I had a physical therapy appointment yesterday, and while I was in the waiting room there was a soap opera on the TV. The older lady sitting across from me was watching the show as I read a magazine. The show was interrupted by a special report, and I stopped reading when I realized that they were announcing the voluntary evacuation plan for Galveston, which starts today. It seems that Hurricane Rita is heading our way.
The lady across from me looked at me with a look of true fear in her eyes as she asked me how far away we were from Galveston.
It was at that moment that I realized she must be one of the survivors of Katrina, waiting out the time before she can return home to New Orleans. Now another hurricane might be in her near future.
I told her that Galveston is about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes south on I-45 from where we were at, and that normally when a hurricane comes the northwest side of town just gets a lot of wind and rain.
She looked so sad.
I’m glad in a way that I was called back to the therapy session at that moment, because it dawned on me that while I have lived in Houston for most of 20 years now, I have only been here for one or two weak hurricanes. Every coastal town has a “big storm” that they measure things by – we have the hurricane that all but wiped out Galveston in 1900 (the church Mike & I were married in was a storm survivor), and then, most recently, there was Alicia. In 1983. Two years before I moved to Houston. By the time we moved here, people were still talking about that storm; not just the hurricane, but the tornados and flooding that it caused.
The more I think about it, the more nervous I get. So far, most of the models show it hitting just below Galveston on the coast, putting us on the “dirty side” (with all the water) of the storm. I’ve said for a year now that we are way past due for a big storm, and I’m afraid that our turn has finally come. It is going to be a long week…
(Charles has some great storm coverage, in case you want more details. And kudos to Galveston for having a system in place to allow people to register for bus transportation to get off the island, and for getting the ball rolling so early.)