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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Houston Dodged a Bullet - But Gas Shortage Remains

Hurricane Rita hit at the Sabine River, near the Louisiana border. A mere 100 miles separated us from total disaster and 130 mph winds.

We had high winds here on the western edge of the storm; the “clean side,” so I can only imagine how fierce it was in Port Arthur that took the hit on the “dirty side” along with western Louisiana. Rita even broke a levee in New Orleans, re-flooding parts of the city.

We dodged a bullet. We lost power for only 7 hours and that was enough “camping out” for me. Many people ran out of gas on the road and had to take shelter anywhere they could. Some slept in their cars. Confusion continues and people are streaming back into town although the Mayor has requested they “stay put” to keep the highways clear for emergency responders and clear power lines, debris, etc.

And a huge problem became evident in Rita’s wake.

Here we live in a major gas refining area -- and yet we have no gasoline in the city. It could be days before supplies come in. The lack of gas stranded thousands of people for hundreds of miles around Houston.

Clearly the State emergency plan has some serious defects, despite all the post 9 11 planning.

Nearly 3 million people evacuated. We could see the same traffic jams coming back that existed when they left the city. Residents of Port Arthur may not have anything to go back to. This isn’t over yet…

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