It's all over the news. People evacuating Houston only to get stuck and/or stranded on the highways. It's deja vu for Charleston residents, who experienced the same thing during the evacuation for Hurricane Floyd. I was lucky enough not to get caught in it, since we left early. I was heading out to Atlanta anyway to take the ABR board exams, so we just left a little earlier than planned. A friend of mine who was supposed to take the same exam left a little later and got stuck in the gridlock. 8 hours to drive what normally takes 2 hours.
After Floyd turned into a non-event for Charleston, there was heck to pay.
The Houston problem is a probably as bad or worse than what happened here. I imagine there will be much accounting and many people being taken to task once everything is over. Well, at least people seem to be taking the potential threat seriously and evacuating. Hopefully my friend Joe is making out ok. Last I heard via another friend was it took him 8 hours to go 60 km. It almost would have been faster to walk that distance.
With Rita back down to a Cat 3 storm, I expect that it will be less catastrophic than most people were anticipating back when it was a monster Cat 5 with 175 mph winds. Fortunately the NHC forecast doesn't have Rita getting much stronger as it heads towards the coast.
From the 5 AM discussion:
TRACK GUIDANCE IS NOW CLUSTERED ABOUT A LANDFALL ON THE UPPER TEXAS COAST IN ROUGHLY 30 HR...WITH THE MODEL TRACK BEING SPREAD BETWEEN SAN LUIS PASS AND SABINE PASS. THE FORECAST TRACK UP TO LANDFALL IS ESSENTIALLY AN UPDATE OF THE PREVIOUS PACKAGE. AFTER LANDFALL...THE GUIDANCE BECOME VERY DIVERGENT AS HIGH PRESSURE BUILD TO THE WEST AND POSSIBLY NORTH OF RITA. GIVEN THE SPREAD...THE FORECAST TRACK WILL CALL FOR LITTLE MOTION AFTER 72 HR JUST AS THE PREVIOUS FORECAST DID. THIS STALLING WILL POSE A SERIOUS RISK OF VERY HEAVY RAINFALL WELL INLAND.