Hurricane Katrina was bad, but it looks like Rita is going to be way worse. It’s now considered a disaster, not solely because of the hurricane itself, but by the lack of preparation people have taken. Just look at how bad things already are even before hurricane Rita hits:
- 22nd September, 5:32 PM
Over here in Buffalo, NY, the fuel crisis leads to gas prices going up, long lines at gas stations, and people filling up spare tanks as seen in my snapshot here. Situations like these remind us how closely tied-in we are to events around the world. While everyone here calmly carrys on their everyday routines, I feel an underlying sense of fear in the air.
- 22nd September, 7:02 PM
Contrast what you see now with what happened just 3 days ago… highways were virtually deserted (no one panicked yet!). People evacuating from Houston are stuck on the highway, some without gas, causing 100 mile long traffic jams. According to Associated Press: “This is the worst planning I’ve ever seen,” said Judie Anderson, who covered just 45 miles in 12 hours after setting out from her home in the Houston suburb of LaPorte. “They say we’ve learned a lot from Hurricane Katrina. Well, you couldn’t prove it by me.” With temperatures in the 90s, many cars were overheating, as were some tempers… “I’ve been screaming in the car,” said Abbie Huckleby, who was trapped on Interstate 45 with her husband and two children as they tried to get from the Houston suburb of Katy to Dallas, about 250 miles away. “It’s not working. If I would have known it was this bad, I would have stayed at home and rode out the storm at home.”
- 23rd September, 9:02 am
A bus carrying elderly evacuees from Hurricane Rita caught fire and was rocked by explosions early Friday on a gridlocked highway near Dallas, killing as many as 24 people. Early indications were that it caught fire because of mechanical problems, then passengers’ oxygen tanks started exploding. The brakes may have been on fire. Interstate 45 stretches more than 250 miles from Galveston through Houston to Dallas. The crash site is roughly 17 miles southeast of downtown Dallas. Authorities took the unusual step of moving the wreckage to a remote location to continue the investigation there, so the interstate could reopen for evacuees.
23rd September, 11:55am
NY Times reports that water started pouring over levees and have started to flood dozens of blocks in New Orleans.
- 23rd September, 3:20pm Oil companies have shut down most extraction and refinery operations along the Gulf Coast, which accounts for more than a quarter of US production, evacuating more than 600 oil platforms and rigs. Environmentalists have warned that any major spills from oil and chemical installations along the coast could cause significant damage. A positive estimate set two millions barrels of refined oil to be lost daily. Oil experts breathed a guarded sigh of relief and crude prices fell sharply as Hurricane Rita’s path shifted away from Houston
To keep tracking Hurricane Rita, check out Google News