Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'll Be Offline

Well, things has changed overnight. Hurricane Rita made a shift toward our area. I have no energy left from watching the news and checking the hurricane center every few minutes.

Here's where to check our area:

National Weather Center - Southeast Texas.

UPDATE 09/22/2005 - I
Weather maps show the hurricane may hit Port Arthur directly. That's twenty minutes from Beaumont. But, nothing is certain as things are changing rapidly.

Me and a friend from the newsroom were supposed to leave town and head toward Dallas. But, the traffic is so bad on the highways. So, we decided to wait until tomorrow morning. If we take off today, it will probably take us 24 hours to reach Dallas. In normal days, it takes six hours.

Mark is staying behind to cover the hurricane. That's the job of photojournalists. Photographers from other newspapers are heading this way. So, you'll see my town a lot in the news if things goes bad here. All shops are closed. Wal-Mart was still open this morning. I'm not sure how long they'll stay open.

Check Dr. Jeff and Steve Gregory blogs from weather underground for hourly updates.

Check the Houston Chronicle and the Beaumont Enteprise newspapers for continuous updates.

Also, check Ron Franscell's blog. He's a managing editor at the Beaumont Enterprise. He's covering the hurricane on his blog.

UPDATE 09/23/2005 - I

I decided to take madtom's advice and stay in Beaumont. It's useless to hit the road and be caught by the storm in the way to Dallas. I'm staying with Mark at the newsroom. It's a strong building. So, it will hopefully stand the storm.

As you can see, the storm will hit us directly as it didn't change direct overnight.
I'm not sure if we'll have electricity after the storm passes. If we do, I'll try to blog to let you know we're OK. I doubt it though.

Well, I couldn't ask for a more entertaining and frightening birthday, could I?

I really appreciate your prayers and thoughts.

UPDATE 09/23/2005 - II
Well, Rita is down to category 3 hurricane. That's good for us.

It's already raining outside and the wind has started to show more strength. The hurricane will make a landfall at 4:00am tomorrow. That's when Beaumont would not be the same anymore. This morning we moved things around in our apartment. It already look like it's hit by a tornado. Talking about tornados, they're expected to party hard after the hurricane makes a landfall. We'll see.

The photographers already brought kayaks and canoes to the newspaper building. Yesterday, I asked Mark to take pictures of downtown Beaumont before the hurricane. That way people can see the difference after it floods.

We're expecting to lose power tonight. So, this may be my last update until....I don't know when.

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