Mom made it out of Houston today, making the normal 2.5 hour drive in a little under six. She said that the roads were lined with stranded or abandoned vehicles but that people from local communities were also present along the way handing out food, water and gasoline.
Mom concurred with the BeldarBlog post that Jonathan linked to below that the gridlock problem was caused by people in non-critical areas evacuating before they had to. The evacuation was planned to go in stages, with the area divided up into risk zones labeled A,B,C etc. People in “A” zones should’ve gone first, then “B” and so on. However, it looks like the “Katrina effect” combined with over the top reporting in the media caused a large number of people to evacuate before their turn. That is what caused the overload of the road and fuel systems. Next time this happens, we will have to concentrate more on public education and media responsibility to make sure people evacuate in the planned order.
Mom’s boyfriend is a Houston area motorcycle cop. He says that downtown Houston is utterly deserted and that something of a party atmosphere has infected the force as they patrol around with nothing to do. He spent some time feeding cheese doodles to ducks in the park. They do expect to be super busy after landfall for a week or more. They expect days of rain and flooding.
They don’t expect much of a looting problem or at least not much of a sustained looting problem. This is Texas after all.