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Location:near Houston, Gulf Coast, United States

Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Take Your Best Guess

The worst part about hurricanes is not knowing where they’ll hit, and Rita is no exception. Decisions can only be made on a “best guess” basis, knowing things can change right up til landfall.

For those who have written, asking what I’m going to do: I’m staying. I say that, knowing we’re on high ground, and roughly 50 miles inland. I am nervous about our choice on this one, though, because of the northerly turn the storm is expected to take after Rita hits land.

The Kinetic Analysis Corporation and University of Central Florida (KAC/UCF) has been updating the projected damage estimates based on a complex-beyond-comprehension algorithm that includes flooding and wind predictions. Every time the landfall coordinates change, all these projections change accordingly.

To understand my quandary, here’s the data from the projection site that I'm looking at:

An hour ago, Fulshear was estimated at 98 mph. Similarly, my dad’s house in Houston is currently projected to see 70 mph. An hour ago, it said 77. So - it's clearly hard to know.

To put this into perspective, the Houston Chronicle ran an article yesterday that included this paragraph:

"Wes Johnson, spokesman for Houston's Public Works and Engineering Department, said most Houston homes were constructed to withstand 90 mph wind speeds prior to 2000, which is when the city required new homes to meet a 110 mph standard."

Just at the moment, we’re well within these ranges. If things change, though, I’ll be relying on the evacuation information, like everybody else...which can be found here (again courtesy of the Houston Chronicle).

More later…