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Bard
09-20-2005, 12:31 PM
Rita Strengthens Into Category 2 Hurricane




Sep 20, 1:31 PM (ET)

By MICHELLE SPITZER

(AP) Restaurant worker Richard Smith looks out at an empty Ocean Drive as the effects of Hurrricane Rita...
Full Image



KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Rita strengthened rapidly on Tuesday to a Category 2 hurricane as it lashed the Florida Keys with flooding rain and strong wind and sparked fears the storm could eventually bring new misery to the Gulf Coast.

Rita went from a tropical storm with top sustained wind of 70 mph early Tuesday to a hurricane with 100 mph wind by early afternoon as it passed just south of the Keys, the National Hurricane Center said.

Thousands of residents and tourists had fled the low-lying island chain, where forecasters said Rita could dump up to 8 inches of rain, down from earlier forecasts of up to 15 inches.

Rita threatened to continue gaining strength as it left Florida and crossed the warm Gulf of Mexico for a weekend landfall, most likely in Texas although Louisiana or northern Mexico could end up in the path of what could become a major hurricane.

"Farther out, we do anticipate further strengthening up to Category 3, or major hurricane status," Chris Sisko, a meteorologist at the hurricane center, said before Rita rose to Category 2. Category 3 storms have maximum sustained wind of 130 mph.

Data from a hurricane chase plane confirmed the increase to 100 mph wind, the hurricane center said.

browneyedK
09-20-2005, 02:45 PM
The hotels in my town are booked along with B & B's and RV Parks. We have been bombarded with evacuees wanting a place to stay. The news said this morning that even our community is in the path of this hurricane and we are in between Austin and Houston.

I may have a house full this weekend. My son and daughter in law live in Houston along with friends of ours. I have told them all to BE HERE...front and center.

We have an emergency management meeting tomorrow. We are on a major highway between Austin and Houston and are expecting alot of traffic.

I was in touch with others chambers in our area today and all of their hotels are booked as well.

I'm ready for this weather to calm.

Bard
09-20-2005, 03:34 PM
K

Wishing you well K,

Thanks for the report...

I'm interested in first hand reports, from any in the path of Rita..

Please report in.

browneyedK
09-20-2005, 03:46 PM
I will Bard.

Ya know another eerie thing? I posted at IP's place about the hummingbird refugees? Well for the past 2 to 3 weeks, we have had tons of hummingbirds. We have been feeding them two and three times a day. Probably 40 to 50 in my backyard when we are used to two or three. And not only at our home, but everywhere here.

And today? They have all left.

My hubby told me that they too, sense another one coming.

It's really interesting.

I'll stay in touch!

Bard
09-20-2005, 06:27 PM
Storm Could Strengthen to Category 4
By MICHELLE SPITZER, AP

http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050918114309990001

KEY WEST, Fla. (Sept. 20) - Rapidly strengthening Hurricane Rita lashed the Florida Keys on Tuesday and headed into the Gulf of Mexico, where forecasters feared it could develop into another blockbuster storm targeting Texas or Louisiana.

Thousands of people were evacuated from the Keys and low-lying areas of northern Cuba. On the far side of the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Galveston started evacuations and officials made plans to move refugees from Hurricane Katrina who had been housed in the Houston area to Arkansas.

Forecasters said Rita could intensify in the Gulf of Mexico into a Category 4 storm with winds of at least 131 mph. The most likely destination by week's end was Texas, although Louisiana and northern Mexico were possibilities, according to the hurricane center.

Acting FEMA Director R. David Paulison told reporters that the agency has aircraft and buses available to evacuate residents of areas the hurricane might hit. Rescue teams and truckloads of ice, water and prepared meals were being sent to Texas and Florida.

"I strongly urge Gulf coast residents to pay attention" to the storm, he said.

Stung by criticism of the government's slow initial response to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush signed an emergency declaration for Florida and spoke with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about planning for the storm's landfall.

"All up and down the coastline people are now preparing for what is anticipated to be another significant storm," Bush said.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said more than 2,000 Florida National Guard troops and dozens of law enforcement officers were ready to deal with the storm's aftermath, although it appeared the Keys were spared the storm's full fury.

"I think we did, so far, dodge a bullet," said Key West Mayor Jimmy Weekley.

Rita started the day as a tropical storm with top sustained wind of 70 mph. But as it cruised through the Florida Straits between the Keys and Cuba, it gathered energy from the warm sea and by early afternoon it had top wind of 100 mph with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said.

Bush received a briefing about Rita aboard the USS Iwo Jima, which is docked near downtown New Orleans, as the hurricane caused new anxiety among Katrina victims in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

"There's still plenty of warm water that it needs to move over in the next couple days. The forecast is favorable for further intensification," said Michelle Mainelli, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center.

Residents and visitors had been ordered out of the Keys, and voluntary evacuation orders were posted for coastal mainland areas such as Miami Beach. Some 58,000 people were evacuated in Cuba, on the southern side of the Florida Straits.

Many of Key West's shops and bars were boarded up.

"This city was really very well prepared," said Jim Gilleran, owner of the 801 Bar in the Old Town section of Key West. He kept his business open despite the heavy rain and a power outage.

At least one segment of the Keys highway, U.S. 1, was barricaded because of water and debris, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Wind-driven water was flowing across other sections of the two- and three-lane highway that connects the Keys.

At 5 p.m. EDT, Rita's eye was about 50 miles south-southwest of Key West. The storm was moving west at 15 mph on a track that would keep the most destructive winds at sea, the center said.

Nearly 900 miles from Key West, officials of Galveston were already calling for voluntary evacuations, with mandatory evacuations to begin Wednesday. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco urged everyone in the southwest part of the state to prepare to evacuate.

Even those who had survived major hurricanes were getting ready to leave. Catherine Womack, 71, was busy boarding up the windows on her one-story brick house in Galveston.

"Destination unknown," she said. "I've never left before. I think because of Katrina, there is a lot of anxiety and concern. It's better to be safe than sorry."

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin suspended his plan Monday to start bringing residents back to the city after warnings that Rita could follow Hurricane Katrina's course and rupture his city's weakened levees.

The Pentagon stationed coordinating officers and staff at Tallahassee, Fla., and Austin, Texas, to assist storm preparations and recovery. The USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship, was off Florida's Atlantic coast near Jacksonville, preparing to follow behind Rita to support relief efforts.

Crude-oil futures rose above $67 a barrel Monday, in part because of worries about Rita 's effect on Gulf of Mexico production, but dropped briefly below $65 on Tuesday.

Oil companies and drilling contractors increased offshore rig and platform evacuations. Katrina destroyed 46 platforms and rigs and significantly damaged 18 platforms and rigs, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Rita is the 17th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, making this the fourth-busiest season since record-keeping started in 1851. The record is 21 tropical storms in 1933. Six hurricanes have hit Florida in the last 13 months.

The hurricane season isn't over until Nov. 30.

Associated Press writers Jill Barton in Marathon and Vanessa Arrington in Varadero, Cuba, contributed to this report.


AP-ES-09-20-05 1856EDT

Bard
09-20-2005, 08:56 PM
Hurricane Expert Sees Storms Increasing


Sep 20, 10:20 PM (ET)

By JOHN J. LUMPKIN

WASHINGTON (AP) - Expect more hurricanes large and small in the next 10 to 20 years, the director of the federal National Hurricane Center said Tuesday.

Max Mayfield told a congressional panel that he believes the Atlantic Ocean is in a cycle of increased hurricane activity that parallels an increase that started in the 1940s and ended in the 1960s.

The ensuing lull lasted until 1995, then "it's like somebody threw a switch," Mayfield said. The number and power of hurricanes increased dramatically.

Under questioning by members of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on disaster prevention and prediction, he shrugged off the notion that global warming played a role, saying instead it was a natural cycle in the Atlantic Ocean that fluctuates every 25 to 40 years.

Mayfield predicted several more named tropical storms this year. The latest, Hurricane Rita, is the 17th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which ends Nov. 1. Since record-keeping started in 1851, the record is 21 tropical storms, in 1933.

Mayfield also listed a number of cities and regions in addition to New Orleans he believes are "especially vulnerable" to damage from a major hurricane: Houston and Galveston, Texas; Tampa; southern Florida and the Florida Keys; New York City and Long Island; and New England.

"Katrina will not be the last major hurricane to hit a vulnerable area," he said.

The center's predictions on Katrina's movements were more accurate than usual, but the storm grew more intense more quickly than expected as it moved through the Gulf of Mexico, he said. Three days before it made landfall on Aug. 29, computer models predicted it would hit near New Orleans.

Asked to assess the nation's ability to track hurricanes, one expert before the panel said forecasters have grown better at predicting the path of a storm over a few days but lag in their ability to gauge its intensity, rainfall distribution and surge in water levels.

Better sensors, computers and computer models of hurricane behavior can lead to improved forecasts, said Keith Blackwell of the Coast Weather Research Center at the University of South Alabama.

Senators praised the National Hurricane Center's accurate prediction of Katrina's track, calling it one of the few things the government has done correctly in regards to the storm.

"The people that did get out from the storm owe their lives to you and your people," said Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

---

On the net:

National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Bard
09-20-2005, 11:39 PM
Storm Could Strengthen to Category 4
By MICHELLE SPITZER, AP

KEY WEST, Fla. (Sept. 21) - Hurricane Rita strengthened into a Category 3 storm packing 115 mph winds early Wednesday after lashing the Florida Keys and sparking anxiety as it headed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters feared Rita could further intensify in the Gulf and the storm's most likely destination by week's end was Texas, although Louisiana and northern Mexico were possibilities.

On the far side of the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Galveston started evacuations and officials made plans to move refugees from Hurricane Katrina who had been housed in the Houston area to Arkansas.

Acting FEMA Director R. David Paulison told reporters that the agency has aircraft and buses available to evacuate residents of areas the hurricane might hit. Rescue teams and truckloads of ice, water and prepared meals were being sent to Texas and Florida.

"I strongly urge Gulf coast residents to pay attention" to the storm, he said.

Stung by criticism of the government's slow initial response to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush signed an emergency declaration for Florida even though it appeared Rita had largely spared the Keys.

"All up and down the coastline people are now preparing for what is anticipated to be another significant storm," Bush said.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said more than 2,000 Florida National Guard troops and dozens of law enforcement officers were ready to deal with the storm's aftermath.

"I think we did, so far, dodge a bullet," said Key West Mayor Jimmy Weekley.

Rita started the day as a tropical storm with top sustained wind of 70 mph. But as it cruised through the Florida Straits between the Keys and Cuba, it gathered energy from the warm sea.

Bush received a briefing about Rita aboard the USS Iwo Jima, which is docked near downtown New Orleans, as the hurricane caused new anxiety among Katrina victims in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

"There's still plenty of warm water that it needs to move over in the next couple days. The forecast is favorable for further intensification," said Michelle Mainelli, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center.

Residents and visitors had been ordered out of the Keys, and voluntary evacuation orders were posted for coastal mainland areas such as Miami Beach. Some 130,000 people were evacuated in Cuba, on the southern side of the Florida Straits.

Many of Key West's shops and bars were boarded up.

"This city was really very well prepared," said Jim Gilleran, owner of the 801 Bar in the Old Town section of Key West. He kept his business open despite the heavy rain and a power outage.

At least one segment of the Keys highway, U.S. 1, was barricaded because of water and debris, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Wind-driven water was flowing across other sections of the two- and three-lane highway that connects the Keys.

At 2 a.m. EDT, Rita's eye was about 145 miles west of Key West. The storm was moving west at 14 mph _ a track that kept the most destructive winds at sea and away from Key West.

Nearly 900 miles from Key West, officials of Galveston were already calling for voluntary evacuations, with mandatory evacuations to begin Wednesday. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco urged everyone in the southwest part of the state to prepare to evacuate.

Even those who had survived major hurricanes were getting ready to leave. Catherine Womack, 71, was busy boarding up the windows on her one-story brick house in Galveston.

"Destination unknown," she said. "I've never left before. I think because of Katrina, there is a lot of anxiety and concern. It's better to be safe than sorry."

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin suspended his plan Monday to start bringing residents back to the city after warnings that Rita could follow Hurricane Katrina's course and rupture his city's weakened levees.

The Pentagon stationed coordinating officers and staff at Tallahassee, Fla., and Austin, Texas, to assist storm preparations and recovery. The USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship, was off Florida's Atlantic coast near Jacksonville, preparing to follow behind Rita to support relief efforts.

The hurricane lifted crude oil prices more than $1 late Tuesday in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, sending futures back above $67 a barrel as workers fled facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Katrina destroyed 46 platforms and rigs and significantly damaged 18 platforms and rigs, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Rita is the 17th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, making this the fourth-busiest season since record-keeping started in 1851. The record is 21 tropical storms in 1933. Six hurricanes have hit Florida in the last 13 months.

The hurricane season isn't over until Nov. 30.

Associated Press writers Jill Barton in Marathon and Vanessa Arrington in Varadero, Cuba, contributed to this report.


09-21-05 02:15 EDT

Rabbit392
09-21-2005, 01:11 AM
Prayers to those in Rita's path. Please heed evacuation warnings.

basca
09-21-2005, 06:17 AM
Interesting map of where the rigs are in that area. http://gom.rigzone.com/rita.asp

Current satellite image of Rita: http://sirocco.accuweather.com/sat_mosaic_400x300_public/EI/isaecar.gif

browneyedK
09-21-2005, 06:39 AM
Rita, Now Category 4, Heads for Gulf Coast By MICHELLE SPITZER, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 2 minutes ago


KEY WEST, Fla. - Rita intensified into a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday with wind of 135 mph, deepening concerns that the storm could devastate coastal Texas and already-battered Louisiana by week's end.

Mandatory evacuations already have been ordered for New Orleans and Galveston, Texas, one day after Rita skirted the Florida Keys as a Category 2 storm, causing minimal damage.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff urged residents to heed calls for evacuation Wednesday.

"The lesson is that when the storm hits, the best place to be is to be out of the path of the storm," he told ABC's "Good Morning America." "There's plenty of (advance) notice about Rita."

The storm is expected to remain a Category 4 storm until it makes landfall, meteorologist Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. That's now predicted for Saturday somewhere between northern Mexico and western Louisiana, most likely in Texas.

"But our ability to forecast wind speed is limited," Landsea said. He said the storm could strengthen to Category 5 with wind in excess of 155 mph or ease to Category 3, with wind less than 130 mph.

Acting Federal Emergency Management Agency Director R. David Paulison said the agency has aircraft and buses available to evacuate residents of areas the hurricane might hit. Rescue teams and truckloads of ice, water and prepared meals were being sent to Texas.

"I strongly urge Gulf Coast residents to pay attention," he said.

Stung by criticism of the government's slow initial response to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush signed an emergency declaration for Florida and spoke with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about planning for the storm's landfall.

"Up and down the coastline, people are now preparing for what is anticipated to be another significant storm," Bush said.

Perry said Texans are taking the warnings seriously.

"I think Texas is as prepared as any state in the nation," he told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday.

Rita created relatively few problems along Florida's Keys, where thousands of relieved residents who evacuated were expected to begin returning in earnest on Wednesday.

During daytime hours, several stretches of the Keys' highway, U.S. 1, were barricaded because of water and debris; by nightfall, only one small problem area remained and the entire highway was passable, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

There were reports of localized flooding, and some sections of the Lower Keys remained without power early Wednesday. But the storm's eye did not hit land.

"It was fairly nothing," said Gary Wood, who owns a bar in Marathon, about 45 miles northeast of Key West. "It came through and had a good stiff wind, but that was about it."

In Key Colony Beach, an oceanfront island off Marathon, Mayor Clyde Burnett said a restaurant and hotel were damaged by water and wind, but widespread problems simply didn't arrive as expected.

Visitors ordered out of the Keys will be invited back Friday, and virtually all other voluntary evacuation advisories in South Florida were lifted after Rita roared past.

Now, all eyes following Rita are turning toward the Gulf of Mexico where the hurricane is causing new anxiety among Katrina victims in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama and concern around the world about possible damage to oil producing facilities.

At 8 a.m. EDT, Rita's eye was about 195 miles west of Key West. The storm was moving west at 14 mph a track that kept the most destructive winds at sea and away from Key West. Maximum sustained wind increased to near 135 mph.

"There's still plenty of warm water that it needs to move over in the next couple days. The forecast is favorable for further intensification," Michelle Mainelli, a hurricane center meteorologist, said earlier.

Those were words that Gulf Coast residents certainly did not want to hear. Even those who had survived major hurricanes were getting ready to leave, not wanting to challenge Rita's potential wrath or cling to hope that they'd be spared in the same manner the Keys were.

"Destination unknown," said Catherine Womack, 71, who was boarding up the windows on her one-story brick house in Galveston. "I've never left before. I think because of Katrina, there is a lot of anxiety and concern. It's better to be safe than sorry."

About 80 buses were set to leave the city Wednesday for shelters 100 miles north in Huntsville. The buses were part of a mandatory evacuation ordered by officials in Galveston County, which has a population of nearly 267,000.

"We've always asked people to leave earlier, but because of Katrina, they are now listening to us and they're leaving as we say," said Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas.

Rita is the 17th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, making this the fourth-busiest season since record-keeping started in 1851. The record is 21 tropical storms in 1933. And with Rita, seven hurricanes have hit or passed near Florida in the last 13 1/2 months.

The hurricane season isn't over until Nov. 30.

Bard
09-21-2005, 12:05 PM
Update

http://apnews.myway.com//article/20050921/D8COQB9G1.html

Bard
09-21-2005, 02:45 PM
Rita is now a cat 5 CANE!

http://apnews.myway.com//article/20050921/D8COT3P03.html

browneyedK
09-21-2005, 02:53 PM
Yes it is.

I just talked to my son. Houston is pretty much shutting down. He said that the traffic is SO thick and it's hard to get out. He and my daughter in law are gonna leave later tonight.

We were in meetings ALL day today. The traffic in my city is BACKED UP!

I'm gonna have a house full and as I said yesterday our motels and lodging are all booked up. We have ppl here opening up their homes to families.

Red Cross is opening up 2 shelters here.

What is expected where I live is very strong winds, heavy rain and tornadoes.
The eye of the storm is expected to travel right through here.

Scary stuff!

Bard
09-21-2005, 03:02 PM
Keep us informed with your reports please K.

Prayers going out to you & yours & all, in this storms path.

StandinOnAChair
09-21-2005, 03:03 PM
Friends in Houston have stated schools are closed tomorrow and Friday. All sporting events - high school and college - cancelled. Traffic is unbearable in Houston anyways but is now a nightmare. Those along the bayou and in flood zones are under mandatory evacuation.

Bard
09-21-2005, 03:06 PM
Standin,

Please keep the first hand reports coming in, and all who are in the path of this monster storm, PLEASE report in.

Be safe Standin.

StandinOnAChair
09-21-2005, 03:21 PM
Thanks Bard but I am safely camped in Lubbock. I did live in Houston for over 20 years and have lifelong friends there. I am in constant contact with them so what I learn - you learn.

Bard
09-21-2005, 06:01 PM
Rita Unleashes Category 5 Fury Over Gulf

http://apnews.myway.com//article/20050922/D8COVFA86.html


Sep 21, 8:15 PM (ET)

By PAM EASTON

(AP) Joe McGee stands in the pounding surf at the Southern Most Point in Key West, Fla. Tuesday, Sept....
Full Image

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - Gaining strength with frightening speed, Hurricane Rita swirled toward the Gulf Coast a Category 5, 165-mph monster Wednesday as more than 1.3 million people in Texas and Louisiana were sent packing on orders from authorities who learned a bitter lesson from Katrina.

"It's scary. It's really scary," Shalonda Dunn said as she and her 5- and 9-year-old daughters waited to board a bus arranged by emergency authorities in Galveston. "I'm glad we've got the opportunity to leave. ... You never know what can happen."

With Rita projected to hit Texas by Saturday, Gov. Rick Perry urged residents along the state's entire coast to begin evacuating. And New Orleans braced for the possibility that the storm could swamp the misery-stricken city all over again.

Galveston, low-lying parts of Corpus Christi and Houston, and mostly emptied-out New Orleans were under mandatory evacuation orders as Rita sideswiped the Florida Keys and began drawing energy with terrifying efficiency from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Between 2 a.m. and 4 p.m., it went from a 115-mph Category 2 to a 165-mph Category 5.


(AP) In this photo, provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, traffic flows back into the Florida Keys...
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Forecasters said Rita could be the most intense hurricane on record ever to hit Texas, and easily one of the most powerful ever to plow into the U.S. mainland. Category 5 is the highest on the scale, and only three Category 5 hurricanes are known to have hit the U.S. mainland - most recently, Andrew, which smashed South Florida in 1992.

Government officials eager to show they had learned their lessons from the sluggish response to Katrina sent in hundreds of buses to evacuate the poor, moved out hospital and nursing home patients, dispatched truckloads of water, ice and ready-made meals, and put rescue and medical teams on standby. An Army general in Texas was told to be ready to assume control of a military task force in Rita's wake.

"We hope and pray that Hurricane Rita will not be a devastating storm, but we got to be ready for the worst," President Bush said in Washington.

By late afternoon, Rita was centered more than 700 miles southeast of Corpus Christi. Forecasters predicted it would come ashore along the central Texas coast between Galveston and Corpus Christi.

But with its breathtaking size - tropical storm-force winds extending 350 miles across - practically the entire western end of the U.S. Gulf Coast was in peril, and even a slight rightward turn could prove devastating to the fractured levees protecting New Orleans.


(AP) Automobiles line up to leave the Galveston, Texas area as people evacuate Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2005....
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In the Galveston-Houston-Corpus Christi area, about 1.3 million people were under orders to get out, in addition to 20,000 or more along with the Louisiana coast. Special attention was given to hospitals and nursing homes, three weeks after scores of sick and elderly patients in the New Orleans area drowned in Katrina's floodwaters or died in the stifling heat while waiting to be rescued.

Military personnel in South Texas started moving north, too. Schools, businesses and universities were also shut down.

Galveston was a virtual ghost town by mid-afternoon Wednesday. In neighborhoods throughout the island city, the few people left were packing the last of their valuables and getting ready to head north.

Helicopters, ambulances and buses were used to evacuate 200 patients from Galveston's only hospital. And at the Edgewater Retirement Community, a six-story building near the city's seawall, 200 elderly residents were not given a choice.

"They either go with a family member or they go with us, but this building is not safe sitting on the seawall with a major hurricane coming," said David Hastings, executive director. "I have had several say, 'I don't want to go,' and I said, 'I'm sorry, you're going.'"


(AP) In this photo, provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, front-end loaders work to clear sand and...
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Galveston, a city of 58,000 on a coastal island 8 feet above sea level, was the site of one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history: an unnamed hurricane in 1900 that killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people and practically wiped the city off the map.

The last major hurricane to strike the Houston area was Category-3 Alicia in 1983. It flooded downtown Houston, spawned 22 tornadoes and left 21 people dead.

In Houston, the state's largest city and home to the highest concentration of Katrina refugees, the area's geography makes evacuation particularly tricky. While many hurricane-prone cities are right on the coast, Houston is 60 miles inland, so a coastal suburban area of 2 million people must evacuate through a metropolitan area of 4 million people where the freeways are often clogged under the best of circumstances.

Mayor Bill White urged residents to look out for more than themselves.

"There will not be enough government vehicles to go and evacuate everybody in every area," he said. "We need neighbor caring for neighbor."


(AP) This satellite image provided by NOAA and taken at 18:45 EDT Tuesday Sept. 20, 2005 shows Hurricane...
Full Image


At the Galveston Community Center, where 1,500 evacuees had been put on school buses to points inland, another lesson from Katrina was put into practice: To overcome the reluctance of people to evacuate without their pets, they were allowed to bring them along in crates.

"It was quite a sight," Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said. "We were able to put people on with their dog crates, their cat crates, their shopping carts. It went very well."

But Thomas warned late Wednesday that the city was nearly out of buses. She said those left on the island will have to find a way off or face riding out a storm that is "big enough to destroy part of the island, if not a great part of the county."

City Manager Steve LeBlanc said the storm surge could reach 50 feet. Galveston is protected by a seawall that is only 17 feet tall.

Rita approached as the death toll from Katrina passed the 1,000 mark - to 1,036 - in five Gulf Coast states. The body count in Louisiana alone was put at 799, most found in the receding floodwaters of New Orleans.

The Army Corps of Engineers raced to fortify the city's patched-up levees for fear the additional rain could swamp the walls and flood the city all over again. The Corps said New Orleans' levees can only handle up to 6 inches of rain and a storm surge of 10 to 12 feet.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin estimated only 400 to 500 people remained in the vulnerable east bank areas of the city. They, too, were ordered to evacuate. But only a few people lined up for the evacuation buses provided. Most of the people still in the city were believed to have their own cars.

"I don't think I can stay for another storm," said Keith Price, a nurse at New Orleans' University Hospital who stayed through Katrina and had to wade to safety through chest-deep water. "Until you are actually in that water, you really don't know how frightening it is."

Rita also forced some Katrina refugees to flee a hurricane for the second time in 3 1/2 weeks. More than 1,000 refugees who had been living in the civic center in Lake Charles, near the Texas state line, were being bused to shelters farther north.

"We all have to go along with the system right now, until things get better," said Ralph Russell of the New Orleans suburb of Harvey. "I just hope it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

Crude oil prices rose again on fears that Rita would smash into key oil installations in Texas and the gulf. Hundreds of workers were evacuated from offshore oil rigs. Texas, the heart of U.S. crude production, accounts for 25 percent of the nation's total oil output.

Rita is the 17th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, making this the fourth-busiest season since record-keeping started in 1851. The record is 21 tropical storms in 1933. The hurricane season is not over until Nov. 30.

---

Associated Press Writers Lynn Brezosky in Corpus Christi, Alicia Caldwell in Galveston and Juan A. Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.

---

On the Net:

National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

Bard
09-21-2005, 08:42 PM
175 MPH!

Just upgraded

Peregrina
09-21-2005, 10:34 PM
My friends in Corpus Christi evac'd today. She says that the schools are closed in Corpus and the hospitals are staying open only long enough to get patients out. The nursing homes are the same, and they aren't giving these people a choice, if they don't wanna leave, they are forcibly removed. after what happend to N'Orleans, can't imagine wanting to stay in the path of another storm like that.

randy
09-22-2005, 05:46 AM
It is 7:38am in the morning here in Texas now. The news is saying that Gov Perry is going to make all of IH 45 one way north to help facilitate the evacuation of the Galveston area. Evacuation for Galveston and the surrounding areas is now mandatory and can you believe, even after Katrina, some IDIOTS are refusing to go, WTF!! This time however transportation and shelters ARE BEING PROVIDED ahead of time for those who cannot afford to evacuate on their own. I just got an email from a lady that is 130 miles from Galveston, that I am getting a kitten from. She is not sure whether or not she will be evacuated or not. If you think that gasoline prices are high now, think about all the oil refinerys Iright now I don't care if I misspelled that or not btw,) along the Texas coastline and what that will do to gasoline prices. Fox news is now reporting that gas prices could go up to as much as $5 per gallon. They are also saying that there will probably be gasoline shortages as well, if this Hurricane really hits like it is being predicted to.

We live up in North Central Texas and they are even saying that we are going to get some bad weather out of Rita. This is just unbelievable.

This is OUR collective fault, IMO. We have messed around with and f'ed up our environment so much that this stuff is now the result.

I hope everyone is safe!!

randy
09-22-2005, 06:09 AM
8:04am

They are interviewing a lady on Fox News in Galveston who says she is going to stay. She looks to be about 55-58, she states she is staying and defying the evacuation order for Galveston. Her stated reason why? "To be honest, I just don't think it is gonna hit that hard." She is smiling.

So tell me, when it hits and destroys everything, do we have to put rescuers and their individual life in danger to go find her? She probably DOES NOT have insurance, do we have to pay for her expensive rehabilitative medical care and rebuild her house as well? HOW FREAKING STUPID!

giiglehoot
09-22-2005, 07:57 AM
I saw that woman on Fox this morning Randy. sigh. I sure hope she's right.

Have you seen the predicted inland path of the hurricane? They were saying if it stays this strong, it could hit Dallas as a cat 1 hurricane. This is really scary. And how sad it's happening in my home state. Fortunately, I'm not near it (so far -LOL), but it's like one of my friend's children being ill, or one of my son's friends. It may not affect me directly, but it's close enough to make me very worried.

randy
09-22-2005, 08:05 AM
Yes Giggle I know exactly what you mean. I live in that path as well in North Central Texas. We could get some damage.

I have a bad feeling about this one in my gut. It is going to be bad. Even if it lessens it is going to be horrible.

I just want to be in Galveston for about 5 minutes right now and just slap the dog crap out of that woman on the news earlier this morning. She is a moron. Did she not watch what Katrina did to NO? Did you just see that Galveston man on Fox news that owns a surf board shop on the beach there? He is staying, he too has a "hunch that it is not gonna be that bad."

If a MANDATORY evacuation order was issued, how the F are those people being allowed to stay???

TwiggyAZ
09-22-2005, 09:07 AM
I have friends in Houston and in Bastrop(NW of houston). The ones in Bastrop will be staying, the ones in Houston left last night or Dallas.

Maybe because everyone is so prepared this time it wil peter out and give us a break! That would be nice.

They say the price of gas will go up to $5.00. And amazingly, even tho we get ALL of our gas from California, it also will go up. So, right now it take about $25 to fill my car and I always fill it at 1/4. That means that next week it will cost me that SAME $25 to fill up my motorcycle!!!! Holy crap :tantrum

I do hope that there are no deaths from this and everyone is safe.

Randy you might be glad to hear that when I watch the Tucson, AZ news last night they had three men on from NO, evacuees, that alreay had jobs. All three of them said they refused to be a drain on the taxpayer. :clap Good for them!

I also saw 3 interviews of exactly what I expected and that was very poor people admitting they never had it so good with where they were living and what they were receiving and Katrina was a good thing for them.

Regardless, I hope mother nature chills this time!!!

Bard
09-22-2005, 09:59 AM
Monster Storm Swirls Toward Gulf Coast

http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050918114309990001

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL

GALVESTON, Texas (Sept. 22) - Traffic came to a standstill and gas shortages were reported Thursday as hundreds of thousands of people in the Houston metropolitan area rushed to get out of the path of Hurricane Rita, a monster storm with 170 mph winds.

More than 1.3 million residents in Texas and Louisiana were under orders to get out to avoid a deadly repeat of Katrina.

The Category 5 storm weakened slightly Thursday morning, and forecasters said it could be down to a Category 3 -- meaning winds as high as 130 mph -- by the time it comes ashore late Friday or early Saturday. But it could still be a dangerous storm.

"Don't follow the example of Katrina and wait. No one will come and get you during the storm," said Harris County Judge Robert Eckels said.

Highways leading inland out of Houston were gridlocked, with traffic bumper-to-bumper for up to 100 miles north of the city. Gas stations were reported to be running out of gas. Shoppers emptied grocery store shelves of spaghetti, tuna and other nonperishable items.

To speed the evacuation out of the nation's fourth-largest city, Gov. Rick Perry halted all southbound traffic into Houston along Interstate 45 and took the unprecedented stop of opening all eight lanes to northbound traffic out of the city for 125 miles. I-45 is the primary evacuation route north from Houston and Galveston.

Police officers along the highways carried gasoline to help people get out of town.

At 8 a.m. EDT, Rita was centered about 490 miles southeast of Galveston and was moving at near 9 mph. It winds were 170 mph, down slightly from 175 mph earlier in the day. Forecasters predicted it would come ashore along the central Texas coast between Galveston and Corpus Christi, with up to 15 inches of rain in places.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 70 miles from the center of the storm, and even a slight rightward turn could prove devastating to the fractured levees protecting New Orleans.

"Now is not a time for warnings. Now is a time for action," Houston Mayor Bill White said.

He added: "There is no good place to put a shelter that could take a direct hit from a Category 5 hurricane. I don't want anybody out there watching this and thinking that somebody is bound to open a local school for me on Friday, not with a hurricane packing these kinds of winds."

The U.S. mainland has never been hit by both a Category 4 and a Category 5 in the same season. Katrina at one point became a Category 5 storm, but weakened slightly to a Category 4 just before coming ashore.

In the Galveston-Houston-Corpus Christi area, about 1.3 million people were under orders to get out, in addition to 20,000 or more along with the Louisiana coast. Special attention was given to hospitals and nursing homes, three weeks after scores of sick and elderly patients in the New Orleans area drowned in Katrina's floodwaters or died in the stifling heat while waiting to be rescued.

Galveston was already a virtual ghost town. The city's lone hospital was evacuated along with residents of a six-story retirement home.

The coastal city of 58,000 on an island 8 feet above sea level was nearly wiped off the map in 1900 when an unnamed hurricane killed between 6,000 and 12,000. It remains the nation's worst natural disaster.

City Manager Steve LeBlanc said the storm surge could reach 50 feet. Galveston is protected by a seawall that is only 17 feet tall.

"Not a good picture for us," LeBlanc said.

In Houston, the state's largest city and home to the highest concentration of Katrina refugees, geography makes evacuation particularly tricky. While many hurricane-prone cities are right on the coast, Houston is 60 miles inland, so a coastal suburban area of 2 million people must evacuate through a metropolitan area of 4 million people where the freeways are often clogged under the best of circumstances.

By late Wednesday, the blinking taillights of motorists headed north from Houston could be seen from planes landing at Houston's William P. Hobby Airport on the south side of the city. All routes leading north and west were jammed with vehicles.

A family of three, two children in wheelchairs, and a tired-looking woman in hospital scrubs sat in a darkened and deserted bus stop just off Interstate 610, waiting for a ride.

Galveston's mayor said buses used to take people and their pets off the island were running in short supply Wednesday and warned that stragglers could be left to fend for themselves.

Meanwhile, the death toll from Katrina passed the 1,000 mark Wednesday in five Gulf Coast states. The body count in Louisiana alone was put at nearly 800, most found in the receding floodwaters of New Orleans.

Crude oil prices rose again on fears that Rita would destroy key oil installations in Texas and the gulf. Hundreds of workers were evacuated from offshore oil rigs. Texas, the heart of U.S. crude production, accounts for 25 percent of the nation's total oil output.

Rita is the 17th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, making this the fourth-busiest season since record-keeping started in 1851. The record is 21 tropical storms in 1933. The hurricane season is not over until Nov. 30.

Jennifer McDonald in Galveston planned to ride Rita out. She and her husband have enough food and water to last 10 days in their wooden house. If it gets really bad, the couple will take to the roof.

"If it goes, it goes," the 42-year-old nurse said of the house. "We're completely prepared."


9/22/2005 09:23:24

LuckyMe1st
09-22-2005, 11:33 AM
We got the call about 10:00 A.M. CST today to expect approx 2,000 special needs evacuees arriving via plane this afternoon. We are not sure what the special needs are exactly at this time, but we are prepared to Welcome them to our home. I understand most of them are from the Beaumont area.

God help the families in the path of this storm. I thought living through Cat 3 and Cat 2 hurricanes was horrific--I CANNOT IMAGINE how frightening this will be for young & old alike. And all of the animals...makes me sad, just to think how defenseless they will be.

gabby
09-22-2005, 01:02 PM
I have a lot of family living in Houston. Some left yesterday, some are leaving today. There is one family (my BIL) that is staying. I think he is a fool for staying, but that is his choice. I know he has been warned just like the rest of the family, and if he is stupid, then no one can make a stupid person do something smart enough to save themselves heartache and problems.

I would have left 3 days ago, if I lived down in that area.

basca
09-22-2005, 08:29 PM
some are too weird, never mind. that was not my album, that was put up courtesy of photobucket... :poke

Peregrina
09-22-2005, 08:33 PM
If they choose to stay, then that is their decision, but I feel no sympathy for them if this storm really is as bad as they are predicting.

Bard
09-22-2005, 09:02 PM
Please...

Get me some news, there are no updates on the internet, we have no cable, is this fucking traffic moving or not?

ANYONE with communication with these folks please report in and update us

Thank you, and God Bless all in this pathway of Rita.

Sorry, but they should have thought of gridlock....wtf?

God help us, if such a thing took place in L.A. or Orange County, gridlock would be guarenteed.

There is NO way around it I suspect.

Bard
09-23-2005, 08:46 AM
Update

http://apnews.myway.com//article/20050923/D8CQ20G80.html

basca
09-23-2005, 08:49 AM
As far as the traffic goes Bard, they opened the inbound lanes to outbound people. Both sides of the highways are being used to get people out. It has improved a bit but the bus situation slowed things down for a while, creating a 17 mile back up, I believe. They have fuel trucks go back and forth refilling those who have run out of gas. However, they are concerned about running out of fuel for those trucks one news place said.

Bard
09-23-2005, 08:55 AM
New Orleans levy ready to break again!


http://apnews.myway.com//article/20050923/D8CQ26NO0.html

StandinOnAChair
09-23-2005, 09:03 AM
According to the news reports waters are already flooding into the 9th Ward again. Unbelievable.

StandinOnAChair
09-23-2005, 09:05 AM
viewing the traffic cams in Houston was unbelievable. I wouldn't have been able to get home from work! Long, long lines of traffic everywhere.

Will try and get updates from those in transit and those staying put.

Bard
09-23-2005, 09:08 AM
Ty Standin,

Can you tell us once again where you are located if you don't mind?

And again, ty for any first hand report you can give us.

Are these folks in traffic going to get out of town before this baby hits or not?

randy
09-23-2005, 09:12 AM
http://flhurricane.com/cyclone/stormspotlight.php?year=2005&storm=18

LuckyMe1st
09-23-2005, 09:40 AM
Rod, Standin is in Lubbock as I am. At this time we have 697 special needs evacuees housed here. These folks are one's that need special medication, are older seasoned citizens, some are mentally challenged but all are in need of love and support. One little lady will spend her 100th birthday Sunday in a shelter far from home and family. We will do what we can to make it up to her.

StandinOnAChair
09-23-2005, 09:54 AM
Here's the actual evacuees we have in Lubbock as of 6:40 AM this morning: and with two more flights expected today the 771 number will go way up. Alot of people are helping out. Events at the Civic Center are being shifted to other locations and other rooms in the CC to accomodate people being put there.


The following statistics are the most current numbers for the Hurricane
Rita Relief effort in Lubbock.

Total evacuees in the city as of 6:40 AM 771
People housed at Reese 500 (at capacity)
People housed in the Coliseum 247
People housed in nursing homes 16
People admitted to the hospital 8
People taking dialysis - 5
People housed in respite homes - 7
Additional shelters will be opened as needed.

A total of 8 flights landed in Lubbock between 5:30 p.m. Thursday, and
6:40 a.m. today. We are expecting two more flights at 11 a.m. and 4:30
p.m. today.

The Emergency Operations Center will stay in 24-hour full operation for
the time being.

randy
09-23-2005, 09:57 AM
Bard can't you get satellite where you live? It is pretty reliable and fairly economical as well.

Bard
09-23-2005, 10:02 AM
We do not watch tV.

StandinOnAChair
09-23-2005, 01:14 PM
LCVB says all hotel/motel rooms in Lubbock are sold out. More planes have arrived and are Reece facility is full and people are now being put into our civic center.

People still in Houston says it looks like a ghost town - very weird looking. Everything is closed. No banks open, ATM's out of money, no gas, stores closed except a couple convenience stores that wanted to stay open.

Bard
09-23-2005, 02:57 PM
New Orleans levy breaks AGAIN!

:thankyou

http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050824033709990005

StandinOnAChair
09-23-2005, 03:37 PM
From my old boss in Houston:

I asked him how Houston was looking right now:

It looks like scenes from On the Beach after the nuclear bomb. No cars and
few people. All is well at this time.

giiglehoot
09-23-2005, 06:23 PM
From my old boss in Houston:

I asked him how Houston was looking right now:

It looks like scenes from On the Beach after the nuclear bomb. No cars and
few people. All is well at this time.

Houston with no cars and few people.

Houston with no cars and few people.

No cars and few people.

Houston.

Houston, Texas.

No cars and few people.



It looks like scenes from On the Beach after the nuclear bomb. No cars and
few people. All is well at this time.

All is well at this time?

No cars and few people.

Houston.

Houston, Texas?

No cars and few people.

This is haunting.

But shit, they're all in Dallas. I wouldn't go to Dallas on a good day, why the hell anyone would want to run away to there is beyond me. For that matter, I don't think I have been in Houston since the 70's. That is by choice.

Galveston is pretty cool. But there's that horrendous highway getting to it. I have a fear of heights, and can't ride roller coasters and that damn highway isn't any different. Galveston turns their strand into Dickens Christmas Carol every year. It is beautiful.

Corpus is kind of nasty. Parts of Texas' coasts are very protected. but I think Corpus got left out. The last time I was there, at my friend's house, I found a mouse in the toilet. AFTER I got up. I screamed like a girl. (I am a girl, but I don't scream often) It had crawled up through the pipes and was looking at me. A bunch of guys came running in. It wasn't a good day.