?

I guess the a generator is going to replace the Plasma TV as the newest Bling item in Houston.

An Ace Hardware near FM1960 had 40 generators arrive on Thursday evening all presold.

Absolutely! The scariest thing about a generator is that everyone can hear it. When it's 90 degrees and 90% humidity, who you gonna loot...the Nike store, or the guy with a genset and an air conditioner? :lol:

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Good point, Jason. After all the times I have told people that the humidity keeps the temperature down, I forgot my own advice on that post. At 90 degrees, it will usually be in the 40 to 60% humidity range. At 90% humidity, it rarely will rise above 80 degrees.

But, the point I was making, that it is hot as hell after a storm leaves, remains valid. ;)

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Good point, Jason. After all the times I have told people that the humidity keeps the temperature down, I forgot my own advice on that post. At 90 degrees, it will usually be in the 40 to 60% humidity range. At 90% humidity, it rarely will rise above 80 degrees.

But, the point I was making, that it is hot as hell after a storm leaves, remains valid. ;)

It sounds like you have a great grasp of the interaction of humidity and temperature!

I agree about the "hot as hell" comment. Both Houston and Dallas are on target for the warmest (hottest!) September ever. Heck, several normally moderate cities hit 108 yesterday. I can't imagine going without A/C during any of this.

Jason

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At least we're supposed to be getting a cold front in a couple of days, and temps should drop about 10 degrees. Even at 9:00 this morning when I was walking the two blocks from the Bell MetroRail stop to my client I sweated up a storm. This evening the five minute wait for the next train was almost unbearable in direct sunlight.

I can't imagine the misery the thousands of people just to our east who have no air conditioning are going through.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hurricane Rita turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me. At the time it hit, I was unemployed and behind on my rent. I evacuated with relatives. Last week, FEMA deposited $2000 into my checking account. Yesterday they deposited $2010.70 for the damage to my residence (I live in a travel trailer in a Recreational Vehicle park). Now, not only am I caught up on my rent, I'm actually ahead!

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  • 1 year later...

New Orleans is a city on a knife's edge.

A year and a half after Hurricane Katrina, an alarming number of residents are leaving or seriously thinking of getting out for good.

They have become fed up with the violence, the bureaucracy, the political finger-pointing, the sluggish rebuilding and the doubts about the safety of the levees.

"The mayor says, 'Come back home. Every area should come back.' For what?" said Genevieve Bellow, who rebuilt her home in heavily damaged eastern New Orleans but has been unable to get anything done about the trash and abandoned apartment buildings in her neighborhood and may leave town. "I have no confidence in anything or anybody."

A survey released in November found that 32 percent of city residents polled may leave within two years. University of New Orleans political scientist Susan Howell, who did the survey, said more will give up if the recovery does not pick up speed.

In fact, figures from the nation's top three movers suggest more people left the area last year than came to stay.

"People are in a state of limbo. They're asking, 'Is it worth it for me to stay? Is it worth it to invest?' If you don't feel safe, from crime or the levees, and you see destruction every day when you drive, it becomes discouraging," Howell said.

Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Blanco have urged residents to return under rebuilding plans with names like Bring New Orleans Back and Road Home. The mayor has warned the recovery will take a decade and urges patience.

But New Orleans' population appears to have plateaued at about half the pre-storm level of 455,000, well short of Nagin's prediction of 300,000 by the end of 2006. And in many ways, it is a meaner city than it was before the hurricane.

New Orleans ended 2006 with 161 homicides, for a murder rate higher than it was before Katrina and more than 4 1/2 times the national average for cities its size. After starting 2007 with practically one killing a day, the city has at least 19 slayings so far this year.

Nagin and Police Chief Warren Riley announced a plan last month to crack down on crime with checkpoints and the putting of more police on the beat.

For Jennifer Johansen, it is too little, too late. Johansen's neat yellow house in New Orleans Irish Channel is for sale, and the nurse, who returned to the city after Katrina, hopes to be in Seattle before spring.

Gunfire she heard until about a month ago made her uneasy about watching TV in her living room, and she yearns to live in a vibrant, safe city.

"I kept thinking, things would get better. But it just took too long for a response from the city, the mayor, the police chief, to address the increased crime," she said.

http://chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4539118.html

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  • 1 month later...

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