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Rita update - gas is running out, cash is gone

Safety Cap (253500) writes | more than 8 years ago

The Gimp 8

Coming home from work today was weird. All of the traffic out of town was clogged and just an awful mess. Going in to town was like there was no one alive. My trip usually takes about 25 minutes, but this time it took under 15. I always get off the freeway on an earlier exit and then take the side-streets around the mess (the exit ramp that is closest to me is the worst), but this time, there was---literally---no cars on the ramp at all.

Coming home from work today was weird. All of the traffic out of town was clogged and just an awful mess. Going in to town was like there was no one alive. My trip usually takes about 25 minutes, but this time it took under 15. I always get off the freeway on an earlier exit and then take the side-streets around the mess (the exit ramp that is closest to me is the worst), but this time, there was---literally---no cars on the ramp at all.

Later, I passed 7 gas stations on the way back from guitar practice:

3 of them had long lines, stretching into the street, blocking traffic. No one seemed out of control, just everyone was trying to get their gas and go on their way.

4 of them -- all Shell stations -- were sold out. Some had plastic bags over their pump nozzles, others had some kind of red plastic placard locked onto the nozzle. Many people kept driving into these stations, probably because they figured they'd found the ONE station in all of Houston that didn't have lines, but they quickly drove on when it was obvious that there was no fuel to be had.

The banks have all but shut down. A co-worker's husband was unable to get cash this afternoon. They live on the west side of town--Katy--where everyone who is leaving to San Antonio or Austin will pass through.

My SO was able to get cash, though. She told me that the manager at the branch she went to wasn't letting any teller swap money (i.e., trading another teller a hundred-dollar bill for four twenties), so what you got was what you got. By the time she left the bank, all but one window was closed (the other tellers ran out of cash). I think all the ATMs are dry as well.

I don't believe you can buy water here, unless you are very lucky and time your visit to when the delivery truck arrives at the store. On the way to guitar practice, I stopped by a "high end" supermarket (Eatzi's) to get a snack, and I noticed that all their water was gone. This isn't some cheap old Ozarka or whatever; these waters easily cost more than $1.50 for a bottle ("designer water").

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Uh- anybody try bottling their own water ahead ? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#13619413)

I mean- you've got to have some tupperware containers around. 5 gal per person will probably do you.

Re:Uh- anybody try bottling their own water ahead (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 8 years ago | (#13619581)

Yeah - the tap here tastes pretty nasty, but the alternative is to suck dust. :(

Tomorrow we're going to fill some empty water jugs and the bathtub. If worse comes to worse, we can squeeze a about a week's worth from that and the stuff we already had.

If things are REALLY bad after three days (ala New Orleans), the plan is to fall back in a north-westernly direction. There are plenty of small towns that will have some sort of primitive lodging ("Best Western") or somesuch that we can shack up in for a few weeks.

Wanna try something nice? (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13627005)

Use a water filter... I'm sure carbon filter jugs are relatively cheap, since most people probably just BUY bottled water... (it makes the water taste less chlorinated too, and I've found that if you're not the type to make tea, the water by itself still does the job)...

if your house / apt doesn't have a carbon filter installed on the water supply, just get a jug or such, and filter out 50 or 60 gallons of water (at least 10 or 20, depending on how much you drink a day).

Oh, and, if you can't get MRE's from your local military supply store, get yourself some well maintaining foods and keep em handy.

~D

Re:Uh- anybody try bottling their own water ahead (1)

ces (119879) | more than 8 years ago | (#13627340)

Another thought would be to get some plastic trash cans and fill them with water as well, assuming you can find anywhere open to buy them.

earthquake preparedness kits (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13619472)

Were a huge thing in the Bay Area after the 89 quake. I bet now only 1 in 10 houses have them. People who went all out bought 55 gallon plastic barrels for water and kept a few lead acid batteries sealed up for radios and flashlights. Me, provided the house doesn't collapse, there are some gallon jugs of water in the three foot high crawl space under the house. The foundation has a full concrete pad though so it's not dirt under there. Makes for a lot more storage space.

Earthquakes are of course different though because they're so localized. Even if the epicenter is in Oakland, most of San Jose was built in the past fifty years and will come through OK providing services from the south. Sacramento and basically Interstate 5 will be the main conduit for water and emergency response.

Re:earthquake preparedness kits (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 8 years ago | (#13619610)

BUT - the fact that earthquakes can happen at any time doesn't bode well for those who've eschewed preparedness: either you're prepared or you're not. The sucky thing about the hurricane is you can see it coming for days, so you end up second-guessing yourself and generally get all worked up.

The best 'quake kit is a fully-stocked and gassed up camper. :) My dad rode out the Northridge quake in '94 in his camper after his condo slipped off its foundation.

Good luck to ya.... (1)

dave-tx (684169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13620433)

I'm up here in Austin, so watching Rita carefully. I'm sure it won't be as strong as what passes through Houston, but I heard that this expected to be the worst that Austin has seen since the early 60's. Spawned tornadoes are always a big concern, obviously.

My main concern is what will happen with ACL Festival, which really isn't that big a concern when you consider the possibilities.

Good Luck To You, Sir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13620470)

I will await your post from the other side of the storm.

Hmmm... we're talking about a major hurricane heading for Texas and slashdot gives me the CAPTCHA "deficit". I guess AI is more advanced than I thought....
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