Friday, September 23


That's what we're being told and that is encouraging. But good news for us is bad news for others and petro-chemical centers will still be hard-hit.

And for those of us here in the greater Houston area, do understand, please, that there's still a 37% probability of our area (specifically Galveston) taking a direct hit. That shows you how desperate we are for optimism! Some headlines on the Internet may indeed be misleading at this juncture

Here's the latest update, as described in the "Houston Chronicle" (registration required):

Hurricane Rita weakened slightly this morning with top winds now at 135 mph, but it still projected to make landfall as a Category 3 or Category 4 storm early Saturday, bringing high winds, driving rain and storm surge strong enough to topple trees, wreck mobile homes and flood streets.

The storm was expected to come ashore early Saturday along the upper Texas-Louisiana coast on a course that could spare Houston and Galveston a direct hit. But Rita could plow into the oil and petrochemical centers of Beaumont and Port Arthur, east of Houston.

Authorities today advised Houston residents who were still at home at this point to stay there.

At 10 a.m. CDT, Rita was centered about 220 miles southeast of Galveston and was moving to the northwest at 10 mph. Its winds were near 135 mph, down from 175 mph Thursday.

Hurricane warnings were in effect from Port O'Connor to Morgan City, La.

After its slow dance across the Gulf, Hurricane Rita will begin to rock the upper Texas coast come lunchtime today.

Rita's eye is currently about 215 miles south-southeast of the Houston-Galveston area. The leading edge of the storm will be felt early this afternoon along the southeast Texas coast and winds will grow into the evening.

Dr. Neil Frank of Khou 11 News is giving a report right now and still making the case that we need an additional "wobble" or "nudge" to the right or east-northeast in order for our area to avoid a direct hit. He's advising viewers not to become complacent thinking we've avoided the bullet. Additionally, he's informed viewers that we could experience hurricane force winds for up to 15-18 hours.

So not all meteorologists are on the same page.