Rita Not a Big Story?

Bogus Gold thinks that all the breathless discussion is just journalism. He says he doesn’t believe anyone really thinks they’ll have a big story like Katrina.

Let’s start with that.

The greater Houston area is 5 million people, not 1 million like NOLA.

The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown Metropolitan Area, a title designated by the U.S. Census as of 2003, is the seventh largest and most diverse metropolitan area in the United States and consists of ten counties within the state of Texas.
Its former title was Houston–Galveston–Brazoria. The area is colloquially referred to as either the “Houston metropolitan area” or the “greater Houston area” and is situated in the region of East Texas.
The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown MSA has a population of 5.2 million as of the 2004 U.S. Census estimate.

That is according to Wikipedia.

We have a channel with refineries and chemical plants. We have Galveston, which is a huge place all by itself, on an island. If Rita hits Houston dead on, even at a Cat 3, our hospitals and roads will be underwater again. Just like they were four years ago when the water wasn’t even from a hurricane. (Tropical Storm Allison. Look for pictures.) That’s a big deal. Friends of mine were planning to leave today but their grandson was taken to TX Children’s last night. He’s now at risk if this storm hits us. And they aren’t sure they should/can go.

So I think we still have a huge chance of being hit badly.

Bogus Gold also says, “Well there will be damage of course. It is a hurricane after all. But there won’t be nearly as large a list of the dead, injured, and missing as with Katrina. The bill to repair the damage won’t be nearly as high as Katrina. ”

If there isn’t as large a list of dead, injured, and missing, it will be because of Katrina. But while Galveston has mandatory evac now and Houston will for surge areas and mobile homes, there’s still no noise about mandatory evac for hospitals. And that means some of the people who are there now and well may die. (See my earlier post.)

Right now I don’t really believe the storm is going to hit us dead on. But if it does, I don’t plan to be here to see it. And I am hoping my family and friends will not be here to see it either.

But I think that if it does, even with all the prewarning and the gridlock on the highways already, there will be more financial loss in this area than there was in NOLA. (Perhaps not the whole area hit by Katrina, though.) Because Houston is bigger.

In 2001, with Allison, we lost $5 billion. I don’t know what they’re projecting for NOLA, but if Rita gets anywhere near us it may be more than that.

So the bated breath and breathlessness is, I believe, partially caused by Hurricane Katrina. But I also think there’s a good reason to prepare and a good reason to get out.