Tuesday, October 30, 2012
When is the right time to evacuate?
I don't think you'll ever get a definite answer to the question “when is it proper to evacuate?" I believe if we were in the direct path of a category five hurricanes; well, over 97% of us would be on a road out of Victoria. I used the 97% figure because that's how many people evacuated from Atlantic City, New Jersey, before the arrival of Sandy.
I remember sitting around the break room talking with everyone about their upcoming hurricane plans. Some of our part-time rancher/farmers said they had to stay to take care of their livestock before, and after a storm. Others wanted to ride it out, so they could get a heads-up on returning things to normalcy as quick as possible after the storm. Our resident bay rats (fellow coworkers from Seadrift and Pt. Lavaca) used to mock us for making hotel reservations while the hurricane was still three days out.
Long time Victoria residents usually consider themselves hurricane veterans. We were the ones telling the transplanted Texans the ins and outs of hurricane preparedness. I remember back in the 80s, an engineer from Missouri, making as all laugh because he brought out a pretty impressive colored map with the precise coordinates of when, and where the hurricane(still a couple of days out) would make landfall. We all reminded him that Hurricane Alicea was supposed to hit Pt. Comfort, and the Houston weather stations were keeping us informed; that is until the storm change directions and headed for them and Galveston. Things have changed because today landfall can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy.
I can remember riding out hurricanes like Carla, Beulah, and Celia (two of them; I didn't have much choice) but if anything resembles a category four heading our way; we're heading in the opposite direction or out of range. I'll take the kidding that I received from a neighbor because we fled to Port Isabel to get away from Rita. I remember getting back in town and seeing it was just like we left it, but before I could pull into the driveway, my neighbor let me know that we didn't get a drop of rain. I told him to go back inside and eat his sardines and crackers and other perishables that he stored up for the storm.
It still gives me the shivers when a governor tells those who decide to ride out a hurricane that first responders will not come to their rescue during the storm. I can understand the seriousness of the order, but I've seen many cases where heroes helped the stubborn anyway. Then there are some people who will hunker down each and every time and would never think of evacuating.