Watching Rita... from Katy
This really is an astounding turn of events. Just over three weeks ago, I was worrying about friends and family sitting in the path of Katrina. This evening, I'm watching another storm track toward me, here in Katy.
Current models seem to indicate that the center of Hurricane Rita will pass to the southwest of us, putting the Houston area on the dreaded northeast side. A track further east may possibly put us right in the eye.
The good news (and this is very good news!) is that in Katy, we're not sitting below sea-level, surrounded on all sides by water. The bad news is.... well... I don't know what to expect yet. This is from the latest bulletin from my email weather update:
Voluntary evacuations are also in progress this evening for low lying areas of chambers county, harris county, and the cities of houston, seabrook and baytown. Decisions concerning evacuations for other counties and communities will be made either later this evening or on Wednesday.
The SciGuy just posted a link to a site that projects damage estimates. Katy is listed in Waller County (I'm actually in Ft. Bend), and the projected wind speeds are similar to those of Galveston.
My understanding of those wind projections, btw, is that they were based on the strength of the storm earlier today. I expect these numbers will change, and not for the better. Significant strengthening is now expected, according to several sources, including MSNBC.com.
I'm relieved more than I can say that my Algerine houseguests left yesterday, headed back to New Orleans. This is about the last thing people who have gone through Katrina need.