Monthly Archives: September 2005

Pre-Rita Looting?

I was just outside briefly and the streets are empty. Normally this area is full of drunk yuppies and a sprinkling of crackheads but tonight the ratio is heavily weighted in favor of crackheads. It feels like 28 Days Later. I spotted a guy riding a bike and carrying another coming out of an area filled with $300,000.00 condos and suspected that he was stealing the bikes. I guess HPD did as well because they swooped in on him and took him down.

I don’t know if it’s looting exactly, I see thieves wheeling $1200.00 BBQ grills and bikes out of that area all the time, but the streets don’t feel quite safe near downtown.

Houston Dodges the Bullet – Beanie Weenies for Sale

We got some pretty good winds in Midtown but it doesn’t look like damage is a problem. Flooding hasn’t been a problem either. I’ve lost satellite but I didn’t lose power.

I still have to walk the block and see if we had any looting issues but everything did seem to calm down after 10pm or so last night. HPD did a pretty good job sending patrol cars through on a very regular basis and I noticed quite a few undercover officers in Chevy Blazers cruising the block too. HPD is reporting 28 burglary calls and 16 arrests which means the rest of the city must have calmed down about the same time that Midtown did. I can only guess but I think that HPD did such a good job responding to the initial calls and keeping up the regualr patrols that potential looters were discouraged.

I have several homes to check on. I also have to put my place back together. There’s also food to donate to the Houston Food Bank (I’d rather not eat Beanie Weenies if I don’t have to) and I won’t be buying bottled water for a while. Houston has more problems to deal with. There’s no gas in the city, no shops open, and millions of people that might be rushing back. If you’re out of town and you can wait a day or two to return please do.

The homes are fine but there is some minor damage in the downtown area. A few trees are down, one carport was blown over, any sign not mounted in concrete is pretty much toast, lots of limbs around, and a few lines down. The photo above was take on Morse street near River Oaks.

One of my neighbors said that at around 1am he counted 18 HPC cars surrounding the CVS pharmacy nearby and they were sending the dogs in after looters.

Update II 11:44pm CST:
I’m getting quite a few emails from folks in the neighborhood who evacuated. It is safe to come back. The convenience store on Gray is open and Christian’s in the big building is serving up burgers and cold beer starting at noon. However, those are the only places I’ve seen open anywhere. You also have to consider traffic and the lack of gas almost anywhere in southeast Texas. If you would like me to check on a car for you just email a description and location and I’ll see what I can do.

Update III 12:02pm CST:
An email from a neighbor

My fiancee and I are here in her Jetta, and nearly ran out of gas in Luling on Thursday. We lucked out in that the Love’s station in Luling was the *first* place on the way to San Antonio that had gas. After a 2 hour wait in line, we filled up with just 1/2-gallon left in the tank. At that point, we bailed out going to S.A. and visited relations in San Marcos before pressing on last night. Total time to reach San Marcos from Midwtown: 21 hours! And that is with saving nearly several hours by hopping on the HOV and bypassing 1-10 between 610 and the Beltway. We had left at 6am, and talked to one woman who had left Bellaire at 4.30 but was stuck on I-10 in that segment, and wound up even with us.

The normal drive time to San Marcos from downtown houston is around 2.5 hours.

Getting Worse

It’s getting worse in downtown. We’re getting some very strong gusts but we’re still not into damaging levels. I’m guessing 50mph maybe a little bit stronger. We’ll probably see stronger winds over the next few hours. Rain is constant but light. Definitely not flood producing at this point.

I think I’ll lose power soon though. My lights just flickered.

Radar doesn’t look bad for downtown Houston. It might be a pretty easy night. We’ll see.