News

Thousands Hit the Road as Rita Spins Closer

Thousands of Houston and Galveston area residents are on the roadways today, heading toward safer areas of the state in advance of Hurricane Rita’s arrival. Local officials are advising people to get out of town now while they can. The exodus started earlier today with the main roadways out of Houston packedwith people headed out […]

Thousands of Houston and Galveston area residents are on the roadways today, heading toward safer areas of the state in advance of Hurricane Rita’s arrival. Local officials are advising people to get out of town now while they can.

The exodus started earlier today with the main roadways out of Houston packedwith people headed out of harm’s way. Mandatory evacuations for parts of Harris County don’t begin until tomorrow, but Houston Mayor Bill White says residents who aren’t sure about how safe their homes are should get out now. “If you live in a structure where you don’t think it can withstand wind damage, and if it’s a mobile home,I’ll tell you it won’t, then please make your plans and leave,” he says.

After watching what happened in New Orleans, officials here are concentrating theirefforts on evacuating people who have special needs or don’t have a way out of the city. White says residents who need help have several options. “If there is no one to turn to, if you’re not satisfied that you have an evacuation plan that you can rely on, then we’re asking that you reach out to us, so that we can work with Metro and the state organizations and other organizations that are capable of providing transportation, and reach out by calling 3-1-1 or 713-837-0311,” he says.

Parts of Harris County susceptible to storm surge will go under a mandatory evacuation just after midnight , with parts of the city to evacuate by tomorrow morning. Harris County Judge Robert Eckels says Rita is comparable to another hurricane that hit southeast Texas in 1961. “At this point, this is a bigger storm than Alicia, it is coming on a different track from Alicia. This is more analogous to hurricane Carla. We did not have nearly the population, we were I think less than a million when that storm came through,” he says.

All local school districts will be closed tomorrow and Friday and officials have urged businesses to let non-essential employees off both of those days.

Share