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Friday, September 23, 2005

Houston Is Gridlocked

Attention FEMA, the evacuation is chaos...
After crawling only 10 or 20 miles in nine hours, some drivers turned around to take their chances at home rather than risk being caught in the open when the hurricane strikes. Starting Wednesday night and throughout Thursday, the major evacuation routes — Interstate 45 north to Dallas, I-10 West to San Antonio and Route 290 to College Station and Austin and 59 to Lufkin — grew into 100-mile-long parking lots. Drivers heeding the call to evacuate Galveston island and other low-lying areas took four and five hours to cover the 50 miles to Houston. And there the long crawl north began in earnest.

[...]

Eckels put it more succinctly: "The time for leaving your home has passed." The officials also said they recognized a serious situation had arisen in the evacuation, with many people stranded on traffic-choked highways, without gas and without water. The state had promised to send gas trucks to relieve the problem, White said, but he could not say how long it would be before those trucks arrived. In the meantime, he said, the city intended to send out vans and buses filled with water to take to the stranded people, and to evacuate some on the buses, as needed. To that end, Eckels put out a call for volunteers to help load these vans and buses with water, and said that their help was needed immediately.

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