Galveston Voluntary Evac: Premature

Well, as of late Monday, KHOU.com is reporting that there's a voluntary evacuation in effect for Galveston Island, TX beginning at 2pm Tuesday. I am well aware that there is only one way on/off the island, but we're still ~5 days away from a potential landfall in the area. As we all know, from a forecasting POV, every tropical cyclone is a learning experience - especially one in the Gulf. The models flip and the models flop, eventually coming to a concrete and unwavering consensus around 48hrs out. With Katrina, the models shifted further and further east (eventually to near the FL big bend) before moving back to the west. Until Rita enters the Gulf (at the very earliest), we can't really jump to any conclusions as to how fast the blocking high over the NC Gulf coast will break down.

Katrina has been the media's most popular example of why we should begin evacuations earlier, but we also need to use Katrina as an example of how inaccurate the forecast models are 72+ hours out. False evacuations lead to complacency and raise the potential for future catastrophes. I don't mean to sound insensitive to those who are in the Galveston area and are rightfully worried about potential impacts, its just a very fine line that EM officials walk. If it turns out that Rita moves ashore elsewhere, thats great for the HGX area, but once a diverted storm or unnecessary evacuation order becomes engrained into John Q. Public's memory, it takes a lot for him to forget it. Hindsight, of course, is always 20/20.

P.S. - I'm not sure if I posted this in the right place.
 
Hence why the evac. is voluntary... It serves more as a heads up for the residents... and let them know that the potential exists they need to get their butts into gear soon.

Aaron
 
Plus 2pm Tuesday isn't a week out. From a Saturday morning landfall its 3.5 days. Much less since a hurricane isn't a singular point.

The media had this problem counting days after Hurricane Katrina too. On Wednesday everyone was screaming it had been 3 days. In actuality it had only been 2 days from the strike and less than that from the flood.
 
"It serves more as a heads up for the residents... and let them know that the potential exists they need to get their butts into gear soon. "

I think that can also be done without telling people it's time to get out of town...
 
But even if you didn't suggest to people to haul it out of town, most folks might make the connection themselves to at least think about it- major hurricane in the Gulf + possible Texas landfall + several weeks of Katrina media coverage = Consider an evacuation.

Unfortunately, some folks don't connect the dots all that fast or at least may need some lead time to set up an possible contingency plans for evaucation. I have a small business and it would take several days for myself and my partners to get things squared away should we have to evacuate in the face of a hurricane.

Bottom line, there's always those residents who need it spelled out for them.
 
Originally posted by Sam Sagnella
Well, as of late Monday, KHOU.com is reporting that there's a voluntary evacuation in effect for Galveston Island, TX beginning at 2pm Tuesday. I am well aware that there is only one way on/off the island, but we're still ~5 days away from a potential landfall in the area. As we all know, from a forecasting POV, every tropical cyclone is a learning experience - especially one in the Gulf. The models flip and the models flop, eventually coming to a concrete and unwavering consensus around 48hrs out. With Katrina, the models shifted further and further east (eventually to near the FL big bend) before moving back to the west. Until Rita enters the Gulf (at the very earliest), we can't really jump to any conclusions as to how fast the blocking high over the NC Gulf coast will break down.

Katrina has been the media's most popular example of why we should begin evacuations earlier, but we also need to use Katrina as an example of how inaccurate the forecast models are 72+ hours out. False evacuations lead to complacency and raise the potential for future catastrophes. I don't mean to sound insensitive to those who are in the Galveston area and are rightfully worried about potential impacts, its just a very fine line that EM officials walk. If it turns out that Rita moves ashore elsewhere, thats great for the HGX area, but once a diverted storm or unnecessary evacuation order becomes engrained into John Q. Public's memory, it takes a lot for him to forget it. Hindsight, of course, is always 20/20.

P.S. - I'm not sure if I posted this in the right place.

Also there are quite a few tourists in Galviston, from the cruise lines to people just hanging out. We take a trip to Houston/Galviston every year in June and there is really 3 ways off the island, but I-45 (cosway)is about the best route. Traffic is bad enough just for everyday travel in that area put an evacuation order out then I-45, the ferries and the bridge to Freeport would be jamed.
 
Back
Top