As the slow-motion disaster known as Tropical Storm Harvey goes on, there's already finger-pointing going on as to the wisdom of evacuating the Texas Gulf Coast and counties up to Houston. A Daily Beast report focuses on the mixed messages being sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who on Friday advised Houstonians to evacuate, while Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and emergency officials called the storm a "rainmaker" and said "In Harris County: very limited to select communities. LOCAL LEADERS KNOW BEST.”
The Daily Beast also quotes former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who was in office during Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, as saying "It's not apparent to us watching that they have developed a sensible evacuation formula":
"You have to allow people in the southernmost regions to get out the quickest. You can't tell everyone to leave at the same time or you end up with gridlock, especially in a big urban center."
Blanco said 1.3 million people were evacuated in the New Orleans before Katrina hit. That same year Houston ordered evacuations for Hurricane Rita and was criticized for the gridlock it incurred.
"I was just talking today with relatives there in Houston because I was concerned about them," Blanco said. "They said they were not going to evacuate again because during Rita they got a few blocks from their home and couldn't get up on the interstate. Just traveling those few blocks took 12 hours because of the gridlock."
Blanco also was quoted as saying, "There is always a lot of finger pointing, even when it's semi-successful. A disaster creates a situation people find untenable and the citizenry surfers and they want someone to blame."
No doubt there'll be plenty more blame game in the days to come, but in the meantime Texas Gov. Abbott is urging those who want to help to donate to the American Red Cross'dedicated Harvey fund
. NOLA.com also has set up a"NOLA Help for Harvey"
Facebook page, and as Texans let us know more of the best ways we can help them, we'll share that as well.