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Betsy Ross Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:53 PM
Original message
Evacuating from Houston Story
This is an message posted by a friend on a newsgroup, a personal account of evacuating.


The kids and I made it back home to Houston about midnight last night.
We are all just really, really tired and still a little on the sickly
side. But we are alive and we are safe and we are grateful.

As Gen posted, it was a miserable evacuation. We left Houston at 3:30
a.m. Thursday morning. We made it into Schulenberg, TX at 4:30 a.m.
Friday morning on gas fumes (this is normally a 2 1/2 hour drive).
There was no gas to be had. My husband had called ahead and reserved
the LAST motel room in town for us and we finally met back up with my
mother and grandmother there. I slept on the floor for 2 1/2 hours.
We watched the gas station across the road and waited on the tanker
trucks that had been promised to show up the next morning. They
finally showed up but wouldn't let anyone in to the gas station until
the state troopers arrived to control traffic. My daughter and I went
and got in the van and got in line. We were the 11th in line at that
station. We only had to wait in line for about 45 minutes. My mother
had waited in a gas line the night before for 2 1/2 hours to get gas.

We left Shculenberg, Tx about 7 p.m. on Friday night and made it to our
house in Lakehills, TX about 10:30 p.m. Friday night.

We were exhausted and sick. We lost the guinea pig and a cat and
almost lost the other one, my mother almost lost one of hers. She
ended up putting him in the bathtub with water and just soaking him to
bring his body temperature down. Her dog now has kennel cough.

Things are fine here at home. The streets are littered with trees and
debris. We lost a lot of branches and tree limbs, but that's about it.
We lost the roof on the house out at the farm and there is a tree on
the barn. But since no one is currently living there, it is relatively
a minor inconvenience.

The kids and I went to a shelter in San Antonio on Saturday where they
had a medical clinic. I was so scared and so worried for my daughter.
She kept throwing up, our headaches wouldn't go away, the whole inside
of here mouth was covered in fever blisters, our lips were chapped
beyond any comfortable level. They said we had carbon monoxide
poisoning from sitting in the non-moving traffic in the heat and severe
dehydration. Since Saturday, we have gone through 13 - 64 oz. jugs of
Gatorade as well as Pedialite. The temperature inside our van was over
120 degrees. They told us that most peoples body temperatures, inside
their vehicles, trapped in that traffic, were over 108 degrees.

We watched people die on that highway and I will never, never forgive
the mayor of our city for repeatedly telling people to keep evacuating,
even late in the day on Friday, when there were people already trapped
and dying on that interstate. I can't tell you how many dead dogs,
cats, and birds we saw. People laying on the grass and even on the
highway along the sides of the road. It was a nightmare I won't soon
forget (nor will my children) and one I hope we never experience again.

That is sadly the irony of what happened here in Houston. The next
time we do get a big hurricane warning, it could be a category 5 and
people will be so terrified to get trapped on the highways again - that
they won't leave. I know I won't do it again. I'd rather die in my
house with a tree crushing me than to die slowly of carbon monoxide
poisoning, dehydration and heat stroke the way so many people died out
there. And to top it off, they are saying in the local news, that it
wasn't that bad - so far, 53 people confirmed dead from the evacuation
(not the hurricane) and they say that out of a city of over 2.8 million
people - "those are relatively small numbers.." SMALL NUMBERS? That
isn't the final death toll and that is only within Harris County alone!
It is absolutely ludicrous!

Anyway, enough of my whining and complaining. In "relative" terms, we
were lucky, we survived. I thank God for my daughter because without
her, we wouldn't have made it. We were so sick, our heads hurt so bad
and we were so tired that had she not taken turns with me - her driving
for an hour, then me driving for an hour - we would never have made it.
At 3:00 a.m. on Friday - I wanted so desperately to pull over to the
shoulder of the road, get out and just lay down on the grass like so
many of those other people did - I didn't think I could go on any
further. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have and couldn't have.

Thank you all for your moral support and a special thanks to Gen for
being my human contact to the outside world once we made it up into the
hill country. Gen, you will be forever in my heart as a true soul
friend! God bless you for your words of kindness and encouragement.

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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. Recommended
Many thanks for posting this account here.
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XNASA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. I read an email sent to my wife about a family who evac'ed into the path..
..of Rita.

They were from Clear Lake, which is low-lying, and thought they should get out. So they went to a cabin they have 20 miles north of Beaumont, where they held on for their lives for 8 hours.

They said they wouldn't evac ever again unless they were 100% certain they'd be hit.

Guess it beats evacing into the path of a hurricane.
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MalibuChloe Donating Member (431 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. 53 dead just from the evacuation????
oh my god. this entire country is turning into a clusterfuck.
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theboz Donating Member (72 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. It's not that suprising though
The temperature was well over 100 degrees, the humidity made it much worse, and there was all the smoke and pollution. Considering that nearly half of the people listed died in one accident where a bus caught on fire, I do think that the only suprise is that less people didn't die. I was out driving that day and stuck in traffic too. It was really hard, and we thought our dog was not going to make it. Fortunately I have a GPS and don't care about the law in cases like that, so I found a way to get us to some farm roads to move at least a little bit. Still, it took us about 7 hours to get maybe 15 to 20 miles from our apartment.

The heat wasn't the worst part or when I felt the most in danger. It was bad, but nothing like trying to buy gasoline.
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bostonbabs Donating Member (465 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:13 PM
Response to Original message
4. this is a story I have not heard
thank you for posting it. I am so tired of my tax money being spent on corporate give aways, corrupt politicians, an insane war and the dismantling of our once good infrastructure (FEMA) and to read this womans experience....good lord....we have a lot of work to do to rebuild our makes my blood boil.
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theboz Donating Member (72 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. The government was nowhere to be found
Only really late on Thursday did I see a few police, but the federal government was nowhere to be found, and still hasn't done much for anyone. Nothing has changed since "getting rid of" Michael Brown other than the media not really telling the story because it's not one that you can show a lot of photos of.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks for catching us up..
I'm glad to hear that you've made it back safe and sound. My heart goes out to all those poor people who got stuck..

It is criminal what's been done to the people in this country.
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i miss america Donating Member (822 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 03:23 PM
Response to Original message
8. Wow! What a nightmare it must have been. It seems as though
the quality of emergency management services in this country can best be described as being criminally negligent. :wtf:
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