CommunityPam's House Blend

Rita's a nightmare 5

This is so f*cking bad, from just about any point of view you can imagine. The human toll, the possible wiping of cities clear off the map, the political nightmare for this Administration.

I don’t want to get petty, but damn, I have to agree with John at AmericaBlog: “Why does God hate George Bush, Tom Delay and Rick Perry?” Where are all the bible-beaters now?

Gaining strength with frightening speed, Hurricane Rita swirled toward the Gulf Coast a Category 5, 165-mph monster Wednesday as more than 1.3 million people in Texas and Louisiana were sent packing on orders from authorities who learned a bitter lesson from Katrina.

…With Rita projected to hit Texas by Saturday, Gov. Rick Perry urged residents along the state’s entire coast to begin evacuating. And New Orleans braced for the possibility that the storm could swamp the misery-stricken city all over again.

Galveston, low-lying parts of Corpus Christi and Houston, and mostly emptied-out New Orleans were under mandatory evacuation orders as Rita sideswiped the Florida Keys and began drawing energy with terrifying efficiency from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Between 2 a.m. and 4 p.m., it went from a 115-mph Category 2 to a 165-mph Category 5.

Forecasters said Rita could be the most intense hurricane on record ever to hit Texas, and easily one of the most powerful ever to plow into the U.S. mainland. Category 5 is the highest on the scale, and only three Category 5 hurricanes are known to have hit the U.S. mainland – most recently, Andrew, which smashed South Florida in 1992.

By late afternoon, Rita was centered more than 700 miles southeast of Corpus Christi. Forecasters predicted it would come ashore along the central Texas coast between Galveston and Corpus Christi. But with its breathtaking size – tropical storm-force winds extending 350 miles across – practically the entire western end of the Gulf Coast was in peril, and even a slight rightward turn could prove devastating to the fractured levees protecting New Orleans.

…Galveston, a city of 58,000 on a coastal island 8 feet above sea level, was the site of one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history: an unnamed hurricane in 1900 that killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people and practically wiped the city off the map.

Shakes Sis pointed to a Reuters story that reminds you that if you thought Katrina was bad re: short supplies of gas, wait until Rita takes its toll on oil rigs along the Gulf near the Lone Star state — and the refineries, the lack of which has been declared the “official” reason gas prices have spiked over the last year (price gouging, what’s that?):

Valero Energy Corp Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Greehey said Hurricane Rita’s impact on U.S. crude oil production and refining could be a “national disaster.”

“If it hits the refineries, and we’re short refining capacity, you’re going to see gasoline prices well over $3.00 a gallon at the pump,” Greehey said in a Tuesday night interview.

…”It’s going to be coming across the (U.S.) Gulf (of Mexico),” Greehey said. “There’s a lot of oil platforms, oil rigs, (natural) gas platforms, gas rigs. It could have a significant impact on supply and prices, and then, depending on what it does to the refineries, there are still four refineries that are shut down. So this really is a national disaster.”


Map of strike area and where oil refineries and rigs are. Click to enlarge. (CNN)

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding