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Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Full Hurricane Mode
Posted: 4:34:00 PM 0 comments
Since I've moved to Houston in the beginning of 1999, we've gotten a couple of close calls, and one not-so-close call from tropical weather. Tropical Storm Allison, which by the way came ashore on my 24th birthday, laid waste to much of Houston, putting it under water. I was fortunate enough to be spared from the worst of the flooding.

It might be post-Katrina nerves, but I have a feeling that we're not going to be quite as lucky this time with Rita. Rita is travelling south along a ridge of high pressure that is steering it to the west at a relative good pace. Once it hits the western Gulf of Mexico, it's anyone's guess as to what direction it can take. Models range from one border to the other, but all say the same thing: Texas.

For the second consecutive day, NHC is forecasting Rita to take the northerly turn and plow into Houston and its suburbs. It's still too early to say where it will go, as the average error of forecast at three days is 250 miles. However, the computer models they use are fairly confident that Galveston and Houston will be Rita's target of choice. Whether this actually happens, we won't know until probably Thursday, if not Friday.

To complicate matters, Rita is a moderate category 2 hurricane, which equates to 100 MPH winds. They are forecasting a category 3, and the leading computer model puts winds at 143 MPH, a very scary category 4, the same brand that sunk New Orleans just last month.

While we don't have the levy problem that New Orleans has, we still flash flood rather easily around. Add the possibility of 100+ MPH winds inland, and it's easy to see why Kathy and I will be high-tailing it out of Houston if the storm track doesn't change fast. In the event we do evacuate, I'll likely be taking my servers with me, so that I don't lose the data that I don't have backed up off-site.

That said, there's still a long time to landfall, and anything can happen. It's that bit of uncertainty, though, that forces me to err on the side of caution.

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