29. Houston: Evacuation vs Shelter in Place

Mayor Turner of Houston, Texas has taken heat for failing to order evacuations in advance of Hurricane Harvey.  But we only have to go back one week to see why he made the proper decision. 
 
It took me just three hours by Interstate to get to the path of totality for last Monday’s solar eclipse, but six hours to return to my point of origin later that day.  The number of vehicles heading away from the eclipse path overwhelmed the Interstate Highway System in dozens of places, turning it into clusters of temporary tenmile-long parking lots! 
 
That was the result of a few hundred thousand vehicles heading in the same direction.  The Houston Metro area has four million residents.  Can you imagine a million vehicles trying to leave Houston all at once? 
 
The last time Houston attempted an evacuation, thousands were still on the roads when the storm struck.  It was not safe or pretty, and evacuees died on those Interstates.  While sheltering in place wasn’t completely safe, it was still the best call for the mayor of Houston to make. 
 
On an unrelated note, FEMA‘s Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama has cancelled all scheduled classes for the next few weeks in order to train federal workers for Harvey recovery, which shouldn’t take more than ten years or so. 
 
Next week – back to ham radio topics!