We are thanking the Lord that Houston managed to escape a direct hit from Rita. It was a close, narrow, last-minute scrape by, but... whew! It's over. I'm relieved beyond words that Rita didn't cut a path through our (Katy's) back yard, as it was expected to do at one very unnerving point in the weather forecast.
We thought about packing up and heading north to stay with my parents in Illinois, but decided not to fight the traffic from the mass evacuation (we're talking 2 million strong) and risk winding up stuck on the road. Instead, we boarded up, gathered food, water, and other supplies, preparing for the worst. We were glued to the continual television coverage of Rita, keeping a close eye on where it was expected to make landfall. It was with bated breath that we waited and watched as it slowly move to the east of us.
All we wound up with was a windy night, maybe a few trees down around town. The lights flickered a few times, but we never even lost power. (Well, OK, our internet connection went pfft on Thursday, but that I can live without--air conditioning is another beast!) Even better news is that so far, there haven't been any reported deaths directly caused by the hurricane, even in the Lake Charles/Beaumont area where Rita hit straight on. Not that there won't be any reported tragedies as a result of the storm, but it's a relief not to have the massive loss of life that was seen with Katrina repeated with Rita.
Thanks so much for the comments of concern in the post below. It's good to be "back" (read: alive, well, home intact, online again, and no longer focused on storm survival!) Camille, I'm glad you guys came through the storm OK as well.