My big project has been completed and is set to go live tomorrow.
In case you have (somehow) not heard the news, there’s a big hurricane churning in the Gulf. As of the last weather report I heard, it was headed straight for New Orleans, though the trajectory of these things can change very quickly. The tides and water temperatures in the Gulf made it impossible to predict exactly where such storms, though quite large, will make landfall. Even with all of the conjecture, this is a large hurricane and promises to bring with it tide waters rising, flooding, massive amounts of rain, a great storm surge, and heavy winds.
The evacuation of the coast is in full swing. They started contra-flow (turning around the larger interstate highways, so they all run in one direction, the same direction actually, away from the coast and the storm) today and may actually shut it down as the storm hits, because most folks have evacuated. Rumor has it that some folks spent 18 hours in their cars, even with the help of 8 lanes of traffic (plus service roads) all traveling in the same direction.
The trail of evacuees is leading into Austin as I write this. Austin has setup several shelters for folks, and we should see some folks starting to trickle into South Austin (at first) before making their way up to Cedar Park (I’m on the northerly end of town-actually north and west of downtown Austin.) I have heard that we are hosting (now) about 300 people, though that will obviously climb as the storm grows nearer and the caravan of folks from the coast makes its way inland.
The hotel pictured in the left of this image (see green awning) is the Royal Sonesta Hotel. I’m sure you’ll find that this is where most of the press is hold up (well, those who are in the ‘Quarter covering the storm anyway) though I’ve heard rumors that the majority of the ‘Quarter is vacant and boarded up on account of the storm. (None of the bars you see in this picture are open this evening as far as I know.)
For those snaking their way back from the coast and arriving in Austin, welcome. We’re prepared, with several large Red Cross shelters, plenty of restaurants, and nightlife to keep you occupied. It goes without saying really but, everybody’s pulling for you.
If there are any stranded photographers out there, the Austin bats should be at peak season and it’s not too hot in the City-we’re a pretty photographer-friendly town, enjoy your stay. Precision Camera, on 38th and Lamar provides camera rentals if you are stranded without gear and decide to take advantage of the situation (or, probably, try to keep yourself preoccupied and keep your mind off the storm until it passes.)
I will try to update more as the storm unfolds, but that’s how it looks from where I sit. We’re all wishing for the best, trying to prepare for the worst, and trying to be as neighborly as a large “impersonal” state to your west can be.
The storm is expected to make landfall sometime tomorrow. By last account, it was about 12 hours out in the Gulf.
Until next time…