I honestly don't know whether Gustav is National News. I have to assume it is, but I haven't talked to anyone outside of Texas lately, so I'm not sure. If you do not know, Gustav is a Category 5 storm that is following the path of Hurricane Katrina and is expected to hit New Orleans as a Category 3 Hurricane tomorrow (Monday). There has also been some concern that it may hit areas of the Gulf Coast in Texas.
We are approximately a 3 1/2 hour drive from where the storm may make landfall. We are expected to get lots of rain on Tuesday. We are just far enough inland to be safe from destruction and have, therefore, been designated the first stop for evacuees. In fact, the State of Texas has made Tyler the official staging area for The Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
In an effort that is the polar opposite of the preparations made for Hurricane Katrina, evacuees began hitting Tyler Thursday. This is four days prior to when the storm may hit. I continue to say 'may' because it really is difficult to predict what a hurricane will do - especially 24 hours out. In fact, one reason that Katrina became such a disaster was the refrain "If we evacuated every time someone cried 'hurricane' we'd be constantly leaving." The fact that many storms were predicted to hit New Orleans and either didn't or caused little problems kept many people from evacuating during Katrina.
We are praying that this will be one of the times a false prediction has been made. In any case, however, the residents of New Orleans are taking action this time. One million cars left the city yesterday. All special needs residents have been evacuated. Many of those are here and our Sunday School teacher (a doctor) has been tending to a group of them since 3am. One building of our church has been shut down in order to house those who have evacuated. Many of our fellow Sunday School classmates have friends and relatives from New Orleans staying with them. Two cities in Texas that are very close to Louisiana are now under mandatory evacuations.
That is what is going on here. We will keep you updated and will continue to pray for a very safe end to all of this. And having duly noted the Current Event occurring during this pregnancy, the next post can be devoted again to all things Baby.
Update - Gustav has now hit (it is Monday). It actually landed a little South of New Orleans and was down to a Category Two at landfall. There are power outages in Louisiana and there will be some flooding, but there will not be the destruction that was Katrina. Part of that is because Katrina was a Category Three and part is the fact that there were few, if any, humans left in Louisiana at the time that Gustav hit.
The interesting thing is that Gustav is now expected to take a path West of its originally assumed course. This will bring it directly over Tyler where CNN has stated that it will park itself as a Tropical Depression for several days this week. Although Tyler's paper is having a field day with this and we have been duly instructed to stock up on flash lights and bottled water, I assume this is overkill or the Red Cross and Salvation Army would be moving their evacuee centers elsewhere. We are, however, a little concerned that CNN has mentioned that North East Texas (where we live) is at severe risk of flooding and none of you have called to check on us. We're fine, by the way. :)
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