Or so you would think from the way people are acting. Here’s the deal: Houston and areas closer to the coast have a real and immediate concern. From what I understand, Austin does not.

We may get some really strong storms and winds, and might possibly lose power at some point and maybe in a worst case scenario, tornadoes. The worst part of what’s going on here is the panic and fear going on. Stores are sold out of water, batteries and candles. I’ve heard personal accounts of people witnessing others wrestling over the palette of water that was brought out from the store room, or elbowing each other for a can of tuna. People are “stocking up”, and in some cases leaving town. From everything I’ve seen and heard this is all extreme overreaction. Sure, there’s no harm in being prepared and having some emergency supplies available, but odds are that this will not be any worse than some of the worse storms that blow through here. It certainly isn’t the apocalypse that many seem to be preparing for.
A co-worker sent out a very good summary of our situation in an email:

To calm the nerves of those not familiar with Texas topography… Austin is in the heart of the hill country… the elevation is quite a bit higher than our gulf coast brethren… this means a large amount of landmass is between us and the coast that will dissipate hurricanes and tropical storms significantly… a hurricane is fueled by the warm ocean waters it develops over, without that it will lose its oomph… its like rolling a ball up a hill… eventually it’ll stop going up hill… we’re VERY far up hill…

In summary: