Information for anyone who wants it.

Houston Chronicle Hurricane Rita coverage
Wikipedia’s Hurricane Rita info
ABC13 KTRK’s live continuous coverage
KHOU’s live feed
Donate money to relief efforts now
High Resolution photos
Weather Underground Expert Dr. Jeff Masters’ Blog’s Steve Gregory’s blog
Rita’s tracking path since its formation (via Google maps)

9/23 7:45am – Having talked to a lot of friends from the Houston/Beaumont areas, this whole ordeal seems to have caught the Golden Triangle area off guard. It seems that most of the residents of the Beaumont, Port Arthur decided to leave yesterday morning/afternoon. And what’s more amazing is how fast traffic built up in a matter of hours.

In Beaumont, almost no one was leaving on Wednesday. They weren’t all that worried about going because all the forecasts were stating that it was heading more towards the south Texas coast. Then, as time passed and shifts in the path towards the north northwest, the panic began. A friend of mine who lives in the small town of Groves, Texas, which is in Jefferson county, left his house at 6am on Thursday morning. He made it to Arkansas in about 7-8 hours. His parents, who had to wait for his dad to finish work, left at 9am. In the next 8 hours, they had only made it to Lamar University, or about 15 miles. That’s right, 15 miles in eight hours! Absolutely amazing and only in a difference of 3 hours!

Because this hurricane’s projected track is headed really close to Groves and Beaumont, there’s a really good chance that my childhood home will be completely flooded and covered in water. I keep in touch with approximately 3-5 people in the Golden Triangle area, and they might not even have a home to return to in a couple of days.

9/23 1:50pm – If you are from the Houston area or have lived in the area, you might be interested in a blog called Stormwatchers supported by the Houston Chronicle. It is area residents who are blogging from around the city, taking photos and posting updates about their respective home areas. If the hurricane hits closer to the Beaumont area and there is a blogger out there like there was in New Orleans, I think that blog would be more interesting and I’ll most certainly link to one if it’s remotely interesting.

9/23 11:25pm – One of the most amazing things about being away from Texas is that I can still feel like I’m home almost 1500 miles away because of the Internet. I have the choice of watching any of the three major new stations in Houston, two of which I linked to above. I have watched those newcasters since I moved to Houston many years ago, so seeing their familiar faces is somewhat comforting.

As I write this, the north part of the eye of the hurricane has made it to land now and will probably hit Port Arthur and Groves in the next hour. It’s so weird to think that this could completely tear up those cities. In 1986, I slept through my one and only hurricane, Hurricane Bonnie. It was a category 1 but I was so young and probably so tired that none of the noise was loud enough to wake me up. When we woke up, I can remember going outside and seeing branches all over the place. One of the first things we did was get in the car to go look around the town and see what we could because I think this was the first hurricane that all of us went through.

I don’t really keep up with many hurricanes since most of them aren’t as personal as this one, but this might well be the most covered and anticipated hurricane that’s ever struck the US. With the dump and ravage that Hurricane Katrina put New Orleans through, Hurricane Rita’s potential to be one of the worst hurricanes ever kept all of the media obsessed with tracking every little step, every little change. I’ve seen more and more blogs dedicated to this hurricane from different experts and people who have stayed behind.

For those who left, many of which went north to north Texas, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Texarkana, Lufkin, Oklahoma and Arkansas, there’s a really good chance that it’ll be at least Tuesday or Wednesday before they are able to make it back. Not only will there be an enormous amount of rain between now and Tuesday, but the traffic is going to be absolutely attrocious. When you are in rush hour in your own city, you’re probably sitting with thousands of other people with thousands of cars. Imaging waiting with not thousands but 10s of thousands and millions of people trying to go to the same place. Makes me appreciate not being in Houston

. . . Wait a minute, I’m in LA . . . d’oh!

Once I get them, I will definitely post some photos. I know the fire chief of Port Neches and he’s currently stationed at Lumberton High School so as soon as I hear from his son and hopefully they take photos, I’ll post whatever they have if any at all.

I see that I’ve gotten more and more traffic from google and other search engines because of Groves and Hurricane Rita. If I get any photos or know of a good place to go see some, I’ll link ’em. Sorry if you came here looking for extensive coverage of the city of Groves!