Skip to comments.Hurricane Rita Live Thread, Part VIII
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
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 WV Loop
GOM IR Still Image
Visible Storm Floater Still (only visible during daylight hours)
Color Enhanced Atlantic Loop
Streaming Video: (coverage may be intermittent)
KPLC-TV/DT Lake Charles/Lafayette
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
KTRK ABC News Houston
KPLC Lake Charles Evac Routes, news
KFDM Beaumont/Port Arthur News, evac info
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
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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
Oh pshaww...I learn something new every day on FR and I don't consider myself stupid.
When I lived in Houston Lee.P.Brown was mayor and what a useless POS he was.
So you're saying that the people in Texas who go back won't ask the authorities for ANY help? No electricity, no water, no sewage, no police patrols, etc.? Because is a lot of those places that's what they are going to face.
Since you insist on misconstruing my every statement, I'd say we're done here.
My daughter is pulling at me to go to the local pumpkin patch to hunt us up a couple good 'uns ... so this will be my only post for a while...
I found the stories I wanted to see:
Oil industry escapes serious damage from Rita
Crude futures fall in rare Sunday trading
All is well ... (except in LA ...)
Rent payments offered for Katrina evacuees
But Blanco wants them to have La. housing
More red tape involved with trailer communities
By Robert Travis Scott
BATON ROUGE - Launching a new program to provide temporary living assistance and to clear shelters nationwide of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the federal government in the next few days will begin making lump-sum payments of $2,358 toward three months rent for each qualified evacuee who obtains housing anywhere in the country.
The news Friday took Gov. Kathleen Blanco by surprise and opened a new rift between her administration and President Bush on the critical issue of how Louisiana will lure back its citizens from the dramatic New Orleans diaspora caused by the storm. It also placed Blanco and Bush at odds over the option of erecting large trailer parks in Louisiana for evacuees.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the lump-sum payments, made by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will cover temporary housing costs for "several hundred thousand" homeowners and renters whose homes were destroyed or are uninhabitable. After the initial lump-sum payment, further assistance will be available for up to 18 months depending on the circumstances, he said.
Low-income evacuees who before the storm received federal housing vouchers through the Department of Housing and Urban Development will continue to get financial support through local public housing authorities wherever they choose to live across the country.
"We're going to make sure that victims of this disaster, whatever their economic circumstances, get the necessary financial assistance to ensure that they can obtain a temporary residence for the time being," Chertoff said. "These programs have been designed to give families the maximum amount of flexibility and freedom to decide where they want to relocate and what they want to do over the next few months."
The issue of interim housing has become one of the most controversial among the debates on post-Katrina government policy. Federal and state officials want to get evacuees out of shelters and uncomfortable living conditions as soon as possible, but there is disagreement on where to place them until they can find permanent housing.
The longer evacuees become integrated in places outside Louisiana, state officials say, the less likely they are to return. If they find some form of housing in the New Orleans area, even temporarily, they can fill jobs and help restart the region's economy, the officials say.
Blanco has been pushing for a program to place evacuees in hotels and newly established trailer parks with community services in Louisiana, but she learned of the new federal initiative late Friday morning, just before Chertoff and HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson made the announcement in Washington, D.C.
"The announcement today from HUD and Homeland Security about rental assistance and housing vouchers may certainly address the needs of our friends in Alabama and Mississippi," Blanco said. "But it does little for Louisiana citizens who want to come home, and we'd like our citizens to be able to come to Louisiana for this interim period."
The FEMA rent payments will be a further inducement to keep Louisiana citizens out of state because, practically speaking, few of the payments can be used locally, Blanco said. Hurricane Katrina decimated the housing stock in the New Orleans region, and what was left there and across southern Louisiana has been bought or rented, she said.
Blanco on Friday asked FEMA to accelerate the purchase of blocks of hotel and motel rooms and to "dramatically speed the delivery of trailers for our transitional communities." These would be supplemented nearby with services for health care, education, child care and transportation.
"The path that I've outlined - moving our people from shelters or the homes of in-laws or friends and into hotels and transitional trailer communities here in Louisiana - gives our people hope," Blanco said. "It gives them a clear path that they can see, a path that will help them get their lives together and get them home to Louisiana."
Trailer and mobile home communities have been slow in coming, partly because of the complicated logistics of finding suitable sites that can handle the temporary villages.
Chertoff said FEMA continues to move forward to establish trailer villages in Louisiana and acknowledged that some towns and parishes want them because of the labor force they will provide. But if people decide to live in a FEMA-supplied trailer or mobile home, Chertoff said, they will not be eligible for the new rent subsidy.
"So it's not meant to substitute for the trailers, but it's meant to recognize the fact that as we speak not everybody can or necessarily wants to get into trailers," Chertoff said.
Establishing trailer villages with economic and social support services will require a complex government effort. Chertoff said the lump-sum payment program will reduce red tape.
Sen. David Vitter said no temporary housing solution is ideal, but the key to getting people back to Louisiana is to develop economic opportunities for them to return. He said he needed to learn more about Blanco's and FEMA's proposals to form an opinion on them. But whatever the solution, he said, he does not want the government to make evacuees' lives so uncomfortable that they use their poor conditions as the reason to come back.
FEMA relief programs can give an evacuee up to $26,200 for the emergency needs of food, shelter, clothing, personal items and medical conditions. The agency has sought ways to get initial payments of that cash quickly to the Katrina victims without requiring extensive paperwork and proof of need.
Soon after Katrina, FEMA expedited evacuee checks of $2,000 as an initial emergency payment. More than 747,000 households have qualified for some kind of assistance through FEMA on an immediate basis, and 648,000 of those have received more than $1.5 billion in expedited funds, according to the agency. The new rent program probably will cost about $2 billion for the three-month period, Chertoff said.
To receive the lump-sum payment by check or electronic transfer, evacuees from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana must have registered through FEMA by calling (800) 621-FEMA or applying online at www.fema.gov. Applicants need to register only once, but should update their registration if their address has changed. The initial payment is calculated based on the national average fair market rent rate for a two-bedroom unit. The payment is portable and may be applied to temporary housing costs "for any location an evacuee determines," FEMA says.
Eligible households will receive a letter describing specific rules and guidelines on the eligible use of the funds. Eventually, the submission of rental receipts and other documentation will be required.
Chertoff said the lump-sum checks and bank transfers would start flowing this week, but that people should anticipate it will take a few days to receive them. Those evacuees who have registered for direct deposit will get the money sooner, he said.
Interesting story about those hard-working linesmen:
The gal that cuts my hair is married a line worker. She told me that the first time he was called to help restore power to a disaster area up north he was stunned at what the lineworkers up there did. After working all day, at 4:30, the norther workers started packing up to call it a day.
My friend's husband was stunned and asked what they were doing, especially since so many people were still without power. The bottom line was they were union workers, and that was all they had to work. Needless to say, the line workers from Texas, kept on working until they had power restored.
In the way you suggest, the government does trust you.
However, there are issues beyond trust. These are simple reality. Human beings eat, and a certain time later, they excrete. In the absence of any public sanitation measures, the health risks follow an exponential curve. During the Katrina aftermath I calculated it would require 300 portable toilets to service 30,000 people at the Superdome.
Several million people is a whole different order of magnitude. Add that to a shortage of drinking water, and the risks increase yet again. It isn't a matter of trust, it is the logistics of literally tons of human waste that needs safe disposal. If 5 million people each generate a quarter pound of waste per day, that comes out to 625 tons, or better put, 15 or 16 tractor trailer loads per day. It doesn't just vanish, not without impact.
The other simple reality is that there are only so many freeway lanes, which each only hold so many cars.
In short, moving a couple million people back into the city requires either a little advance planning, to check the operation of basic services and to allow for orderly transit, or else it requires outright negligence if none of this is done.
No government worth having would choose the second course. They know a certain percentage will make their own decisions. You won't see them prosecuting the blockade runners after the fact, though they may chase a few down to make a point. Their big concern is for the bulk of the population and the policies they are following generally follw the needs of a group that size.
When that doesn't happen, then there should be and almost always is, an outcry and resultant change.
Things would have been so much worse had he been running the show.
I think White has done a good job. Mistakes have been made, but I think this was a learning experience and it will go smoother if there is ever a next time.
Ditter, I am so glad to hear this; what a relief! And, yes, thank God.
Just do like we do in the snow for the dogs: clear a spot! :-)
If you watch a sunset in Galveston you will watch it set over the i-45 bridge many times of the year
Poor Blank-o and Naggin. They can now see that they will NEVER get their serfs back. Especilly the ones from Texas. Anyone that advocates pumping out the 9th ward and dropping in a fresh slum of manufactured housing anytime within the next 5 years, ought to have their noggin examined. I sure hope their search and rescue effort is going well in SW Louisana. Seeng as how they botched another evacuation, at the expense of their poor caucasian citizens. Every tax-paying American should be outraged.
Wrong parish gets evacuation warning
A snag in Gov. Kathleen Blanco's automated telephone message setup led to residents of the wrong parish being told on Thursday to evacuate for Hurricane Rita.
Blanco resorted to the mass calls in hopes the governor's recorded voice would be persuasive enough to get people in the path of the storm to get to higher ground.
The company that set up the message confused Jefferson Parish with Jefferson Davis Parish, said the governor's deputy press secretary, Roderick Hawkins.
The message was supposed to be only for Cameron, Calcasieu, Vermilion, St. Mary, Jefferson Davis, Lafourche, Terrebonne, Assumption and Acadia parishes.
The mistake was corrected, Hawkins said.
Lawmakers to review response to Katrina
New state House and Senate panels have been appointed to look into disaster response, recovery, relief and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The panels will make recommendations for policy and law changes.
The chairman of the House panel will be Rep. John Alario, D-Westwego, and vice chairman will be Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, D-New Orleans. Co-chairmen of the Senate panel will be Sens. Walter Boasso, R-Chalmette, and Ed Murray, D-New Orleans.
Ascension sheriff takes Association post
Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley is the newly elected president of the Louisiana Sheriffs' Association. Wiley will serve in the post until September 2006.
Other new officers are Iberia Parish Sheriff Sid Hebert, first vice president; St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne, second vice president; Madison Parish Sheriff Larry Cox, secretary-treasurer; and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones, sergeant-at-arms.
The association is a professional law enforcement and public safety organization established in 1938.
Campbell Brown's La. reports win favor
Former Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown's daughter, Campbell, is one of the few reporters sent down by the networks to cover Hurricane Katrina who could pronounce Louisiana names.
Her reports, including having a 9-year-old guide her through the Convention Center, have made the NBC correspondent and "Today, Weekend Edition" co-anchor a leading contender to succeed the "Today" show's Katie Couric, according to U.S. News & World Report.
NBC officials say they hope Couric stays with NBC until next year, but she has been named as a leading candidate for the nightly news anchor jobs at ABC and CBS.
Red Cross' storm costs will reach $2 billion
Jack Sheehan, public information officer for the American Red Cross, said recovery efforts for Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Katrina will cost the organization $2 billion. Sheehan said that is 20 times more expensive than any previous Red Cross disaster.
Lt. Gen. Honore: 'We ain't stuck on stupid'
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore took after reporters who questioned the city of New Orleans' plan of gathering people at the Convention Center to await evacuation for Hurricane Rita, particularly given the number of people who died there while waiting to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina.
Mayor Ray Nagin stumbled during Wednesday's news conference. Honore jumped in to remind reporters that those questions were about Katrina and not Rita.
Honore used the same colorful quote the week before to explain away government's slow response.
"This is a disaster," he said on Sept. 11. "This isn't something somebody can control. We ain't stuck on stupid."
New Orleans may well be 'Houstonized' 'Houstonization' not derogatory after all
The Houston Press took offense that plans to bulldoze large sections of the Crescent City have been likened as a step toward the "Houstonization of New Orleans."
The newspaper tracked down the source of the quote, S. Frederick Starr, who turns out to be the author of the hardcover book, "Southern Comfort: The Garden District of New Orleans."
When asked what that meant, Starr was quoted saying, "I think 'Houstonization' is simply mass demolition followed by low-density, green-fields development. All those one-story houses that go on forever."
"OK, OK. So he's got a point," conceded Press columnist Richard Connelly.
Compiled from the notebooks of John LaPlante, Mark Ballard, Marsha Shuler, Will Sentell, Michelle Millhollon and Jessica Fender of the Capitol news bureau.
Click here to return to story:
She really, really doesn't want to lose a single vote, does she? Is she even aware of how pathetic and transparent she is? Of course not; why do I ask?
On a different note: can FNC's Greg Kelly make a single report without talking about how some people are accusing Bush of overcompensating in his reaction to Rita for his supposed slow reaction to Katrina? It seems he prefaces every report with this. I was watching FNC, turned back to TWC after that.
Awesome post Jeffers.
Had Rita stalled in the Lufkin or Nacodoches area I believe Lake Livingston dam may have gave way.
The flood may have topped the dam that already had some sort of damage. Not good.
I wonder if they will drain the entire lake to check for leaks, and how bad the actual damage is/was.
The lake appears to be dropping about an inch per hour with the 80k cfs release.
Ps: Ive lived in tornado alley for 42 years and the worst wind ive seen was from a downburst.
Now you have gone and done it...
Look, we moved somewhere around 3 million people out. Remember the rows of porta-potties along the evac routes? 36 hours. Yes, people had to relieve themselves. Remember the human excrement 3 feet deep on I-45?
The porta-potties did not happen. Neither did we cr@p all over the interstate and wallow in it. Jeez-Louise man. This is exactly why Texans do NOT want to hang out in a FEMA-run shelter. They just want to get back as close as they can to pitch in and fix stuff. Y'all will thank us for conserving money and freeing up federal resources sooner than later.
I did. I raked clear about 30'X 30' spot and my back told me to quit. My back is still talking to me. LOL! I think it has something to do with all the flower pots I moved on Fri as well.
The plantation must rise again. After WWII Stalin killed many of his soldiers because in defeating Germany they had seen such western wonders as in door plumbing.
Don't feel bad now; my back is killing me just from cleaning out the garage (sort of) this morning, and I didn't even go through what you did for the last two or three days!
The majority of those evacuees will never go back. They've gotten a taste of freedom and they have no interest in returning to that prison. What are Nagin and Blanco going to do, drag them back by force against their will? I can't wait until Blanco starts begging them to return.
Blanco: Please, come back! Come home! Please!
Evacuees: Are you kidding? We ain't never going back! We're not stuck on stupid!
Don't Mess with Texas!
We are glad you are safe!!
I was amazed as I followed the people through this maze. The connections between political think tank groups and private enterprise. And the boosterism of politicians to enterprise. I know there are quid pro quids.
On the surface, it looks like our senator is promoting local business, great, huh? Until you read that the same senator helped write the medicare rules to enable this business to triumph over othere smaller locals.
I can't understand,,why would one ambulance co have an exclusive contract with an entire parish.
I got started on ths when an administrator of a local small hospital started talking about this company, their highhanded ways and their extorting money from local hospitals.
I think the political class is so embedded is this that there won't ever be a change. I really do.
Texas is a challenge to all states to be prepared.
You are so right laz. I saw the evacuees in Orlando say on local tv that they will never go back to New Orleans. I saw the astounded looks on the peoples faces in Texas saying they never saw a place with so much love. Why would the evacuees go back after they get treated like human beings somewhere else?
That's not what I said at all.
What I said was that they would go back in full awareness and acceptance of the fact that "the authorities" might not be able to provide those things, that they understood that those comforts and necessities are not unconditionally "owed" to them, and that that reality would not deter those who are able from stepping-up and pitching-in to do whatever they could.
I think you're missing an essential point in this discussion. The Texans who will be going back immediately are not the helpless, the sick or the elderly. Most of those folks will have enough sense to hold off till they know their needs can be met.
The folks who'll go in first are the able-bodied, who will be well-equipped with food, fuel, tools, weapons and all the necessary gear to handle the conditions they'll encounter while they set about cleaning-up and repairing their communities. It's really no different than going on an extended camping trip or wilderness expedition.
Furthermore, these people will not be in the way of the authorities, but will in fact be of immense help to them in re-establishing the security and safety of their communities. The elderly, the infirm, et al. can return later after the situation has improved.
Texas is simply not like New Orleans (nor is the rest of Louisiana like NO). Also, while I'm a native Tarheel and love North Carolina, it's not quite like Texas either. I'm near Wilmington, and have been through Hurricanes Fran, Floyd, Ophelia and the others, and I'm proud of how we have learned to handle ourselves.
I've also lived in Texas for many years, and in my work I traveled the entire state, something many native Texans never get to do. There is a different mindset there, and it transcends politics.
Texans will get the job done, and they'll do it differently than Louisiana, and differently than North Carolina. Trust me, and trust them.
The military industrial complex sort of thing is what it reminds me of.
I don't mind people making up companies and Bowles has every right to use himself and his fortune to open a company. What gets me is the government and their flunkies using the law and obscure regs to favor a company.
I think the root of La political corruption goes back to its origins as a French and Spanish colony.
We were bought but so were all the other states of the La purchase. So why are we do different.
I have Demco for electricity and Entergy for gas.
I'll say it again.
I am proud of my wife, kids, nephew that stayed with us, my friends, neighborhood, city and State.
We stocked up big time. We have about 100 gallons of water to pour into the yard that needs it and probably 50 pounds of ice that will be thawed and used for watering. All of the extra food will be eaten and the batteries will be drained eventually. The camping stuff will be stored again for next time.
The only thing that I bought that was out of the norm was a 300 watt inverter. I have always wanted one anyway.
I thank God that the beast didn't hit us, but we were as ready as folks can get.
Most of them will set up their own police patrols, dig their own latrines, have brought their own water, and wait for the electricity to be turned back on.
I don't mind people making up companies and Bowles has every right to use himself and his fortune to open a company. What gets me is the government and their flunkies using the law and obscure regs to favor a company.
Sort of like the myth of "global free trade" isn't it? /grin
The feds want a coupld of thousand for rent and people get up and running.
The dems, Blanko, want trailors bought. Now how cost effective is that. How much does a trailor cost for a family of four, or eight.
Seems the federal offer is cheaper, better. But trailor parks, my God, what a mess.
Well in my neighborhhod here after the first storm, we were all out, chain saws in hand, cleaning up, makig neat piles of tree limbs. After a day or so the neighborhood looked great. Then they came and got the limbs and trees and everyone went out again, sweeping and blowing the streets clean and raking up the leftovers.
Blanco needs to put her money where her mouth is, if she wants to buy votes back into LA.
Another Kathy Whitmire plan was to widen Westheimer by shorting the width of the lanes. People with trucks and Blazers quit using that road because your mirrors would touch.