Hurricanes are a Gamble for all; Whether you Stay or Go

Steering winds by USA Today 1999

“Steering currents are defined as the vertically averaged (and pressure weighted) wind that pushes a tropical cyclone (tropical depression, tropical storm or hurricane) along. It is very difficult if not impossible to determine the exact contributions a specific layer of winds has for that motion, but we can estimate “steering” IF we know what the winds are surrounding a tropical cyclone at some levels in the atmosphere.”–“What Altitude the Steering Winds that Steer Hurricanes are at.” USA Today 2003.

As in the Hurricane Rita experience, it turns out that my folks would have been better off at home with Ike.

Hurricane Rita turned easterly; so did Hurricane Ike.

“Eviction victim: “On the first day they came, they spoke to us of progress… – they measured our lands
and we said nothing …

On the second day they came, they invaded our houses… they expelled our children
and we said nothing …

On the third day the water covered everything and because we said nothing we will never be able to do anything

Are we going to let this happen again?” — “Forced Evictions and Human Rights”

The Republicans have diaper rash over those who stayed back [See Bush, Chertoff chafe over ignored evacuation orders]. It is a human rights violation to evict a person from their home. It is not a democracy that supports this; it is international law. So the political game play for Hurricane Ike makes sense with the history of this Republican administration.

Hurricane experts admit that they cannot predict a hurricane’s path. They can only predict the possibilities. Historical data for the Galveston Bay area have been easterly turn aways from the watersheds. Point blank did anyone ever consider that?

Do you know how much it cost my parents to evacuate? It is in the thousands of dollars. I wouldn’t have had that much money. I don’t hear anyone hollering out to evacuees we will pay your hotel bills. We will guarantee you a safe and clean place to stay. We will guarantee your safety in our buses.

People stayed back because they could not afford the grandiose trek to a part of town that is known for receiving the brunt of past hurricanes. They found the transportation and shelter service of Houston, Texas all too risky; riskier than Ike.

A great percentage of the Galveston Bay area stayed put and won. Maybe that is why they tuned out the authorities who have only shown that they give greed the first dibs on everything, even power (note the oil refineries will be served first, and all the areas around the refineries will benefit first in Houston).

The probabilities that Ike would strike Galveston full force were extremely high. It is difficult for the outsider to understand those who stayed behind except in terms of no money or downright Gerald O’Hara Syndrome. The Hurricane Ike casualties pretty much have a zero factor right now. We know of near misses; yet those people found ground. Its obvious by the pictures of the destructions of some homes in Galveston that some people were saved by evacuating in Galveston. Time will tell the story. High probability info is good.

There is more flooding where my folks have relocated now; their highway to go home is flooded and they don’t have cell phone service due to lack of power. Cell phone batteries are a luxury. Undoubtedly they would have been far more comfortable and safe in their own home especially if they kept the nightly news turned off and listened to their instincts.

My brother stayed back and he relied solely on an instinct that he has fine honed for over 56 years of living in Houston, Texas. Sure, I told him to obey the mandatory evacuation order because I deferred to the National Weather Service and his own local newspaper as credible sources. They had convincing and horrific warnings; I did not want to lose my brother. Perhaps next time, as my sister and mom did, I should give him the credibility that he has earned.

My dad put up a huge fight to stay home. He dug in his heels and he was infuriated the entire trip. “They are crazy” he said. Hey, 80 years in Houston, Texas should be good for something. He turned out to be right to want to stay home. It must have been incredibly stressful for him to have his rights taken away. Well, my mom and sister are his caretakers and they were doing what they thought they had to do legally. They did not want to be seen as negligent; nor did I.


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