Friday, September 23

ADDITIONAL RITA-RELATED INFORMATION

Governor Rick Perry of Texas is now pegging the number of evacuees from the likely Rita-impacted areas in southeastern Texas at 2.5-2.7 million. Houston is famous for its heat, humidity, and heavy traffic. Those elements have been exacerbated by record heat (over 100 degrees yesterday on the first official day of Fall) and the largest evacuation of a major population center in the history of the United States.

Emergency planning agencies project Rita will impact 5.2 million Texans in 19 counties and with an expected 6,000 homes destroyed.

Dr. Neil Frank of KHOU 11 News, here in Houston, is presently reporting at 12:40pm CDT that there's a 37% probability of Rita making landfall in the Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas, area. He's yet to see the right turn or "eastern wobble" needed to move this hurricane's eye up the coast away from major population centers and this is less likely than earlier thought because directional winds have weakened.

The eye will make landfall in about 20 hours. Because the reach of the storm is 85 miles north-northwest from its center, tropical force winds are only 10 hours away.

A developing concern is that Rita could stall over northeast or northcentral Texas, causing a bigger deluge than originally projected.

FOLLOW-UP: Reuters has published some of the information I heard on T.V. and reported to you in this post.