A Monster Named Rita

It seems unfathomable, but less than a month after Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast, another killer storm is strengthening over the same waters and heading toward Texas.

Hurricane Rita took aim at Texas as it grew into a powerful Category 4 storm on Wednesday and authorities urged residents in Galveston, Houston and other vulnerable areas to leave.

“This is a big storm and it’s going to have an impact along the entire coast,” U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told Fox News during a round of morning television appearances.

Rita’s winds increased to 140 mph (225 kph) as it headed into the Gulf of Mexico after lashing the Florida Keys on Tuesday. The storm did not get close enough to reach the vulnerable chain of islands with its most destructive forces.

The upgrade put Rita in the same strength classification as Hurricane Katrina, which devastated parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama last month.

A storm of Rita’s size could send a 20–foot storm surge over the Texas coast. Everyone better have their ducks in a row on this one, given the disorganization that occurred with Katrina. We’ll see. 

Others: StormTrack | Rita Swirls Into 150-Mph Monster in Gulf |

Previously: Hurricane Katrina 911 Audio |

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