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Sunday, September 14, 2008

It Gets Old Quickly

Briefly, the widely-used Sitemeter migrated to a new system over the weekend. The new-and-improved version isn't working well, if at all, and is dead slow. Try StatCounter, which is free (under 9,000 hits a day) and fast. True, the graphics aren't as sophisticated, but you can get all the stats, maps, etc Sitemeter used to have, plus some, for free, and it works quickly. It is very easy to sign up there and implement.

Hurricane Ike - boy, oh boy, it cut a wide path of destruction. I wouldn't even think of going back to the Houston area if you evacuated. There is major damage and flooding along the coast right through the New Orleans area, and it will be a long time before some of these areas get power back. Chron.com and Nola.com still appear to be the best sites for info, but there isn't much yet for much of the Houston area because so much has been knocked out.

Power will be off for weeks in some areas around Houston (they are saying maybe a month for Beaumont!), gas service isn't available everywhere, the Houston area shelters are just being set up, most less-travelled roads are impassable at some point or another, conditions are extremely poor on some of the major roads, water service is spotty and the water is probably contaminated most places. Unless you can verify that you can get to your house and stay there for a while without electricity without problems, don't bother. In a few days the picture will be clearer.

If you've got small kids I definitely wouldn't go back. Chron.com has a road map and a damage map, but remember that few people have power, land lines are mostly out, and cell service is spotty, so this is more based on who can get through to report than total damage. The worst did not happen but the damage is very widespread and restoring basic services will be difficult.

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