Hurricane season upon us once again: Evacuating is best choice, then party away

By John Toth
The Bulletin

Here it is again – hurricane season.
No need to get excited for a while. The big storms won’t start churching for a couple of months. But, it’s a good idea to prepare so that if a big one comes our way, we don’t have to scramble at the last minute. Everything will be in place, and you’re ready to go or stay.
I’ll go – all the time. If a hurricane catches us on the dirty side, there is nowhere safe in Brazoria or nearby counties to stay. Anything can happen, anywhere.
I rode out Hurricane Alicia in 1983 in the Brazoria County Courthouse in Angleton. That was a Category 3, but we got the weak side. Galveston got the dirty side, and they were hit pretty badly.
I stayed because at the time I covered the storm for The Houston Chronicle. If I weren’t working, though, I would have left.
I did evacuate in 2005 when Hurricane Rita threatened. That turned out to be a dud, since we didn’t get hardly anything. The storm turned northeast in the last few hours, and I think I had one tree limb broken in the backyard.
But, I did have a good time chilling next to the Medina River in Bandera just north of San Antonio for about a week. I love that area.
That was the nightmare evacuation that killed more people than the actual storm in this area. That’s when Houston turned into a parking lot. That’s where I was directed to go until I broke through a barricade with my RV and headed west instead. There is no way I was going to Houston. I hate Houston traffic, and was not going to get into it in the middle of an evacuation. Good choice, as it turned out.
Then we had Hurricane Ike in 2008. Once again, I headed back to Bandera for some R&R. Hey, if I am going to lose at least two weeks of business, I might as well enjoy it.
This was a little more nerve racking. Ike didn’t know where to make landfall. First it was going to be Mexico, then Louisiana, then Freeport, then back to South Padre, then back here again.
That was a mess, but the evacuation went smoothly. All the routes were open. Nobody forced cars that wanted to travel west into Houston traffic this time. I guess the folks in charge learned from 2005.
From personal experience, if the hurricane is projected to hit here or just east of here, plan to go west. The storms so far have turned northeast and headed toward the Dallas area. But most importantly, listen to the latest information and make decisions accordingly.
Are you a hurricane buff? I’m not. I’m more like a “how to run from a hurricane” buff. But if you are, here is a great website: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov.
Go to the history page, and enjoy reading about all the hurricanes that hit the U.S. since 1900.
They are predicting a bunch of hurricanes this year, but “they” may be wrong. In 2005 they didn’t predict squat, and hurricanes lined up like flights waiting to take off, ready to hit us one after another.
Then they predicted a bunch in 2006, and none came our way. So, it’s a big guessing game based on anticipated scenarios. I hope “they” are wrong like in 2006. Be prepared, and keep your fingers crossed.
I already crossed mine. Now I need to figure out how to pick up this coffee cup. Now my fingers are stuck. Darn. it. O.K., cross something else then. See you next week.