Ok, I have calmed down considerably and am no longer panicking. Sorry about that. I think listening to the constant hurricane coverage by the media all day yesterday sent me over the edge. Apparently I'm not the only one in Austin who had this problem. At present there is not a single bottle of water to bought in the whole city.
My family and friends have all managed to get out of the coastal areas. Hurricane Rita is now expected to make landfall further east around Beaumont/Port Arthur, and we are no longer expected to feel any effects here in Austin. However, this is not exactly good news. The current projected path shows Rita moving directly over the area where my aunt and uncle live, near Beaumont. They are at my mother's along with my cousin and her family so hopefully they will be safe, but I am concerned for their home. Also, current projections show Rita moving straight North over East Texas where my Mom lives. They might end up experiencing some of the severe weather that I was worried about yesterday, possibly even category 1 winds. With the amount of really large pine trees in East Texas, this has me concerned. I have tried to talk my mother into bringing everyone here, but they have decided to just wait it out there and hope that Rita weakens quickly after landfall.
Today, every news report seemed to be about the incredible traffic jam in Houston. Many people were calling from their cars understandably upset. It has to be very frustrating to be stuck in a car for hours when you are trying to escape for safety. One of my cousins came to Austin, and it took them over 7 hours and that was on the less congested backroads. However, some reports I heard were critizing the local and state officials for this problem, and I have to disagree with this. Maybe there is something that could have been done differently, but I don't see how it is possible to not have a traffic jam when you are evacuating an area containing over 4 million people, most of whom have their own vehicles. But that is just my opinion, and I did not have to suffer through this personally.
Right now, I am praying that my family in East Texas stays safe and that everyone I love will have a home to go back to.