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Hurricane Rita Live Thread, Part VIII | September 24, 2005

Posted on 09/24/2005 9:58:36 AM PDT by Howlin

Hurricane Rita landfall is anticipated within the next few hours. Strong winds and heavy rains are battering southern Louisiana and southeastern Texas.

MSM news crews are shouting over the howling winds as they foolishly describe blowing rain, swaying trees, and crashing waves through rain splattered camera lenses. It's a hurricane. We know these things already.

An 18 wheeler rig reportedly overturned on an I-10 bridge. The fate of the truck driver is unknown at this time. Reports of widespread power outages in Lake Charles. KPLC-TV Lake Charles local news has remarkably improvised their reporting from a remote location. They are taking calls from residents, NWS, and public utility representatives, and alerting residents to local conditions.

On the flip side, CNN announced to the world that law enforcement officers had evacuated from Port Arthur TX with the rest of the population. Engraved looter invitations would have been more elegant.

Godspeed to all those in the path of this storm.

The following links are self-updating:

Public Advisory Currently published every 3 hours 5A, 8A, 11A, 2P, etc. ET
NHC Discussion Published every six hours 6A, 11A, 6P, 11P
Three Day Forecast Track
Five Day Forecast Track

Rita Forecast Track Archive
Forecast Models
Buoy Data Western Gulf of Mexico
Houston/Galveston/Beaumont/Lake Charles Wx Watches/Warnings
Jefferson Co TX NWS Weather
Current Weather Warnings and Watches for Texas
Current Weather Warnings and Watches for Louisiana
Hi Res Houston Flood Zone Map Slow load, great detail


Lake Charles Long Range Radar Still image, with loop link
Houston/Galveston Long Range Radar Still image, with loop link
Lake Charles Experimental Radar Outages and Delays May Occur

Storm Floater IR Loop
GOM IR Still Image
Visible Storm Floater Still (only visible during daylight hours)
Color Enhanced Atlantic Loop

Streaming Video: (coverage may be intermittent)

KHOU-TV/DT Houston
KPRC-TV/DT Houston
KTRK-TV/DT Houston
KTRH-AM Houston
KPLC-TV/DT Lake Charles/Lafayette
KSLA-TV/DT Shreveport

Additional Resources:

Hurricane Rita Freeper CHECK IN THREAD

FReeper Sign In Thread (LOCKED) Check in to let us know whether you are staying, going, and when you get there
FReepers Offering Lodging To Rita Evacuees People and/or Pet Friendly FReepers Offering Shelter

KHOU Houston
KTRK ABC News Houston
KPLC Lake Charles Evac Routes, news
KFDM Beaumont/Port Arthur News, evac info
Hurricane City
Wxnation Houston
Galveston Webcams
Golden Triangle Weather Page Provides Galveston Weather, Warnings, Radar, etc.

Category Wind Speed Barometric Pressure Storm Surge Damage Potential
< 39 mph
< 34 kts
39 - 73 mph
34 - 63 kts
Hurricane 1
74 - 95 mph
64 - 82 kts
28.94" or more
980.02 mb or more
4.0' - 5.0'
1.2 m - 1.5 m
Minimal damage to vegetation
Hurricane 2
96 - 110 mph
83 - 95 kts
28.50" - 28.93"
965.12 mb - 979.68 mb
6.0' - 8.0'
1.8 m - 2.4 m
Moderate damage to houses
Hurricane 3
111 - 130 mph
96 - 112 kts
27.91" - 28.49"
945.14 mb - 964.78 mb
9.0' - 12.0'
2.7 m - 3.7 m
Extensive damage to small buildings
Hurricane 4
(Very strong)
131 - 155 mph
113 - 135 kts
27.17" - 27.90"
920.08 mb - 944.80 mb
13.0' - 18.0'
3.9 m - 5.5 m
Extreme structural damage
Hurricane 5
Greater than 155 mph
Greater than 135 kts
Less than 27.17"
Less than 920.08 mb
Greater than 18.0'
Greater than 5.5m
Catastrophic building failures possible

Previous Threads:
Hurricane Rita Live Thread, Part VII
Hurricane Rita Live Thread, Part VI
Hurricane Rita Live Thread, Part V
Hurricane Rita Live Thread, Part IV
Hurricane Rita Live Thread, Part III
Hurricane Rita Live Thread, Part II
Hurricane Rita Live Thread, Part I
Tropical Storm Rita
Tropical Depression 18

TOPICS: Breaking News; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Louisiana; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: hurricanerita; rita; weather
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Continuing coverage of the storm as it moves into Texas and Lousiana.
1 posted on 09/24/2005 9:58:36 AM PDT by Howlin
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To: 4everontheRight; aberaussie; Alas Babylon!; Alia; alnick; Amelia; asp1; AntiGuv; Bahbah; ...

Continuing coverage and discussion...

2 posted on 09/24/2005 9:59:32 AM PDT by Howlin (No, I'm not as nice as NautiNurse. :-))
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To: Howlin


3 posted on 09/24/2005 9:59:56 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "To remain silent when they should protest makes cowards of men." -- THOMAS JEFFERSON)
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To: Howlin

Thanks Howlin :)


4 posted on 09/24/2005 10:01:30 AM PDT by TheForceOfOne (The alternative media is our Enigma machine.)
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To: Howlin; All

Rita Floods Gulf Coast Towns, Sparks Fires

By TIM WHITMIRE, Associated Press Writer;_ylt=AiVQEbDhCbsYqcnvBSnNuuCCbpwv;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

BEAUMONT, Texas - Hurricane Rita slammed into Texas and Louisiana early Saturday, flooding coastal towns, sparking fires and knocking power out to more than 1 million customers, but largely sparing vulnerable Houston, already reeling New Orleans and the region's vital oil refining industry.

Rita made landfall at 3:30 a.m. EDT as a Category 3 storm just east of Sabine Pass, on the Texas-Louisiana line, bringing top winds of 120 mph and warnings of up to 25 inches of rain, the National Hurricane Center said. By late morning, it had weakened to barely above hurricane status, with its sustained winds at 75 mph as it moved north near Jasper.

Fears of severe flooding persisted; parts of the east Texas counties of Jasper and Tyler had received 10 to 12 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities, though rescuers and search teams in many areas had to wait for winds to subside before venturing out. The Energy Department said it appeared the oil industry, especially the concentration of refineries in the Houston-Texas City area, had escaped major damage.

About 3 million people had fled a 500-mile stretch of the Texas-Louisiana coast ahead of the storm, motivated in part by the devastating toll that Hurricane Katrina inflicted on New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast barely three weeks ago.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged those who evacuated Houston and other areas not to return until officials declare their communities safe.

"Be patient, stay put," he said. "If you are in a safe place with food, water, bedding, you are better remaining there for the time being."

The storm triggered tornado warnings as it churned northwest. In Jasper County, a house with seven people inside floated in floodwaters after it came off its foundation, said sheriff's communications supervisor Alice Duckworth.

But the flood-prone cities of Houston and Galveston — largely evacuated over the past four days — escaped a direct hit.

"So far, Houston is weathering the storm," Mayor Bill White said Saturday. His police department received 28 burglary calls overnight and made 16 arrests — less than a typical Friday night, White said.

In New Orleans, rain drenched parts of the abandoned city early Saturday, straining the levee system damaged by Katrina and causing more flooding in already ruined and abandoned poor neighborhoods. But the forecast of up to three inches throughout the day was less than had been previously predicted.

"Overall, it looks like New Orleans has lucked out," National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Grigsby said.

Heavy rain fell south of New Orleans in low-lying Jefferson Parish, where a tidal surge of six to seven feet swamped some neighborhoods. Residents of Lafitte, a town of 1,600 south of New Orleans, were being evacuated by bus.

In southwestern Louisiana, authorities had trouble reaching stranded residents because of blocked roads and savage winds. Some of the worst early damage reports were out of Vinton, where several fires were burning, the roof was torn off the town's recreation center and homes were damaged by fallen trees, Lt. Arthur Phillips said.

A Coast Guard rescue team airlifted a pregnant woman and her 4-year-old son to safety from the flooded coastal town of Port Fourchon, about 60 miles south of New Orleans.

In Lake Charles, home to the nation's 12th-largest seaport and refineries run by ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Citgo and Shell, nearly all 70,000 residents had evacuated. Several riverboat casinos that mostly serve tourists from Texas also closed ahead of the storm.

"We see these storms a little differently after Katrina," said city administrator Paul Rainwater. "We all realize that no matter how safe you feel ... you have to take it seriously, you have to plan."

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said over 90 percent of residents in southwestern parishes, about 150,000 people, had evacuated.

Fires were reported in and around Houston, including one in a two-story apartment building in southeast Houston that left at least eight units damaged, authorities said. Nobody was hurt, according to District Chief Jack Williams. Several buildings were damaged or destroyed by fire in Galveston, and a blaze broke out before dawn at a shopping complex in Pasadena. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

As the sun came up in downtown Beaumont, a port city of 114,000, the few people who stayed behind emerged to find some blown out windows, damaged roofs, signs twisted and lying in the street and scattered downed trees. There was some standing water, but no significant flooding.

The wind was still gusting, but nothing like the 100-mph winds that ripped through early Saturday morning. A light rain was falling.

In Beaumont's nine-story Elegante Hotel in Beaumont, wind blew out massive windows in the hotel lobby, bringing down a chandelier and ripping the roof off another section of lobby.

"We stayed in a stairwell most of the time," said Rainey Chretien, who works at the front desk. "I didn't think it was going to be this bad."

As the storm raged, the torches of oil refineries could be seen burning in the distance from downtown Beaumont. Officials worried about the storm's threat to those facilities and chemical plants strung along the Texas and Louisiana coast.

The facilities represent a quarter of the nation's oil refining capacity and business analysts said damage from Rita could send gas prices as high as $4 a gallon. Environmentalists warned of the risk of a toxic spill.

In the days before the storm's arrival, hundreds of thousands of residents of Texas and Louisiana fled their homes in a mass exodus that produced gridlock and heartbreak.

South of Dallas, a bus of Rita evacuees caught fire in gridlocked traffic, killing as many as 24 nursing home residents who thought they were getting out of harm's way.

Grocery shelves were emptied, gas stations ran out of fuel and motorists had to push their cars to the side of highways after idling for hours in stuck traffic and running out of gas.

White, the Houston mayor, expressed frustration with the gas shortages that left thousands of motorists desperate for gas on the freeways.

"It is just totally unacceptable that there was not adequate fuel supplies stashed around the state," he said.

President Bush, mindful of criticism the federal government was slow to respond to Hurricane Katrina three weeks ago, planned to visit his home state Saturday. He will go to the state's emergency operations center in Austin and then to San Antonio.

Bush, like other officials, urged citizens not to prematurely assume the danger was over.

"Even though the storm has passed the coastline, the situation is still dangerous because of potential flooding," he said. "People who are safe now ought to remain in safe conditions.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest retailer, said Rita forced the closure of 150 of its facilities in Texas and Louisiana. About half of them were without power early Saturday. Home Depot Inc. said 46 of its stores were closed, including 41 in the Houston market.

In Tyler County in eastern Texas, high winds ripped roofs off several buildings, including the police department in Woodville, sheriff's Chief Deputy Clint Sturrock said.

The junior high school in nearby Warren also lost its roof, and fire — likely triggered by lightning — broke out in a pile of logs. "We just let it burn," Sturrock said.

More than 675,000 CenterPoint Energy customers in Texas were without power in the company's service area, which stretches from Galveston into Houston and north to Humble, company spokeswoman Patricia Frank said. Entergy spokesman Chanel Lagarde said about 250,000 of its Texas customers and nearly 300,000 of its Louisiana customers lost power because of Rita.

In Galveston, about 100 miles away from the storm's eye, a fire erupted in the historic Strand district late Friday. Wind-whipped flames leapt across three buildings. City manager Steve LeBlanc said the blaze could have been caused by downed power lines.

"It was like a war zone, shooting fire across the street," Fire Chief Michael Varela said Saturday.


Associated Press writers Brett Martel in Lake Charles, La., and Pam Easton in Galveston, contributed to this report.


On the Net:

National Hurricane Center:

5 posted on 09/24/2005 10:02:09 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "To remain silent when they should protest makes cowards of men." -- THOMAS JEFFERSON)
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To: Howlin


6 posted on 09/24/2005 10:02:57 AM PDT by ruoflaw
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To: Howlin

I was just running errands and tuned in to a random weekend talk show. The host asked an interesting question: Why are electrical power lines still above ground, where they are vulnerable to storms and terrorists?

7 posted on 09/24/2005 10:03:05 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (No amnesty needed...My ancestors proudly served. [remodel of an old '70s bumper sticker])
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To: hispanarepublicana

The same reason you don't see basements there. Too hard, too many rocks and it would be quite expensive to do it.

8 posted on 09/24/2005 10:06:24 AM PDT by Morgan in Denver
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To: TheForceOfOne; All; Gabz; Admin Moderator

I am leaving for a while.

Please put your heads on your desk until the next monitor, Gabz gets here!


Talk softly among yourselves!

9 posted on 09/24/2005 10:06:25 AM PDT by Howlin (No, I'm not as nice as NautiNurse. :-))
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To: janetjanet998

The Corps of Engineers has admitted to "seepage" under the sandbags at the London Canal breach into downtown NO.

The same outfit that said a "trickle" was coming over the 9th Ward levees earlier.

Once water finds a way through to the downstream face of an earthen or concrete dam (or levee) you have a raft of problems, that often do not go away until the water is at the same level on both sides.

Also, about a third of the Rita rain footprint is being dropped in the Mississippi River watershed. It will take time to work it's way to the river, and then more time to flow down to NO, but the Times Picayune has reported that a river lock is open to Lake Pontchartrain.

You can't write off downtown NO to another flood yet, but there is a war going on there, and the enemy is multiplying by the hour.

10 posted on 09/24/2005 10:06:41 AM PDT by jeffers
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Howlin
That tag line is a howler. (But, everybody already knew.)

Thanks for taking on the thread.

12 posted on 09/24/2005 10:07:20 AM PDT by don-o (Don't be a Freeploader. Do the right thing and become a Monthly Donor!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Thanks for the post, lots of info there. "There were no immediate reports of fatalities.." THAT is always good to hear. Though I can imagine the $ impact Rita will cost, add that to Katrina and it becomes mind boggling.. Prayers for all and America..

13 posted on 09/24/2005 10:08:05 AM PDT by SeaBiscuit (God Bless all who defend America and Friends, the rest can go to hell.)
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To: Howlin
I am leaving for a while.

Can I take names?...:-)

14 posted on 09/24/2005 10:08:55 AM PDT by Types_with_Fist (I'm on FReep so often that when I read an article at another site I scroll down for the comments.)
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To: hispanarepublicana
Why are electrical power lines still above ground, where they are vulnerable to storms and terrorists? Quite simply it's because nobody wants to foot the bill to put them underground. The average citizen doesn't want their utility bill to go up, and it would if electric utility companies spent the extra money to replace all existing overhead lines with underground lines.
15 posted on 09/24/2005 10:08:56 AM PDT by garyft
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To: AFPhys
On the same web site, but not easily found with the previous link, is this document detailing "Hurricanes striking U.S. by decade":

Yes, I've seen all those records. There are links along the left side of the page which go to them, and those records put the lie to all the claims about global warming. But the deceived believe what they wish to believe.

Actually, they are not deceived. They believe the lie because they are impervious to the truth. Someone who is deceived and misinformed need only look through these records to be enlightened and reject the lie. But when they are shown the truth, they reject that and cling to the lie.

There are people today who behave as if hurricanes were a totally new phenomenon, an indication that something has changed and that something has gone wrong. Hurricanes are perfectly natural, just as earthquakes are. Both are tragic only when they affect people and property. The most rabid Bush-haters seem to think there were no hurricanes before Bush was elected.

16 posted on 09/24/2005 10:09:39 AM PDT by laz (They can bus 'em to the polls, but they can't bus 'em out of the path of a Cat 5 hurricane.)
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To: Howlin

I've been off line for a while and I'm now find i can no longer able to stream KHOU - any one else having a problem

17 posted on 09/24/2005 10:10:04 AM PDT by Zacs Mom (Proud wife of a Marine! ... and purveyor of "rampant, unedited dialogue")
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To: MoefromMs
So you think that everyone who is unhappy with Pres. Bush's response to Katrina are"cowards and opportunistic?"

Since when do you have the "market" on Pres. Bush? I voted for him too, you know, twice. And so did most of the people in South MS. and South AL. But I did not appreciate the "low fly-by" while on Air Force One DAYS after the hurricane hit. I also didn't like the comment that "FEMA was doing a great job" while also listening to reports of people starving and dehydrating days later in Gulfport.

And I don't want to hear about how it is up to the local first responders....I mean, have you seen the pictures of South MS? The local infrastructure was wiped off the map!

It has nothing to do with "sticking or not sticking" with the Pres. It has to do with facts. And because I am an American citizen, and because I am a taxpayer (yes I live in the south AND pay taxes, something some people have a hard time believing) and I am a registered voter who voted for George Bush, and I have just as much right to disagree with some of things he does just as much as you have the right to agree with him.

I live in Biloxi, I voted for President Bush both times,and I have absolutely NO complaints with his response to the situation in MS.He came down here and walked the streets and talked to local "everyday" people,and I was proud that he could do so w/o having to worry about being shot by a looting thug. I was extremely proud of our Governor's response also. He didn't whine,he didn't blame,he just rolled up his sleeves and began to prioritise. Most people I know here,think the President did just fine.
18 posted on 09/24/2005 10:10:30 AM PDT by mrsmel
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To: jeffers

Just saw a CBS report showing the usual breached levy in N.O., then another shot of something completely different, a metal gate of sorts, with water spurting through the seams . . . no explanation, just a quick shot, but evidence of another front in the battle you speak of . . .

19 posted on 09/24/2005 10:10:56 AM PDT by LikeLight
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To: Types_with_Fist

Yes, ma'am.

20 posted on 09/24/2005 10:11:47 AM PDT by Howlin (No, I'm not as nice as NautiNurse. :-))
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