Houston / East Texas evacuations

As of now, all Galveston County residents are under a MANDATORY evacuation order. Parts of Harris County are being considered (near the Ship Channel, low lying areas prone to flooding). If there are more areas that are being ASKED or are MANDATORY evacuation areas, post here. Many in my area will be coming here to get information during this time before, during (if we keep power) and after.
 
I'm hoping you mean this will be an ADDITIONAL source for those orders since this is by no means the most reliable source of official evacuations. I would strongly reccommend that they get their evacuation information and warnings directly from the NWS or local government. Certainly, local media will have the most up to date info as well.
 
This isn't directly related to evacuations. But I live near downtown Houston and the grocery stores are running out of bottled water. It was a sureal experience going there to stock up on non perishable foods and water. I even went to Walmart and people were waiting in lines to fill up massive jugs of water. I'll be chasing this beast but it will also be chasing me.
 
Originally posted by Jim Bishop
This isn't directly related to evacuations. But I live near downtown Houston and the grocery stores are running out of bottled water. It was a sureal experience going there to stock up on non perishable foods and water. I even went to Walmart and people were waiting in lines to fill up massive jugs of water. I'll be chasing this beast but it will also be chasing me.

No water in Katy either. I tried to get some starting at 11 this morning, everyone is out of bottled and jugged. Kroger is slated to get a shipment early tomorrow morning....I will be there EARLY (6am) to get some.

Voluntary evacuations being asked of people in low lying areas, the elderly and infirmed in Harris County.

I will NOT be chasing this as my first hurricane. Cat 4 for a beginner?
No thanks!!
 
I turned on the tv this morning at 7am eastern and saw a massive exodus on the highways. It was in and around Houston. Is this just the general population leaving the Houston metro? Couldn't possible be Galveston residents still, too many cars.
 
It's Galveston, plus Clear Lake/Webster/Friendswood, plus people in low-lying areas, plus and a ton of other folks. I have friends as far north as Spring and The Woodlands who are evacuating. Those areas would likely be okay to ride it out in, but they would rather not be without power. Also, many have small children or are pregnant, so they're being super cautious.

I have talked to friends and family this morning who left in the middle of the night and have traveled anywhere from 10-30 miles. It took a friend of my sister's 17 hours to make it to Dallas yesterday (normally 4 hours). Another friend's wife took 14.5 hours to get from Clear Lake to Austin (normally 3 hours). This is crazy.

They just announced that at 9 a.m., they will make southbound lanes of I-45 run north from Houston to Buffalo.
 
They just announced that at 9 a.m., they will make southbound lanes of I-45 run north from Houston to Buffalo.

Yes, I can confirm. I-45 is contraflow from Houston area to Buffalo, not positive what time that starts.

First time Texas has ever done anything like this, it was never part of the evac plan.
 
Just learned from my brother inlaw that his brother just evacuated
Houston and is now heading for Dallas.This storm is kind of afecting
me now.Thank god thease people are getting out.
 
Originally posted by Colin P.McIntyre
Just learned from my brother inlaw that his brother just evacuated
Houston and is now heading for Dallas.This storm is kind of afecting
me now.Thank god thease people are getting out.

I also have family in the Houston area, (Pearland) just south of Houston, I called them Teusday told them to get ready. Talked to him again yesterday afternoon he was shutting down his office and moving computers and files out. I hope he will leave and not try to ride this one out.
 
I don't know why everybody is leaving but Houston is not under an evacuation order.

The mandatory evacuations are for low-lying areas, you should know if you live there. The other evacuation recommendation is for people in mobile homes or vulnerable structures.

The city goverment is just not prepared for the mass evacuation that is occuring. If anybody can find a link for a mandatory evacuation for the city of Houston please post it ASAP.
 
If I lived in a non-eastern or non-low-lying suburb of Houston I would NOT evacuate right now. Landfall will likely occur east of the city, putting most of the city in offshore flow. If this occurs, which I believe it will, I don't think the folks on higher ground have a whole lot to worry about. Yes, there could be some wind damage, but I don't expect Andrew type of wind damage (houses crushed, etc). It may be better for folks to stay put, hunker down after making all other hurricane preparations, and stay off the freeways to let those who are in significant danger (those along the coast) to escape inland. The city of Houston is about 50 miles inland, so I wouldn't expect them to experience much above 80mph sustained winds. Of course, the Bay of Galveston is there, so if the storm was going to hit west of Houston, there may be a better chance of getting very strong winds uninhibited by land friction. This doesn't appear likely, though the 12z GFDL solution of the eye passing immediately east of Houston would bring some significant winds into the downtown areas as the western eyewall passes over the eastern part of the city. Though again, I don't think this is the most likely scenario right now. I guess we are still 36 hours from landfall, so I hope the freeways clear up by then. I'd certainly like to see the near-coast folks be able to get out of the areas of greatest danger.
 
What's happening in Houston right now is a disaster.

Voluntary Evacuation: Consider leaving if you have special needs or live in a vulnerable structure.

Mandatory Evacuation: Leave now.

Otherwise be prepared to hunker down in place.
 
Sheer craziness here. Went out for more supplies this morning and traffic is not moving on the roads due to those lining up for gas. WalMart threw whatever was left on most of the shelves in piles on the floor (grocery area) and people were picking it like a yard sale.
Line at Home Depot @ Fry Rd was over 2 blocks long (no kidding) of people with carts or just standing. I tried to get in to get a valve for my broken propane tank (no exchange tanks to be found since yesterday afternoon). They told me they wouldn't let me in and to go to the back of the plywood line. Needless to say, I said an expletive or two and left. Found out that a Ford Taurus can clear high medians and even SUV drivers will yield to mad Taurus drivers (no one is using traffic lights, it is survival of the fittest on suburban roads). Those who were able to acquire plywood were driving and holding it to their rooves (be it an SUV or a compact car). I should have taken pictures.
This morning was quite an experience!

We have taped our windows and picked up the yard. Just have to bring the swing in. Since we are looking like we are out of the worst of it, it is alot more relaxed and humor is starting to return to my homestead. Hopefully it stays here.

Last I checked, Beaumont was trying to evacuate and they were sending them on I45N. :shock:
Steaming media link to local TV news here: http://www.click2houston.com/index.html
 
Turns out the long gas lines here in Palestine were due to people fleeing up US 287. Driving from here to Elkhart this afternoon (8 mi at 70 mph) I counted 347 vehicles headed northbound. There appears to be about 3 times the volume of traffic in town that there usually is (why people are hanging around here rather than scattering north to find hotel rooms doesn't make sense).

Tim
 
This evacuation is turning into a nightmare...seriously. Hundreds, if not thousands, of motorists are stranded on the highways due to gas shortages in the Houston area. KHOU.com is reporting that "Mayor White calls for 200 volunteers to load, deliver water to stranded motorists." This is quickly becoming an extremely serious problem.

I can't believe this is happening again....
 
The only person to blame here is the media. The mayor never told these people to leave. Somehow the media heard evacuation and mandatory, the stories got passed around a few times and all of a sudden you've got a mandatory evacuation that was never ordered.
 
Originally posted by Colin P.McIntyre
Just learned from my brother inlaw that his brother just evacuated
Houston and is now heading for Dallas.

My brother works for Exxon as a geophysist (sp?). He and his wife have elected to stay in their home in Houston. They have boarded up thier windows. I sure wish they would have evacuated.

I also have a nephew "stuck" in a tin pole building (no utilities) with a few dozen other kids from a church group. Ignoring the approach of Rita, the church brought these kids down to help with Katrina clean up. They are located southwest of Lafayette (I won't even comment on how irresponsible that whole trip is/was given the circumstances). My sister, who is an insurance adjuster now working in NO, is scrambling to get to him. They will head north into Mississippi.

I am very worried for my family members ...
 
Very good friends of mine are stuck on 45N. They left Friendswood 11 hours ago, they are at exit 90 near Conroe, headed for Dallas. A friend just called me from the Woodlands, 45N is not moving squat...even with Contraflow.

Took other friends of mine 11-15 hours to go up 290 from Clear Lake/Pasadena to Austin. They said the worst was getting through Houston, then up at Brenham where 6N branches off it got much better...until they hit Giddings. That itty town left their one and only stop light working so traffic gets stopped at intervals. Guess from there to Austin is flowing well (at least up until 7pm this evening).
Many of my friends think we should have left. I don't!
 
Latest from Palestine, Texas --

At 8 pm US 287 inbound into the city was getting 1100 vehicles per hour (based on a 5-minute sample). I followed the traffic and noticed people were avoiding the US 287 split to Dallas and setting their sights on northeast Texas via TX 155 to Tyler. This tells me people are trying to get off I-45 at Huntsville (a logical decision) and head anyplace northeast via Crockett and Palestine. This also suggests I-45 is in dire straits, as these people would have been taking US 59 if they really wanted to go to NE Texas. Edit - on second thought, we are the best way to get to Tyler specifically.

I was out just now (11 pm) and there are lines at all the gas stations... cops are patrolling the entries. Fortunately gas is $2.61. Lots of vehicles with multiple passengers and boxes. Taco Bell and Wal-Mart are all packed.

Tim
 
Brother inlaws brother still in Houston.Quoting my sisters e-mail.
(Anthony and his seven companion seminarians are unable to leave,
they tried all evening and day but most gas stations don't have gas and
when you do hit the freeway its a parking lot.)
The only thing i could tell her was to tell Anthony to get to a local
shelter now.All people afected by this hurricane are in my prayers.
 
Our first death in the gridlock-Waller County (I-10). Heart attack and EMS had to work the car/person off at Brookshire but it was too late.
So sad. MANY are suffering heat stroke and dehydration. Most hospitals along the major routes are in Internal disaster mode (accepting no more patients).

This is nuts.

www.click2houston.com- live streaming media available
 
Sitting at the office on a slow night looking at a map of Houston. I see several dozen roads that would get a person out of town and there are likely a significant number of local roads that would keep you moving in a less than direct fashion. Why is it that in every evacuation that everybody jumps on the freeway. Having lived in Minneapolis for years I know to stay off portions of the freeways on the more busy travel days and during construction. I do this by taking local routes that save me much time and headach.

I don't know what to think of the gas shortage. I guess with the cost of gas a lot of folks are simply running their cars toward empty until payday which is a week away for many of us. That said, this storm was on the radar since Sunday. On Sunday I told the old man that their could be another Cat 5 in the Gulf heading toward Houston. I would have wanted to have the simple preparation of obtaining gas completed as early as possible. Maybe if the gas stations were to charge standard rates for up to 10 gallons then double for anything more they could avert some of the hoarding. What some people call gouging I call conservation. Also note that a gas station without gas to sell does not attract customers to buy the spendy and more profitable stuff inside. Maybe a moot point since the place will shut down anyway.

Last note on this is I think a lot of people on high ground were evacuating too quickly clogging roads needed by the folks fleeing low-lying areas. I guess Katrina made a solid lasting impression. Not necessarily bad. I just hope that just becuase Houston is likely to be spared the worst ( despite the congested roads along with all the well reasoned media hype) that the residents are not complacent next time.
 
Sitting at the office on a slow night looking at a map of Houston. I see several dozen roads that would get a person out of town and there are likely a significant number of local roads that would keep you moving in a less than direct fashion. Why is it that in every evacuation that everybody jumps on the freeway.
I would imagine that it mostly has to do with those people's destinations. Some of them are going to stay with friends or family. Others are headed for a big city. But I'd be curious just how many of them have no idea where they are going, and are simply headed 'out of Houston!'

You gotta figure that of all those roads headed out, the only viable options are the ones that are westbound and northbound, so that cuts out half of your potential escape routes. With a good 2 million vehicles headed out of the area all at once, I figure even the farm roads are pretty well saturated too. An earlier post mentioned how in a small town there was bumper to bumper traffic and they were all disregarding the stop lights to keep the traffic moving.
 
Looking at Houston Transtar, the freeways west and north are nearly deserted, the opposite of what was going on last night. The irony! Anyone leaving bright & early this morning gets smooth sailing and a whole leisurely day to do it. That is, assuming they have a full tank & some self-sufficiency.

It makes me wonder whether most Houston employers let people off yesterday. Thus thousands of people were simultaneously rounding up the family and packing up during the midday hours, then trying to hit the road all at once.

Tim
 
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