My closest relatives in the Houston area, my aunt and my grandmother, decline to evacuate. My grandmother was born in Galveston on Christmas Day in 1910, ten years after the big Galveston hurricane, and now lives in Splendora, north of Houston. I suppose can be expected to familiar with the effects of hurricanes. (Photo via Google Earth from my parents.)
My aunt lives in Houston itself.
UPDATE, 9/23: My sister, who just called to tell me that New Orleans was in trouble from the Rita storm surge, tells me the following sad story.
My grandmother had an older sister who is buried in Galveston, an indirect casualty of the Galveston hurricane and the one following in 1915 (a Category 4). The family, originally from Kuopio, Finland, came to Galveston to aid in post-hurricane reconstruction. My great grandfather was (I think) a stone mason. My grandmother's sister, Lila Miettinen born in about 1913 in Galveston, TX, and died in about 1915 in Galveston, TX at age 2, is said to have drank kerosene and died. (as the mother of a two-year-old I find this story hard to take.)
A hurricane hit Galveston August 16-17th, 1915 and wiped out their house, a modest house in the neighborhood where workmen lived. When the family was living in emergency housing Lila got into the kerosene. She died in John Sealy Hospital six weeks later.
She was buried in Galveston, but the grave is 30 ft. down because the height of the land was later raised in preparation for future hurricanes or perhaps for a road.
Also, went I was lazily looking for my own blog post on Galveston, I Googled "Galveston Cramer" and discovered to my dismay that a "Miss Bessie Cramer" is listed among the dead for the 1900 hurricane. The odds we are related? My guess is about 50-50.
SO, yes. I guess if my grandmother survided a Category 4 hurricane hitting Galveston in 1915, she can be presumed to know a bit about them.
(Photo of workers homes detroyed in the 1915 hurricane from the Galveston and Texas History Center at the Rosenberg Library.)