Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike - Friday

At it again. Over night was quiet for us in the radio room. Much business was going all night as more evacuees came in from the Houston/Galveston area. At one point last night it was announced that anyone living in a one or two story home on Galveston Island should evacuate immediately or face certain death when Ike arrives. Galveston has a 17 foot high retaining wall across part of the island. It will not stop the waters. There is a forecast storm surge of 22-23 feet at land fall. Watching several different TV news and weather channels I'm getting a lot of info on the expected storm surge at both low tide and high tide. It is expected to cover a wide area up and down the coast of Texas. The highest will be from the eye and to the right of the eye over into Louisiana.

Radio-wise, our local traffic is still quiet, but the Texas Emergency Net on the amateur frequencies is becoming busy. It was declared as an emergency net earlier this morning. That means other Hams should stay away from casual contacts and keep the frequency open. We've checked in with the net and are listening.

As Ike draws near to the coast, some forms of business speed up, like getting those last few people out and into shelters, and other things slow down. One rule is to keep people from harm. That applies to emergency responders and support personnel as well as citizens. "Hunker-down," is the word. Several hours before Ike hits, weather and water conditions get bad enough for everyone to hunker-down and just wait. That time is spreading from the coasts around Houston/Galveston now. The only exception seems to be TV crews who will stand in 100mph winds to show views how bad it is.

We have visitors wander in from time-to-time. Some are other EOC folks who just want to see what we do and what we have in equipment. We also have official visitors from outside. Big political and business people who have influence to resources and funding for the EOC.. We put on a good face and provide explanations of who/what/how we do our job. We try to speak plain English and watch carefully for the "glazed-eye" look. When we see that we revert to grade school English because we've overloaded capacities of our visitors.

We remain in a "wait for it" condition. Shelters are filling up, services to them are being rendered. More later as things develop.

Update at Noon: On the local news it was announced that there are up to 1,000 more busses headed for San Antonio. If you figure 30 persons @ bus... whooo, thats a lot of people we will be hosting. Some of them may have to go elsewhere. We have just over 350 pets sheltered - PETA would be proud. OK, more later, maybe.

C U later. .-.-.

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