Saturday-Ike just passed

(3:30 pm Saturday)

Hello everyone,

The eye of the storm has passed and so has most of the rain. Let me just say right off the top…that many of you have emailed me. I am trying to get to each and every email. The shorter the email right now, the faster I can respond. 🙂

Anyway, I am working from home. I am actually one of the few who still has power. Officials estimate that some 2.1 million people are without power at this time. My parents and most friends are included in that estimate. Our station as a matter of fact is working on backup generators as well.

Here is how it all started for me: THURSDAY, I arrived to work at 4:30am. We spent ALL morning telling folks about the initial mandatory evacuations which included Zones A and B (Southeast Texas), along the coast. At first, despite our reports, traffic was very light. From 5am until 7am, there were hardly any slows. We realized then, that people even in the Greater Houston area, knew they were not going into work that day. The morning news came to a close at 7am, the Today Show aired for about an hour and then our morning news cut back in. We were on-air for the rest of the day. I could feel the gradual change in atmosphere at work as the time passed. The moment we saw traffic stacking up on the Gulf Freeway due to evacuees heeding official advice and using their own common sense…I knew that it would be a long day for many.

I continued to report on the traffic conditions until about 7pm Thursday night. A lot of you decided to leave Southeast Texas and head toward San Antonio, Dallas, College Station, etc…. I thank many of you for your support and emails of praise. I want you to know that not only is it ‘my job’…but that there was this sense of adrenaline that kicked in and as a reporter I did not want to stop until people felt well-informed and secure. People needed their travel information. It wasn’t JUST another day! It was an exception, a time when many people felt fearful and alarmed. Families who really wanted to leave though – did NOT want it to be another “Rita drive.” They didn’t want the Ike evacuation to take 16 hours or more to get out of town as it did just a few years ago. I understood completely and I’m happy to now say that the worst backup delays never amounted to more that 4 hours. We did not have massive fuel shortages like last time either. While gathering information for air, I was also blogging, answering phones and emails for people who needed information on their specific routes.

It was one of the most significant feelings I have ever experienced.

If you have read my bio…it says in part, “Waking up every day, knowing that I have an important responsibility to report traffic accurately and hopefully save people time and a headache…” Its authenticity could not have been more real.

So, once traffic cleared out for the most part…I went home Thursday to get some sleep. That night, I had to pack all necessary items for a few days in case I was asked to stay at the station through Hurricane Ike. I returned to work Friday morning at 4:30am and worked another 10 hours. The rush began to slow down though and those who were not out of the city by that time had pretty much decided to stay and hunker down.

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