HOUSTON IS DODGING A HUGE BULLET
The way things look now, Houston is going to miss the brunt of Hurricane Rita. Three days ago, many of us were predicting gloom and doom for the Space City, and Houston's freeway system --- which people complain about even in the best of times --- looks like one giant parking lot.
However, Rita's centre is generally expected to make landfall early tomorrow morning somewhere between Port Arthur, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana. That is, unless she wobbles one way or the other, not unusual for these storms. That means that the Houston/Galveston metro will miss the traditionally roughest northeast quadrant of the hurricane. Of course, they will still have to deal with dangerous conditions, but it won't be quite of the severity as feared earlier.
Also, Rita has weakened slightly since it ballooned to a Catagory 5 level Wednesday. After passing through a "loop current" of much warmer water in the Gulf of Mexico, the slightly cooler temperatures west of that were not sufficient to maintain the hurricane at that level
Here are some media links if you want to keep up with what's happening in real time from local reporters on the scene:
KPLC-TV 7 (Lake Charles, Louisiana / NBC affiliate)
KFDM-TV6 (Port Arthur, Texas / CBS affiliate)
KBTV-TV 4, the NBC affiliate in Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas, has evacuated it's facilities and is broadcasting out of Nexstar sister station KTAL in Shreveport, Louisiana. It's Web site is not being updated in the meantime.
KHOU-TV11 (Houston / CBS affiliate)
KPRC-TV2 (Houston / NBC affiliate)
KTRK-TV 13 (Houston / ABC affiliate)
Port Arthur News
Lake Charles American Press