Saturday, August 30, 2008

Panic at the Disco

Today definitely brought back some memories. I started by going to the auto part store to get some oil and carb clean-out. I noticed a pallet of 5 gallon gas cans and commented to the manager that I bet he would sell all of them. He then informed be he had sold 250 on Friday and expected to sell out. We then discussed the "we can't believe anyone who lived here wouldn't have 3 or 4 cans already. Of all things, my little brother-in-law came over to watch the LSU game and mentioned he needed gas cans. I called the store and they had sold out already! They then informed me they were getting another shipment at noon and that we should be there at 11:45. He didn't but managed to find some later in the day.

I then went to Lowes to pick up a few small supplies. A generator shipment had just arrived and people were buying $800 generators like there was no tomorrow. Never mind, they didn't have any gas cans. In my usual, observe panic behavior, I looked for batteries and noticed there were no D or C batteries. The rumor was there would be a shipment on Sunday. As for plywood, they actually had a setup outside where you could drive up, tell them how many sheets you wanted, pay and they would load them for you. Not a bad little deal.

My final destination was the donut shop. Of all things, they too were doing a booming business! No chocolate but they had plenty of hot glazed and some chocolate with sprinkles. I'm adding donuts to the list of hurricane related items I'll track in the future.

LSU of course trounced Appalachian State. Poor fans and some ESPN goons thought they had a chance. The biggest bummer about the 10:00am kickoff was that it was moved to ESPN Classic, a channel many people do not get on Cox Cable. Thankfully, I have Eatel which provides fiber to the house along with ESPN Classic. Note - the game had to have a "live" banner on it so people tuning in realized it was a live event and not some old game they usually show.

I ventured out to meet some friends and noticed heavy traffic on I-10 West bound. The people were already starting to vacate New Orleans. As of tonight the New Orleans Airport (MSY) is closed at 6:00 PM Sunday Sept. 1. No shuttles already. Only ticketed passengers allowed in the airport. I guess they don't want a repeat of the planters being used as bathrooms after Katrina.

Surprisingly three weren't any significant gas lines. Sure there were some stations busier than others but for the most part it was still civilized. I manage to top of some gas cans and my truck without waiting and for a mere $3.49.

Most of the day the storm looked to be heading to Lafayette or further West. Unfortunately, now that it is finally in the Gulf, it looks like it is heading straight for Baton Rouge. New Orleans is under mandatory evacuation and contra-flow starts at 8:00am Sunday instead of the 6:00pm time. Gustav has sped up and appears to be on track for lunch time on Monday. There is still a lot of ground to cover but that means a lot of time to gain strength. We were really hoping that the high pressure zone over Arkansas would move down and push Gustav over to Texas. If it keeps up, the high won't have time to get here in time.

I'll keep you sports fans posted on the chaos tomorrow as I expect to venture out across the city.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Calm Before the Storm?

The anniversary of Katrina has caused everyone to pause. People are in deep preparation.

I spoke with a small business person who sells and fixes generators. Many people have come by after leaving gas in their generator for over a year with panicked looks to get things fixed before the weekend. For those who don't know, gas breaks down and gums up the carburetor.

Today I noticed many boats on the Interstate. Normally, I would chalk it up to the Labor Day Holiday. In this case I could tell it was not the recreational freshwater boats but people hauling their saltwater vessels out of harms way.

The state decided to move all of the inmates out of the New Orleans prisons today. They may not need to evacuate but decided it was better to move them out of the area before traffic started getting heavy on I-10. No inmates wandering around the high rise in flooded New Orleans sounds like a good thing to me.

The biggest news of the week is moving the LSU opening game to 10:00am from its 4:00pm kickoff time. People complained about the 4:00pm time due to the heat. Comfort vs. ESPN. TV revenues win every time. No pre-game festivities and they are asking people to leave right after the game.

One the way home, I stopped to get gas. No long lines are frustrated people but definitely doing more business than a normal Friday night. Gas was $3.45-$3.59 on Wednesday. It was up slightly about a dime. Officials began evacuating all of the rigs in the Gulf today so expect a good $.50 rise quickly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ding Ding Ding...Round 2

Hard to believe that it has been 3 years since Katrina. Not much to update and then Gustav shows up. A few things are different this go around. We have actually had lots of rain and the ground is saturated. People are definately ready.

Today I noticed long gas lines going home. Reports at most of the area Walmarts are that water and batteries are in short supply. I'll make the usual rounds at the gun shops to see if ammo is in high demand.

The storm hasn't even made it into the Gulf and people are already talking about evacuating New Orleans and making plans to go north should something arise. Most of the computer models have Gustav hitting between LA and MS. It will be interesting to see where it goes and if it strengthens like it is expected to.

There is talk about activating the contra-flow out of New Orleans on Saturday. This would be an interesting development as it is the opening weekend for LSU football and that mean 100,000+ people will be already making their way to Baton Rouge.

Oil rose $5/barrel last night based on the news that people were concerned about this storm.