Hurricane Rita Strengthens, Heading Towards Texas

Hurricane Rita has threatened to once again lash through New Orleans on its way to Texas by the end of the week.
( [email protected] ) Sep 21, 2005 03:01 PM EDT

Residents have gathered up their belongings and cleared out Wednesday, as Hurricane Rita, which can potentially raise to a Category 4 storm, threatened to once again lash through New Orleans, heading for Texas by the end of the week.

Rita hit the Florida Keys as a Category 2 storm on Tuesday, causing minor damage, but residents have learned from Hurricane Katrina that they shouldn't take any risks.

The federal government, also, showed that they had learned their lesson by rushing hundreds of truckloads of water, ice and packaged meals to the Gulf Coast, with rescue and medical teams on standby, the Associated Press reported.

The Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco declaring a state of emergency said, "We are praying that the hurricane dissipates or that it weakens," according to Associated Press. "This state can barely stand what happened to it."

Chinese Christian Mission USA (CCMUSA), a non-denominational faith mission, has also posted on their website, asking Chinese Christians to pray that "the situation will not worsen."

Residents were returning back to the damaged cities, but are now being asked to leave again, some are unsure of whether they should stay or leave. While, many Katrina victims are still in shelters and face being uprooted for the second time, AP reported.

Busloads of people have been evacuating the cities that are at risk from the storm since Tuesday. For instance, 80 buses were preparing to leave Galveston, bound for shelters 100 miles north, where dozens of people lined up, carrying pillows, bags and coolers, AP reported.

From Katrina, Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said "The real lesson that I think the citizens learned is that the people in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi did not leave in time. We've always asked people to leave earlier, but because of Katrina, they are now listening to us and they're leaving as we say," AP stated.

The Salvation Army, a Christian disaster relief organization said in a statement released Monday that they are confident of their abilities and have placed their personnel on standby for the destruction that "Rita might impose on the Texas coast."