A monster of a hurricane is headed for my hometown, Houston, Texas. My Austin home has turned into Hotel Sims and I’ve already reserved all my pillows for friends and even Duchess the Dog. Anyone showing up on my door is welcome. No prior reservation required. Now I sit, patiently waiting.

Text messages arrive from friends who have been sitting on a freeway for 7 hours and still haven’t made it out of Houston. Phone calls strategizing how to get out of a city with over 3 million people. Highways being made one way…to double the capacity out of town.

Dealing with a temperature of 99 degrees plus humidity, stuck on a freeway. Can’t keep the car on or you will run out of gas before you even go 10 miles. One friend is already on her way to the hospital suffering from severe dehydration.

At the moment, it looks like Austin will be spared the brunt of the storm. Forecasts have the storming curving east as it hits. I’ve weathered up to Category 3 during my Houston days, sitting in a hallway with a radio and flashlight trying to pass the time. Never did I have to evacuate.

If you want to see the current path of the storm and get a sense of the damage it will cause based on realtime data, head to TAOS/Mapserver interactive mapping system for Rita. Austin is in Travis county. Houston is in Harris county.

If I had one magic wish for today…I would be Frozone and I’d zap the gulf of Mexico just enough to lower the temperature of the ocean, and turn Rita into a Frozen Marga-Rita. Nothin’ like some ice and tequila to cool down a woman who is dangerously hot and bothered.