Thursday, September 22, 2005

EVACUATION BELLY FLOPS

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

I will detail why the ongoing potential tragedy in Texas was totally uncalled for. Since 1954, the US government was supposed to have evacuation protocols for all the major cities if there were a nuclear war. As a child, I thought they were bullshitting us, as an adult, it is now proven.

7pm EDT: Done with the backhoe jobs, done with the doctor visit, finally at the computer again. Saw CNN and the Weather Channel while out, don't have cable on my mountain. Most interesting, what is going on. Let's check out how this hurricane is going: From the NYT (world's most boring headlines):
More than a million people clogged highways and airports in eastern Texas today as they heeded official warnings to get as far away from Hurricane Rita's projected landfall as possible.

The strong Category 4 hurricane continued to churn across the Gulf of Mexico, bending ever so slightly north, raising the possibility that storm-weary Louisiana could take another substantial hit late Friday or early Saturday. In New Orleans, where rain was already falling and which could be exposed to the eastern reaches of the storm, workers rushed to bolster levees that had burst and flooded the city after Hurricane Katrina roared ashore late last month.
Now, we have had several days to prepare for this evacuation. We had umpteen years to set up sane evacuation plans, we have spent a great fortune of Chinese yuan funding Homeland Security (sic). So, even after witnessing the witless evacuation of New Orleans, what does Texas do?

The exact same thing all over again but with a few more school buses, used to empty out the many nursing homes. I read one story somewhere, we had a computer mess up here so I don't have it now, but one such bus, carbon monoxide was pumped inside and a number of elderly went into comas or seizures and were returned to Houston, more dead than alive. I believe the chances of them recovering from full coma is slim to none, even healthy, strong people, when they go into a coma from this silent killer, die.

Anyway, since WWII, our government told us all, they had evacuation plans for the cities in case of nuclear war. The last five years, we have been sabre rattling like a rattler on a hot highway and it took just two hurricanes to show how feeble, disjointed, useless our evacuation systems are. Since we scorn public transportation, we end up with our highways at a total stand still as everyone tries to rush to the same few places all at once, each human ensconsed inside a great, hulking, polluting machine. You can put 500 people in a train and it will take up about 1/10th the space of the same number in cars.
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People mob the bus terminal only to discover all buses have been cancelled. New Orleans, redux. For many hours, the highways were at a stand still with many overheated or out of gas cars.

This logic means, sprawling cities, instead of being easier to evacuate, are harder since the rush from the core ends up snarling the outermost reaches. Of course, evacuating a city, even with cars, isn't that hard if you have a plan.

If I were running the logic system for evacuating cities with cars, one has to co-ordinate those people who run various parts of the road system. There is the Federal highways, the state highways and roads, county and city and small community. Homeland Security is supposed to be the exchange of information for co-ordinating all of this but since we handed it over to satan's handmaiden, forget this part functioning.

Anyway, once an area is to be evacuated, the Gov. announces this and immediately, the various levels of police, state troopers, National Guard (hahahha, those that remain in America!) and others take their previously arranged positions: controlling all egress and exits from the main highway and feeder road exchanges. The traffic lights are no longer allowed and traffic is moved according to instructions via radio. Feeding cars by number, ten at a time, onto the systems, the keeps bottlenecks down. Of course, the to and from highway lanes become one way the same hour the evacuation is announcedThe shoulder lane of the south bound highways is reserved for emergency vehicles only. Better is for one lane in addition, this needs cones and troopers to enforce.

Since no traffic may flood onto the highway at a mad rate, it won't seize up and stick everyone in a very vulnerable position. A catagory five hurricane can kill any and all stuck in frail cars which can be lifted by the winds or swept away. So it is vital to keep the traffic moving evenly and swiftly as possible so more cars can feed onto the highway.
Here is a real time map of Houston's main highways showing how fast traffic is moving. The red lines means it is moving less than 20mph.
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Of course, we are doomed in a nuclear war. The window of opportunity for emptying a city is less than two hours, maybe two days if we are lucky (as if we allowed the Japanese any warnings! Har), It is most disconcerting to see this evacuation run "like a Chinese fire drill" as the old saying used to be. Namely, everyone runs around like crazy, clawing their way out of a trap.
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The latest data for Galveston and much of Houston is that a 25' storm surge will annihilate much of everything on the barrier islands and the communities surrounding the deep water port there. For political reasons, nearly all our manned space facilities that aren't in Florida are right here at the most vulnerable part of our country. Much of this will be either flooded or destroyed.

The bill for this coming mess will be huge no matter where this hurricane lands. Already, the people "in the know" know that the bill won't be footed so easily this time. China grabbed for the ring on the last merry-go-round ride and we surrendered to North Korea and will now cooperate with them on many issues, we surrendered on Iran, we are opening our doors for China's final push, to import cars and planes and all those big toys. Ditto the Japanese, to a lesser degree.

But they aren't going to do this infinitely. And Houston is our other big oil related facility. This is going to truly hammer our economy, big time.

In a world war, Houston is one of the top ten cities to nuke. Being nuked by Nature isn't going to make us big and strong. Our loss, on the world stage as well as domestically, will be great indeed. Very great.

Too bad the people of Texas have foisted Bush and his ridiculous philosophy and values on the rest of us. We are going to pay dearly for all of this nonsense.

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