Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Storm Approaches...Run, or Stay?

I was on a roll, making measurable progress on my projects, and looking forward to a productive week when I got word [Monday] that the storm was intenesifying and beginning to head our way. By Tuesday, classes were cancelled and everything shifted to hurricane preparation mode. Today, I tried to get some work in, but the buildings (my offices at Buffalo Speedway and at 800 Bell) were buzzing with discussions about the storm. I went back to my U Place apartment about 5pm for a nap before beginning the long drive home. The 5 mile drive took me about 30 minutes, at 4pm, with all delays I encountered being caused by gas lines. After my nap, I packed my vehicle, checked the internet news, and started my trip home. I chose not to try getting on 59, driving south on Kirby instead, then cutting across to 288 before getting to the 610 S. Loop. I was pleasantly surprised! Both directions of 288 looked like 5pm traffic conditions, but nothing more. So, I got on and headed south. surprise was short-lived as I approached 610. When I passed over, and could see cars stacked up in both directions, barely moving, I realized the evacuation of the city was now a major event. Still, my decision to drive due south before turning west still seemed a good one. While the cars were stacked up on the north-bound side, the further I drove, the fewer cars there were heading my way. My only concern was whether or not I would be stopped in my progress somewhere along the way. When I passed the beltway, I almost pulled over to take a picture. I remember when that part of the beltway opened, there was a big "street dance". People were parked all along the beltway, in both directions, to party and celebrate. What I saw tonight is the only other time I've seen so many cars "parked" on the beltway in both directions. This time, however, it was certainly no joyful event! I just kept driving. By the time I reached Hwy 6, even 288 North was at a stand-still. I could see one car in my rear-view mirror, and one car in front of me, but no others on my side of the road. I called my sis to give her a "traffic report" knowing she was hoping to begin her run sometime in the middle of the night. I just had absolutely no advice for her about when or how to get out. CONTINUED IN ANOTHER POST...

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