CHASING RITA

timmarshall

TARGET: FREEPORT-LAKE JACKSON TIME OF DEPARTURE: 7 AM FRIDAY Hurricane Rita is scheduled to make landfall somewhere between Matagorda Bay and Freeport early Saturday morning. I am concerned about the mass of dry air over Texas (as observed on WV satellite) that will invade and kill off the winds, hopefully no lower than CAT 3. However, like Katrina, the storm surge should still be going strong, perhaps CAT 5 (>18 feet). I hope to have time to check out potential shelters around Brazoria County. If the hurricane strikes at night - 8 pm to 4 am, I will abort and spend the night at a friends house in Sugarland, TX (SW Houston). Anyone else chasing this monster?
 

timmarshall

What to bring chasing

You must be totally self sufficient when
chasing a hurricane. Getting gas is usually a problem. So, I have a truck box
anchored to the bed of my pick-up truck filled with 25 gallons of fuel stored in
containers. The top of the box is secured with redundant strapping. Once and
a while I will find a local place still open, but don't count on it. Eating
out is even a bigger problem. All restaurants are closed or packed. So, I
have coolers filled with everything imaginable: water, soda, milk, etc. There
are also foil pouches of ready to eat chicken and turkey that will keep even if
not refrigerated. Staying in a motel -forget it. They are all booked. So, I have an extended cab
and my driver's seat reclines nearly horizontally for sleep -but who sleeps
anyways.
 
Mar 21, 2005
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Denver, CO
Does anyone know of a motel or hotel that is still open or will be open on Thurs night somewhere SW of Houston. We are trying to find a place to stay. Anybody know???
 

Anonymous

For those still heading South on I.H. 45 be very cautious in the Corsicanna,TX area lots of construction along with delays though we all doubt many are headed South, the fueling stations and stores will be overwhelmed.

edjoe
 
Dec 11, 2003
377
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Shelton, CT
stormgasm.com
Simon Brewer and I (and a couple others) will be chasing this monster. Simon and the others will meet me here in Houston tomorrow night and take it from there.

This is a very strange situation for me in particular. I live just west of downtown Houston and there is a great chance I won't have power or running water in my home after the chase. The chaser becomes the chasee...I've taken the proper precautions.

My latest worry: Models have shifted further north today and I'm very concerned about a landfall near Freeport (ironically similar to Tim) rather than the current NHC forecast track. This could be devastating for Galveston and terrible for Houston...
 
Coastal TX is just about the only place in the state I've never chased within. HP just isn't my favorite. This will definitely be HP, in a synoptic sense, hellish-precip. 898, amazing. I thought Mitch would be the last time in my life I'd live to see such a low.
 

Colin P.McIntyre

I will be thinking of all you chasers down there,be safe.Two Kat fives
in the Golf of Mexico,what a year.
 
well this will be the closest one for me given my geographic connections in relation to this beast. Im seriously considering busting of here late friday morning after thermo class, which meansi will miss a field trip in the afternoon for my msrmts class thats part of my long term project for the class. I havent decided whether im going home to Ft. Worth or not yet. I will be in the SPC tomorrow and will make my decision then. I figure this is the closest will get to a tropical cyclone of this magnitude in a long while. And its been i think a few years since the D/FW metroplex has delt w/ a large scale tropical cyclone although it wont be what it is now when it gets there but in comparison its pretty big so im curious just to experience what will happen. Im sure flooding will be the major story depending its speed.
 
Apr 13, 2005
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Jackson, Ms
I am going to decide tomorrow. I don't think it will be a 5 or even a strong 4 at landfall, but given the current intensity and size it will take more than just a sliver of dry air to kill this monster. If I go I have plenty of gear, a 55 gallon drum of gas with a pump, a deep sea fishing cooler with plenty of food and water and I also have a generator and power invertor so I could be self sufficient for a couple weeks if I had to. I am still thinking that Rita is going to make landfall just East of Freeport and that whole area is swamp land that I want nothing to do with. I hope this thing dies down to a 2 or 3 but know it is unlikely. After Katrina and seeing some of the damage and talking to people that have had their lives destroyed and would rather have a blown chase (ie Dennis) than have millions of more people displaced. Good luck to all and please go overboard when taking precautions if you are planning to chase Rita. If this is your first time chasing a hurricane bring some diapers.
 
I am leaving Wichita in a few hours. I just have to finish getting supplies and I have to run out to the other side of town to get an extra spare tire. I have enough supplies to get me by for a week if need be. I'm not feeling real good about having 30 gallons of gasoline in the car with me, but it has to be done. I haven't decided where I am going to set up shop yet. I am planning on figuring that out tomorrow night and then I have all day Friday to scout out the target area so I can find a sturdy structure to stay in. Good luck to everyone chasing Rita and stay safe.
 

Anonymous

I H 45 Southbound

As a exclamation point to my be cautious on 45 between Corsicanna a Houston on a recent trip to Conroe a heavy thundershower was occuring and hydroplaning was a major issue I saw atleast 6 single vehicle rollover car crashes.
 
Re: I H 45 Southbound

Originally posted by Anonymous
As a exclamation point to my be cautious on 45 between Corsicanna a Houston on a recent trip to Conroe a heavy thundershower was occuring and hydroplaning was a major issue I saw atleast 6 single vehicle rollover car crashes.
Let us make sure that we never forget the lessons we learned as a result of the passing of Jeff Wear.
 

Anonymous

Re: I H 45 Southbound

Originally posted by Anonymous
As a exclamation point to my be cautious on 45 between Corsicanna a Houston on a recent trip to Conroe a heavy thundershower was occuring and hydroplaning was a major issue I saw atleast 6 single vehicle rollover car crashes.
And hey lets be careful out there....

edjoe
 

Typhoon

I understand that Geoff Mackley is on his way.
We have two typhoons here in Asia. One nasty beast going over to Japan (Typhoon Saola) and one going...well we are watching that one (Damrey) , but it should move west towards vietnam.
May the force be with you all! 8)
 
Apr 13, 2005
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Jackson, Ms
I am going to skip this one. I am going to opt out for some tornado chasing here in central Ms. I just don't see Rita beeing as powerful as forecasted when she makes landfall and I am almost positive it is going to hit south of Lake Charles in the swamps. Good luck to any of you guys that are still going after her. I must warn you that there is very little in the way of shelter for a powerful hurricane once you go south of Lake Charles.
 
Jun 30, 2004
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Leadville, CO/ Norman, OK
We are chasing Rita. Right now we are still driving south towards Texas. I do have a couple of questions for the other chasers. What is everyone doing about the mandatory evacuations? We are not interested in going into them, but they seem very big for this hurricane. For example, I heard that all of Wharton, Orange, etc. counties were under mandatory evacuations. Is this really for the whole county or just the areas closer to the coast?. Also, what is everyone doing about shelter? We want to stay in a motel, but I know that this will be very difficult if not impossible. We were lucky during Ivan, because we got a room, but I don't think that will happen this time. Do you guys go to parking garages or other places if no rooms are available? Right now I am hoping to find a room somewhere northeast or east of Houston (maybe even as far east as Lake Charles but hopefully closer to Houston). Thanks for the help and good luck to everyone.
 

B Ozanne

EF5
May 3, 2004
1,740
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Connecticut
www.easternlight.net
Originally posted by Charles Kuster
We are chasing Rita. Right now we are still driving south towards Texas. I do have a couple of questions for the other chasers. What is everyone doing about the mandatory evacuations? We are not interested in going into them, but they seem very big for this hurricane. For example, I heard that all of Wharton, Orange, etc. counties were under mandatory evacuations. Is this really for the whole county or just the areas closer to the coast?. Also, what is everyone doing about shelter? We want to stay in a motel, but I know that this will be very difficult if not impossible. We were lucky during Ivan, because we got a room, but I don't think that will happen this time. Do you guys go to parking garages or other places if no rooms are available? Right now I am hoping to find a room somewhere northeast or east of Houston (maybe even as far east as Lake Charles but hopefully closer to Houston). Thanks for the help and good luck to everyone.
I hope those were jokes about finding a hotel room. Not only was every room already booked from Katrina victims, now over a million people have left the Houston area. Your only chance is to find a room in an evacuation zone...that obviously has its own risks. Also, you better have a lot of gasoline. The fact that you are planning on staying in a motel leads me to believe you aren't that prepared for a hurricane chase. I don't mean to be blunt, but this is no tornado chase. It involves lots of planning and experience.
 

cdcollura

EF5
Jun 12, 2004
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Sunrise, Florida
www.sky-chaser.com
Rita and "hurricane chasing"

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been seeing more and more desires to chase hurricanes. I have a great post for tips in hurricane chasing, plus all the "warnings" and things you MUST consider to do it.


(Above picture, hurricane Rita in Key West when it was "whimpy")

This is a hot topic for Rita right now but the post is in the "information desk" section of this site.

I provided a direct link below for anyone interested...

Hurricane Chasing: http://stormtrack.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8617

Good luck for anyone documenting or chasing Rita - And be safe (actually as safe as possible)!
 
Jun 30, 2004
330
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Leadville, CO/ Norman, OK
Thanks for the information Chris. I have read that before and it is very helpful. We have been chasing hurricanes for about 3 years now and we have chased hurricanes including Charley, Ivan, and Ophelia (I know that this is much worse/stronger/bigger than Ophelia). We are aware of the risks and we are prepared for it. I was just hoping to find a room, but if not than that is O.K. We are also not planning to be close to the water at all. Thanks again for the information, and good luck/ stay safe to everyone who is chasing.
 
Well, I thought I was prepared for Rita, but I wasn't. I don't think anyone anticipated the gas situation being as bad as it was. I had 30 gallons worth of extra tanks when I left Wichita. I was listening to Fox news the whole way down and heard about fuel supplies running out all over southern Texas. About the time I got to Ardmore, I realized I needed to get more gas cans so that I could make it from Dallas to the coast and back without having to get fuel. I stopped at Walmart in Dallas at 10 this morning and they were already sold out of gas cans. I then checked Home Depot and about 7 other places and nobody had anything other than 1 gallon gas cans. I finally found some mom and pop auto supply store that had four 6 gallon gas cans at their warehouse. I had to wait for 2 hours until they got them and then they bent me over on the price. After that I began the process of trying to get 10 gas cans fastened to the roof of my car. This task was made even more enjoyable by the smothering heat. I finally got it done though and now I have a little over 60 gallons of extra gas. I figure that is more than enough for me to get to my target(Port Arthur/Beaumont) drive around and get back to Dallas where hopefully they will have gas. I coud see the rush of Houstonites trying to get home sacking Dallas's gas supply. Wouldn't that be funny. I did manage to score a hotel room after being told there were no rooms. I think the owner just got tired of me sleeping in the car in his parking lot. Hopefully I will get a good nights sleep to make up for no sleep last night. I am planning on heading for the coast about 9 tomorrow. Anybody else get blind sided by the gas situation?
 
Two things, one:

Originally posted by Michael Gribble
Anybody else get blind sided by the gas situation?
<-- would really like to know myself... and 2:

It's looking more and more like at least some of the event will be during dark, predawn hours. I still have the option of going or not going for another hour. Otherwise, all my gear and people are in check. Suggestions??

- David
 
Are you coming into Dallas? If you are, I would think you would have enough time to get down there, but I would be very concerned about getting your hands on enough gas cans to get you there and back.

edit - Houston, I see. I would still be worried about supplies, but gas won't be much of an issue since you should be able to make it to the target area and back on a tank. If you can, I would bring water and food with you on the plane. If you can't find any supplies, I could give you a couple MREs and some bottled water. I have actually heard that these MREs are pretty good. My uncle swears he would eat it at home and like it.
 

Jay Cazel

EF4
Jul 5, 2004
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Wichita, Ks
Visit site
Originally posted by David Dildine
To buy myself so'more time, I'm now on a flight which arrives in Houston around 11am. Anyone think this is cutting it too close?
You might have a long wait at the airport. Most of the people that work at both airports in Houston left.
 

B Ozanne

EF5
May 3, 2004
1,740
0
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107
Connecticut
www.easternlight.net
You might have a long wait at the airport. Most of the people that work at both airports in Houston left.
After Katrina there is a lot of pressure to keep the airports open as long as possible. I think you might get lucky and get in there. Only problem is people showing up to run the airport in the morning.

My brother was on a flight to New Orleans the Saturday before Katrina and his flight got cancelled.