Received in email from Mark Carroll:
I live here in Austin. A great town, as you know, and we’ve taken a lot of the Katrina survivors in. We’ve put them up in temporary housing or apartments, made sure they’re clothed, fed, that they’ve got something to pick up here, since going back to the Katrina-hit areas isn’t feasible.
The media here is hitting the panic button hard for Rita – finding a bottle of water in Austin is damn near impossible, canned goods are flying off the shelves. Hell, yesterday in the local grocery store near me, I saw a pair of well-to-do yuppie women get into a fistfight over a 4 pack of D-cell batteries. When Rita hits, if it makes landfall as Cat 5, it’s going to whack Austin with Cat 2 winds and rain. Given that the local power grid goes off if someone sneezes funny, the situation here has the potential to turn into a disaster of mythic proportions.
The lights will go out; that’s a given. What worries me are the knuckleheads thinking they’re survivalists, buying up energy bars and shotguns. Later on today, I’m accompanying a friend’s wife to the grocery store near them, so she doesn’t get mugged for medication or supplies.
Something apocalyptic is pretty likely to happen… but not because of heavy weather. It’s because people are convinced it will. Things in town are at the breaking point, panic barely restrained. When the storm hits Friday or Saturday, it’s going to be like touching a match to a hydrogen-filled balloon.