September 23, 2005


"This was not in the plan." "Well, duh."

Thousands of furious evacuees sweltering for hours on traffic-choked freeways
Thursday put a stain on what had been a generally successful response by state and local governments faced with back-to-back weather emergencies in Texas.

"This was not in the plan," County Judge Robert Eckels said, turning away from the lectern after a news briefing dominated by questions about the gridlock that resulted from the evacuation ahead of Hurricane Rita...

"The number of people, the amount of cars, the amount of compliance with this (evacuation order), there's some things you can predict and some things you can't, that are unpredictable," (state emergency operations center coordinator Jack) Colley said. "We are compensating. They may run out of gas, but we're going to get them gas."

"It has been completely predictable. You try to shove all that traffic onto a freeway system, and it ain't going to work. There's only so much roadway," said Bill King, a lawyer and former Kemah mayor who's long said the region wasn't adequately prepared for a large-scale evacuation.

"All this about the running out of gas? Well, duh," King said.
Some helpful facts:
- Houston is the largest city within the state of Texas, fourth in the United States, and the second-largest economic area of the Gulf Coast region.

- Population (entire metro area): 5,180,443

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