News

Hurricane Rita Made Landfall 10 Years Ago On September 24

Rita struck as a Category 3 hurricane with 120-mile-per-hour winds and a storm surge reaching as high as 20 feet, swamping small towns across southwest Louisiana and ravaging southeast Texas.

Rita radar image
Radar animation of Hurricane Rita making landfall 10 years ago this morning in southwest Louisiana

Hurricane Rita was one of the fiercest storms on record when it roared ashore near the Texas/Louisiana border ten years ago on this day, September 24th. 

At least 11 deaths in Texas and Louisiana were blamed on the storm, which caused more than $11 billion in damage and sparked one of the largest evacuations on record.

Former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels reflects on the storm.

“It was a big storm that in the end turned out to be less rapidly deteriorated as it moved into the coast. But it was still a big storm, it veered more back toward the east, hitting more into Beaumont, Port Arthur than it did into Houston,” he said. “But because of the experience that was seen in New Orleans with Katrina, people were scared.”

More than 100 people died in the chaotic, pre-storm evacuation of the Houston area, including 23 nursing home patients who perished when their bus burst into flames.

Millions fled and were stuck in traffic jams in sweltering heat.

Click here to read more on Houston Matters

Share