Saturday, September 24, 2005

Day '-0' Nothing

After checking weather forecasts on the hour for over 15 hours, eating gulab jamuns, bajji's, tea, movies and a lot of chit-chat we figured that rita wasn't heading our way. It was 3 in the morning. i decided to hit the sack. The rest of the house went to sleep an hour after that.

Everybody was up and about by the time i woke up; an early 1 in the afternoon.

The town was comming back to life today. I ventured out only at 8 in the evening. I didn't see too many cars on the road; wonder where all the people who came in from Houston went?
The sunlight today was unreal; it bathed the town in a cold blue hue; very different from the warm red summer saturday i am used to. The air didn't have its familiar damp smell. I couldn't see any birds in the sky or the usual contingent of frogs along the sidewalk. The sky was clear and dark; could hardly see the moon and the stars in the evening. The lifeless sky seemed to be coloring everything.

A few people were filling gas in the local gas station while a tanker was refilling the underground tanks. Not too much of crowd. A few motorists waited patiently; not for gas; just to rest. There were a few fellow joggers on the road and few people venturing out for dinner and drinks. A quiet evening.

I have to pull off all the tape from the window panes next...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Day '-1' list of shelters

Just got a mail with a list of open or soon to be opening shelters.

Special Needs Shelter One (TAMU Large Animal Clinic) Burn Unit Patients
Sam Rayburn School -1048 N. Earl Rudder Fwy Bryan
Reed ArenaA&M United Methodist Church - 417 University Dr C/S
St. Thomas- 2541 Earl Rudder Fwy - C/S
Aldersgate Church - Across the hwy from Post Oak Mall
Hillcrest Baptist Church - 4220 Boonville Rd
St. Anthony's Catholic Church - 401 W. 29th St.
Parkway Baptist Church - 1501 Southwest Parkway
First Baptist Church of College Station - 2300 Welsh Ave
First Baptist of Bryan - 200 S. Texas Ave. Bryan
Our Saviour's Lutheran Chruch - 315 Tauber Rd C/S
Lincoln Center - 1000 Eleanor St. C/S
Central Baptist Church - 1991 FM 158 Rd. Bryan
Brazos Center - 3200 Briarcrest Drive - Bryan
College Station Conference Center - 1300 George Bush Drive
Faith Life Church - 1901 Harvey Mitchell Pkwy College Station
Christ United Methodist Church - 4203 Hwy 6 South C/S

Day '-1' it's 2 in the morning

Ran out to Walmart and got some tape for the windows. Walmart is quite well stocked for the situation we are in. No bread but plenty of bananas.

We parked the cars in the university garages. The university has opened them up, for free. People from Houston, some after 10-14 hrs of driving, have been parking their cars here and heading out to the local churches for shelter.

The local gas station hasn't run out of gas. A good thing for people who are driving through the area and need to fill up.

All the local churches and schools are preparing to host evacuees. There seems to be shortage of volunteers right now.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Day '-2' Shelter plans

Got back from work. My professor thinks the storm won't be too strong when it goes over town. The catch though is that most buildings here weren't built to withstand hurricanes - whatever category. The buildings on campus are stronger (unlike the wooden homes we live in) and i think we should be spending our weekend on campus, huddled in some building.


i stay at North Ramparts. All the buildings colored green and blue are buildings on campus. Very close by.

Casa del Sol and French Quarters are the other appartment complexes where many of my friends stay.

For TAMU campus map and key, look at info . You will need adobe acrobat to view them.

Day '-2' Storm Update

For the full article from click here
  • Category 4 - 145 mph.
  • Expected to reach land around mid-saturday.
  • Very wide/large storm and is expected to cause damage even in areas away from the centre.
    • Hurricane force winds extend 60 miles away from the center and tropical storm force winds extend 205 miles from the center.

Day '-2' Weather Update

In case you are worried about what is going to happen in College Station, i think the following excerpts from the email that the International Students Services sent out provide a balanced picture -

"...the current prediction is for heavy rain, hail (balls of ice that can range in size from 1/2 centimeters to 4-5 centimeters in diameter), and winds of up to 60+ m.p.h. in College Station on Friday."

"Several international students have already asked if they should evacuate College Station and Bryan to go further north. Remember that state officials have identified areas that it will be unsafe to remain based on computer generated models and those areas are already being evacuated. The Texas highways will be filled with cars of people who are trying to leave mandatory evacuation areas. College Station and Bryan are areas that people are evauating TO from the coast. College Station and Bryan are not currently considered hazardous and therfore being evacuated. It is highly unlikely that this area will be required to evacuate, but you should continue to monitor the weather to keep up to date on the most current information. Unless we have a specific evacuation order for our area, you are likely safer here than in your cars on the road."

Day '-2' What would i do without...?

Appa, Amma and Nani have been calling for the past two days. Must thank sun tv for the publicity.

Ramki has been calling me for for the past 2 days; keeping me informed of the hurricane and advising me on what to do, in case things go bad.

Chandru wanted me to come over to Dallas.

Amit sent me an email asking me for my parents contact information in India; in case i am not able to get through to them.

Damameen called me at 6 in the morning and asked me whether i need a ticket to fly down to Orlando.

Pramod has been keeping my spirits up, sending me pictures of Katrina :-)

Day '-3' Stocking Up

Arun and me decided to buy a few things, get prepared, the usual drill. Not an original thought; apparently, the whole town was thinking the same thing. We headed out at 7.45 in the evening. Arjun joined us. Lines were starting to form at many of the gas stations we drove past; in places where the gas price was lower, there really was a crowd.

We decided to go to HEB. We guessed Walmart would be too crowded and out of stock. We had been hearing all day that Walmart was running out of shopping carts!

The parking lot at HEB was full. HEB's gas station was teeming with cars; their price was 10 cents lower. Arun decided to join the swarm while Arjun and me peeled off to go grocery shopping. Arun's mobile phone was acting up, so Arjun gave him his. I had mine. It too was acting strange, like a recalcitrant child, connecting me when it wanted to and dropping my calls at other times.

HEB was out of all the important stuff - tomatoes, bannanas, bread and water. I managed to get Tortilla chips and Salsa though.

Arun went back to get Abban and Indira; they didn't want to come intially but changed their minds later. Indira bought 48 scented candles in case the power goes out. A pity you can't get gas masks at grocery stores .

Day -2 Begins...

Rita is expected to pass through on Saturday and so i am calling today 'Day -2'.

I woke at 10 in the morning. Day-2 is a warm day; deceptively so. The traffic on the roads is slightly more than the usual. Students seem to strolling about on campus and most parking lots seem occupied. Just another ordinary day...