Photographer's Note


This picture is uploaded from Houston, Texas 77074 within the path of Hurricane Rita. We are having strong wind and rain out there plus sign of electric outage. This may be the last post until after several days...

(AP News).- Rita made landfall at 3:38 a.m. EDT as a Category 3 storm just east of Sabine Pass, on the Texas-Louisiana line, bringing a 20-foot storm surge and up to 25 inches of rain.

The storm spread worries it would dump nearly 2 feet of rain on flood-prone parts of Texas and Louisiana, spurring tornadoes as it churned northwest at 12 mph with winds topping 120 mph.

Windows blew out in the lobby of a hotel in Beaumont, near where the storm made landfall, and shards of glass and pieces of trees were strewn throughout the flooding lobby, Houston's KHOU-TV reported.

More than 450,000 CenterPoint Energy customers in Texas were without power in the company's service area, which stretches from Galveston into Houston north to Humble.

Rita's heaviest rains up to 3 to 4 inches an hour fell in Lake Charles, La., as the storm made landfall. Other heavy rain was falling in a band from Woodville, Texas, east to Leesville-Alexandria in Louisiana at a rate of about one-half inch per hour.

Rescuers were forced to wait until the winds outside died down to safe levels before starting searches and sending out military meals, water and fuel.

The storm brought chaos even far from its path. Rain in New Orleans re-ruptured levees that were broken by Hurricane Katrina, bringing renewed flooding to that city. 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.

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.

As Rita approached, its powerful rains and winds sent water gushing over one of New Orleans' patched levees and into the already-devastated Lower Ninth Ward and parts of neighboring St. Bernard Parish. The water rose to waist level.


*Please zoom in/out or change dicrections of this map for your tracking of effected area. Thanks.


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