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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 21:59 GMT 22:59 UK
Hurricane Rita: Your comments
Vehicles drive through flooded streets in Miami Beach, Florida
Have you been affected by Hurricane Rita? Do you live in the areas covered by the storm's path?

This is the second page of your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Roads are already clogged with Galveston evacuees
Chick Parkinson, Houston, Texas
As Expats this will be our first hurricane after living in Houston for 15 years and no-one is taking this lightly. Roads are already clogged with Galveston evacuees and petrol stations are already running out. We plan to ride it out at home, but we have established a safe room inside one of the closets in the centre of the house.
Chick Parkinson, Houston, Texas

We live in the predicted path of Rita, although I suspect it will *only* be a Category One storm when it arrives in the Brazos Valley, with the accompanying severe winds and rain. The danger is the tornado threat. In addition, there is now a rush on supplies (petrol, water, non-perishable foods) as precaution. In addition, perhaps over 4,000 evacuees from Houston/Galveston are set to arrive to the community. The shelters are already open and emergency services dealing with the second wave of hurricane refugees. Admittedly, we made our "Wal-Mart Run" this morning, and it was packed.
Wendy, College Station, TX

Most people that I've talked to here are not too worried about Rita. Any city within a couple hundred miles from the coast know that flash floods are nothing knew. Best of luck to those who do have to evacuate.
Nate, Austin, Tx

I don't think people realize the extent of the looming catastrophe
Michel Cahier, Galveston, TX
We evacuated our house in Galveston last night for Beaumont Texas where we have a son. Roads were empty, people waiting until the last minute to evacuate. Galveston was calm and the gulf looked too quiet to be honest. Force 4 hurricane should submerge the island. Force 5 will destroy it and the whole region. I don't think people realize the extent of the looming catastrophe.
Michel Cahier, Galveston, TX

I live in Houston and go to university which is around 15 away from the cost. I heard on the radio this morning Texas and Houston officials urging people to leave possibly hit areas, Katrina really have made people obey their calls. I say a lot of people filling up their car tanks, and so did I.
Faisal Ibrahim , Houston

Our family reside in a large Houston suburb about 35 miles North of Houston. The major northbound freeway (45) is currently at a standstill with Galveston evacuees travelling on to Huntsville, designated as a shelter area. The local shops/supermarkets are out of water, the petrol stations are out of fuel. DIY outlets are rapidly running out of protective supplies such as plywood, petrol canisters and batteries. It's becoming scary. The school cancelled our son's trip, and the college I attend closed at 3.00pm this afternoon. Everyone is encouraged to do whatever they feel is necessary for the safety of their families. Extreme gail force winds, mini tornados and thunderstorms are all hazards that we are likely to face, even here, 70 miles from the coastline. We will decide tonight whether to leave or stick-it out.
Conchita Cameron, Woodlands, TX (British ex-pats)

Hotels outside of Houston are totally full
Carolyn, Houston, TX, USA
We are in the NW part of Houston, so are out of the evacuation and storm surge area. We are staying but only because hotels outside of Houston are totally full and my fear is that we will be stuck forever trying to get out. Plus there is still such a wide area that the storm could hit that we could end up going in the wrong direction ! Hopefully the worst we will experience is the possibility of our roof being blown off or a tree falling on it. We have 2 small children so they will be sleeping in our bedroom which is on the lower level of our house and we will take refuge in our bathroom cupboard (it's the size of a small bedroom) when necessary. We did our hurricane shopping yesterday and by then water & batteries had already sold out. It's been pretty chaotic but people are taking the storm very seriously.
Carolyn, Houston, TX, USA (ex UK)

I'm a Brit living in Houston. Tomorrow (Thursday) my husband and I are due to fly back to the UK to visit family. We planned this trip 4 months ago - what perfect timing! We have shored up our house as best we can and are grateful that we will be leaving town before Rita strikes. I think Houstonians are taking the warnings seriously as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is still being felt here. Petrol stations are running out of fuel and the supermarket shelves are almost empty of water, canned food and batteries. Good luck to all of those who are affected whether you choose to stay or evacuate.
Jo, Houston, USA

I'm doing my part and getting out of town. It's the only responsible thing to do
Matt, Houston, Texas
I highly doubt this hurricane will be catastrophic, but the nation doesn't need more hardship and loss of life. I'm doing my part and getting out of town. It's the only responsible thing to do.
Matt, Houston, Texas

There is cautious calm in city. It looks like everybody is nervous but pretending to be cool on face. I saw a lady talking on cell phone with hands shaking. She was asking the person on line to stay calm and not panic.
Nitin Nerkar, Houston, Texas

I can't believe this is happening. I have struggled with evacuating since I don't live in the "flood surge zone" but the more central Galleria area of Houston. Part of me wants to stick it out, as my only alternative is to drive what would normally be 8 hours, but with the traffic, twice as long. No one ever thinks they will be the one in this position. If there was no Katrina, I wouldn't think of leaving.
Lesley, Houston Tx USA

It isn't just the coast that need worry
Noah Tsai, Austin, Texas, USA
The problem with Austin is that it is in the so-called Flash Flood Alley. If significant rains hit, you might find flooding, damage, and swept-away cars (and people) all over Central Texas. It isn't just the coast that need worry. Austin has a very self-assured feel about her (generally well-deserved). Let's hope it doesn't backfire.
Noah Tsai, Austin, Texas, USA

They have cancelled school all over our area and most businesses are shutting down. Gas is increasingly difficult to find and even more difficult to find are available motel rooms south of Oklahoma. I am a school teacher and we are preparing our school right now to be a shelter, but most people are getting out ASAP. Katrina taught us bravado in the face of a Cat. 4 or 5 storm is futile and foolhardy.
Shelly Morales, Kingsville, TX

I'm a British expatriate studying at the University of Houston, the administration just announced that lessons were cancelled until further notice and the mayor has just issued a city wide evacuation order. Many of the students are in a great deal of fear, and to make matters worse, our university took in a great deal of students from the New Orleans area, who again have to relocate.
Gareth Morgans, Houston

I live 300 yards from the Sea in Texas City (Galveston County) I'll be evacuating this afternoon. I'm not expecting to have much left when all this is over. Oh well, "worse things happen at sea" especially when your house is "under" it!
Ben Young, Texas City ,Galveston Co.,USA

I hope no one will stay back to experience the horror of Rita. Katrina should have taught us a good lesson. Personally, I have invited my Houston friends to come and stay with us.
Rezwan Rashid, Dallas, Texas

Over-reacting! The "big one" was Katrina and the mayor of Galveston just has to over-prepare in order to avoid the under-preparations of the New Orleans mayor who stood around blaming President Bush. La Marque is on the mainland end of the causeway to Galveston Island. Yes, since I have a beach house, I did cover my windows and doors with my aluminium storm shutters. Yes, I will pray. Anyone who has ever flown a Cessna (one propeller airplane) into a storm sees strange parallels between thunderstorms and God.
Peter, La Marque, Texas

Residents are already emptying shelves at the local grocery stores as the 'panic buying' sets in
Kenneth Jessett, Houston
No effect from Rita yet. The current storm track forecast has Rita making land fall south west of Houston/Galveston in the lighty populated area of Matagorda Bay - about 100 miles down the coast. With a storm this wide, however, Houston, being on the 'wet'side can expect extended heavy rains as well as high winds.

Residents are already emptying shelves at the local grocery stores as the 'panic buying' sets in. Most of this area is flat presenting little opportunity for flood waters to drain quickly. The bayous and drainage ditches have been kept in a good state of repair and cleaned out regularly so apart from the immediate possibility of short term flooding, we should not expect to have water laying around for an extended time.

Areas to the south - towards the coast - have been ordered to evacuate and the main highway from Galveston has traffic crawling along at a snails pace. But it is early yet, land fall is not anticipated for another 48 hours and by then most of the low lying areas should have been depopulated. The next two days will show us what we can expect from Rita. I'll write again when Rita gets closer.
Kenneth Jessett, Houston

I'm living in Houston Texas. Till yesterday was working for relief efforts for people displaced from Louisiana by Katrina. I'll be moving to College station which happenes to be my university town. I hope most people will be able to evacuate by tomorrow. Houston Mayor has already done a wonderful job with Katrina and hopefully similar things will be taken care after Rita too.
Hemendra Pal, Houston Texas USA

I moved here from Boston about 4 months ago and this is the third storm that has gone by where I live. I have lost my car and had some other damage from Katrina but Rita went through south enough not to affect me other than jangling my nerves and pounding my neighborhood with extremely heavy rain and winds. Another hurricane in my direction and I will start making preparations to move out of here. Enough is enough.
Sanjeev Sinha, South Miami, USA

I'm running for the hills and not ashamed to admit it
Marcella, Houston USA
I am in the process of moving house and a lot of my most precious items are already boxed up, so I just have to load them in the car. I have bottled water, and I continue to fill up bottles with filtered water, filled up my car with gas (took 1/2 an hour to do that!) and will head out with my brother and his family to Ft. Worth tomorrow. It doesn't give me much ease, though, because if Rita hits as projected, it will continue up to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and we'll be going through a Tropical Storm there.

If Katrina hadn't have happened, I think Houstonians and Texans would be far more complacent about this and decide to ride it out. Having grown up on the East Coast, I've never gone through a hurricane so my curiosity level is high, but so is my survival instinct. I'm running for the hills and not ashamed to admit it.
Marcella, Houston USA

There was a high level of anxiety at work this morning. I couldn't find a hotel within a 5 hour drive, so I'm going to ride out the storm in Houston. We've plenty of water and food, but hoping the storm moves west!!
Matt Docherty, Houston

The power is back now in most of Havana, but it is still raining
Tanya, Laura and Anneka, Havana, Cuba
Here in Havana we weren't quite sure what to expect, but in the end we just experienced very strong winds and rain. There was a long power cut, but that was more a preventative measure than anything else. It's incredible how informed and prepared everyone is here in Cuba for these hurricanes, and we felt very safe. The power is back now in most of Havana, but it is still raining and we've been warned not to go down to the Malecon sea wall.
Tanya, Laura and Anneka, Havana, Cuba (originally from London, Sheffield and Bristol, UK)

I'm pretty far inland but Austin is still projected to receive a lot of rain from Rita as it is in the middle of her path. I have family and friends in the Houston area, some of which have been evacuated. They're all saying the same thing though: people are scared but somehow they're all coming together and helping each other.
Cara, Austin, Texas, USA

I'm looking at evacuating tonight to avoid the storm surge that's currently expected to be 15 feet
WT Robertson, Hitchcock, TX, USA
I'm 9 feet above sea level, 10 miles inland as the bird flies, due west of Galveston. So, I'm looking at evacuating tonight to avoid the storm surge that's currently expected to be 15 feet. I rode out Hurricane Alicia in 1983, but since then, we've had measurable subsidence. So all bets are off on whether the neighbourhood I grew up in 40+ years ago will continue to 'dodge the bullet.' I'll weather this storm west of Houston where we'll only get tropical storm strength winds, heavy rains and a few tornados.
WT Robertson, Hitchcock, TX, USA

I live in Houston, but normally travel to California on weekly basis. I had to go back to Houston today (a day earlier than usual) to prepare for the hurricane. Need to stock up with basic supplies and clean up the surrounding compound of any loose objects.
Devesh Patel, Houston, USA

The entire country is affected. More citizens will lose everything, more damage, more money and more debt. But the American people will be there for them too. Take care fellow Americans and get inland!
CJ, Rhode Island, USA

I live in México's Gulf coast. I read a lot about leaving Houston & Galveston. But I read nothing about Corpus Christi, Freeport, Bay City, etc.
Eduardo Maitret, Villahermosa, Mexico

People have definitely changed their attitudes after watching what Katrina did
Andrea, Houston, USA
Here on the Texas Gulf Coast, people are far more worked up over this hurricane than any others I can remember. She's definitely going to hit us. We are not within an evacuation zone...but just barely. People have definitely changed their attitudes after watching what Katrina did. I was in Galveston yesterday and there was a sense of calm. Even more so than in Houston. I've fielded several calls from friends (who must evacuate) who have pets. People with pets have the worst of it when evacuations become necessary. Since we're staying, we're going to honour the old Gulf Coast hurricane tradition and drink until the lights go out.
Andrea, Houston, USA

My father is a physician at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He is on emergency duty there. He will be sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor of his office starting tonight. Some of the weakest patients will not be evacuated, and a lot of staff at the hospital will be living there regardless of the strength of the hurricane.
Hannah Campbell, Galveston, USA

I live in Austin, and have family in Houston who are deciding whether to leave or not. If the storm is stronger than a Category 3 they probably will. I leave for Toronto on Friday morning, so I will miss the hurricane altogether if it makes landfall in Texas. My heart goes out to all the Louisiana evacuees in Houston that are now being evacuated to other states.
Jenna, Austin, Texas, USA

My hotel is already full of people affected by Katrina, so this could get really interesting!
Harry S, Houston
Currently in the middle of a business trip to Houston and sitting in our company offices Downtown. Expect to be told today if we are closing or not and am trying to move my flight back to London from Friday night to tomorrow. People are definitely taking notice of Rita with my colleagues telling me that people are buying water and flashlights in preparation and 'hunkering down' for the storm. My hotel is already full of people affected by Katrina, so this could get really interesting!
Harry S, Houston

I live in Houston. My family decided last night to leave for my sister's home in Dallas. I had to come into work as the bosses haven't made it clear what we are allowed to do so I'm here to turn in a vacation request and then leave to pack and load up.
Michelle, Houston, TX, USA

Texas appears to have its act together with school closures well ahead of the expected landfall, transportation for those who need to be evacuated from the gulf coast region and emergency personnel already in place. Katrina has been a painful lesson but one that has prompted local and state authorities to act well in advance.
Darren, Dallas, Texas (ex-pat London)

Almost all the supermarkets in our area have put limits on purchases of bottled water
Kusum Vyas, Houston, Texas
I live about 50 miles from Galveston. Almost all the supermarkets in our area have put limits on purchases of bottled water and, by early Tuesday morning, they had run out of bottled water. Fortunately, the supplies are replenished regularly but the demand is too overwhelming. Last night I noticed that the parking lots of the supermarkets were full. Everyone seems to be stocking up on non-perishable food items such as canned milk, soup and beans. Rolls of masking tape, flashlights, batteries and candles are also selling like hot cakes. Although our area is not located in the direct path of the projected course of Rita, the folks here are taking no chances.
Kusum Vyas, Houston, Texas

My husband is Royal Navy and we are stationed here till next June. We actually live on Padre Island which could be 5ft underwater if we have a direct hit! Everyone here is taking Rita very seriously. My husband is away so I will prepare as best I can, then my son and our dog will drive to San Antonio, where complete strangers have offered us somewhere to stay. Here's wishing it didn't have to hit anywhere!!!
Mrs Joy Elvin, Corpus Christi, Texas

Every American is being affected by Rita. Much like the days following 9-11, the fear factor is elevated and people are taking this storm (and every other that follows) with a sense of urgency. The relaxed state of being as a citizen of the US is quickly evaporating. It seems that disaster is lurking around every corner. Is this punishment from God? I certainly don't know but it sure does make a person wonder. What's next?!
Matthew W. Marchaza, Jacksonville, FL, USA

I am on the NW side of Houston, probably 70 miles inland. Last night, I went to buy drinking water and there was none. However, they did still have Perrier so I stocked up. Others were stocking up on sodas and Gatorade in lieu of water. Today I am trying to figure out how to board up the back of my house which is all windows. Plywood is in very short supply here, if available at all.
Grace Warren, Houston, TX, USA

We expect to feel the winds by Friday morning
Sean, Kingwood, Texas, USA
Kingwood is about 30 miles NW of downtown Houston, right on the predicted path of Rita as of Tuesday afternoon. Some local petrol stations have already run out of 4 star and people are buying out bottled water supplies anywhere and everywhere! Everyone I've spoken to is taking Rita seriously as we expect to feel the winds by Friday morning. There's a definite sense of unease. Galveston is already at voluntary evac status. Fingers crossed everyone's going to be OK.
Sean, Kingwood, Texas, USA

I live in Texas and the storm is probably going to hit us, so everyone is buying lots of water and supplies and all my friends at school are freaking out because they think the same thing that happened to New Orleans will happen to us. At my school we have added 40 students and now they might have to be evacuated again, we all feel so sorry for them. They just got away and now it's back. I pray for everyone in the gulf and hope my home country the UK will help out.
Amy Chapman, Houston, TX, USA

We're inland, but in the centre of the projected path. We aim to have some sandbags available if we need them, and stored. I'd only expect very heavy rain, some erosion and we might be cut off by a flash flood.
Alan Herbert, Austin Texas USA

Went to buy bottled water today just in case, couldn't find a bottle in any of the stores we tried. Hoping that Rita will turn to the south a bit don't really fancy seeing a hurricane first hand.
Matthew, Katy, Houston, TX, USA (on holiday from Cardiff)

The predicted path moved further south
Chris Taylor, Houston, TX, US
I am in Houston and the predictions yesterday had the storm heading straight at Houston. Today the predicted path moved further south, but that still means that the North East quadrant of the storm will pass over the Houston area. The North East Quadrant is typically where all the rain, tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms occur at landfall.
Chris Taylor, Houston, TX, USA

My brother is currently working in Mississippi with the Salvation Army, doing Hurricane relief for residents affected recently. He's there until next Monday, so I'm hoping that nothing serious comes of this!!
Simon, Milton Keynes, UK

The mood among the locals here seems to be pretty relaxed, but they are keeping an eye on things. Austin is a long way in-land, but because of the sheer size of these storms, you can't be complacent and think they won't come close. We have our annual Austin City Limits Music Festival here over the weekend too, with Oasis and Coldplay headlining, but if I were them, I'd stay away! As with Katrina we'll get a fair proportion of Galvestonians evacuating here, but I would send them further west, because if the projections are that Rita is coming too close to Austin, then that's where my wife and me will be going!
Rob Palladino, Austin, Texas (ex-pat)

I live in Broward County. It was not much of a storm to be alarmed about. We stayed home without doing much. Hope it is as kind to wherever it landfalls in the gulf.
Art Sengupta, Parkland, FL

We hosted refugees from Katrina and it may happen again
Mrs Romi Elnagar, Baton Rouge, LA
We are watching Rita with some concern. We hosted refugees from Katrina and it may happen again. It is interesting to watch how concerned Bush pretends to be now, but as they say, "You don't get a second chance to make a first impression." The truth is, he only cares about how he looks, not about the people of the Gulf Coast who have suffered this year.
Mrs Romi Elnagar, Baton Rouge, LA

Stuck inside hotel with no power and getting hotter. Huge waves hit the Havana sea front and the whole city is deserted. Talk of us all being evacuated but no decision.
Jon Bradshaw, Havana, Cuba

Currently on holiday and staying in Islamorada Key. Only 5 guests remain at the hotel. We are all boarded up, but well stocked with beer, wine and goodies!! The Yanks cleared out the sensible items from the supermarket shelves. We battened down the hatches yesterday, fortunately the hotel has an Outback Steakhouse on its pool deck - who needs sunshine! Hopefully we are over the worst and just have to sit out the rest of the Hurricane. Beer, wine, crisps and nuts getting low!!
Sue Pattenden, Llangan, Vale of Glamorgan

Having grown up in Efail Isaf, South Wales I've never experienced the ferocity of a storm like a hurricane. Currently, Rita is forecast to strengthen before making landfall somewhere along the Texas Coast in the early hours of Saturday morning. It's early days yet and Houston could still be spared a direct hit. We've made our preparations anyway. A lot of others have done the same, especially since the scenes of Katrina are so fresh in everyone's minds.
Graham Boon, Houston, TX

We arrived here 3 weeks ago from the UK. This will be our first hurricane. So far, people in Houston seem to be preparing in an orderly manner. The weather forecast allows a lot of preparation time. As Rita gets closer and if it gets more certain, I'm sure the level of preparation activity will increase. As for me ... I'm heading north to Dallas for the weekend!
Dave, Houston, USA

There is not a cloud in the sky right now but people are being evacuated
Charles Eskew, Houston, TX
I live about 60 miles from the Galveston (the coast). I was told today that tomorrow at 6pm (18:00) there will be a mandatory evacuation of Galveston Island. So my wife's dad, half sister and stepmother will be staying with us for the next few days. I was surprised to see them giving a mandatory evacuation order 2 days before the storm would affect the island and 3 days before the storm makes land fall. The strangest thing is there is not a cloud in the sky right now but people are being evacuated and yes the stores are already sold out of some supplies.
Charles Eskew, Houston, TX

Well I am here in College Station about an hour and a half from Houston. I am from San Antonio and I have heard that some of my friends from A&M Corpus Christi and A&M Galveston will be transfered here to A&M College Station. They have even changed the Texas State football game to Thursday. This storm is going to be a real big one. Everyone along the coast I hope you evacuate real soon.
Lori, College Station, TX

We along the Gulf Coast are tired of the storms and can't wait until December 1 (end of hurricane season). Local grocery stores in Houston are out of water, propane, lanterns, and batteries. The gas pumps are running low on fuel. Mandatory evacuations for low-lying Galveston Island begin at 6 am tomorrow morning (09/21/05). The Katrina evacuees staying in Houston are exhausted and overwrought, joining in with local citizens who are now becoming overwrought as well. Wish us luck!
K. Madole, Houston, TX, USA

The Dallas/Forth Worth area charities and relief organisations are gearing up to go help those in south Texas should the storm hold its course. US Interstate 45 is starting to show heavier traffic than normal as people make their way up to Dallas from Houston. I have a sister attending college in Hunstville, Texas and she said all of the hotels in the area are already booked. My parents have told my sister that she has to come home to Dallas if Rita strengthens to a category 4 hurricane.
Rebecca, Dallas, TX, USA

We are also bracing for Rita to make a possible turn towards us since no forecaster knows for sure which way the storm will go. We endured Ivan last year and the flooding was almost up to our back deck...Dennis also came through this year and it was much less scary than Ivan because it came through during the daylight hours. But both were very destructive and many of my friends lost homes and trees and property. One friend still lives in a FEMA trailer because with so much damage they can't get skilled labourers to re-build. After Ivan she found a 55 Ft boat in her front yard. She lived very near to the bridge across Escambia Bay that fell down...it is still down by the way.
JC Nowlin, Pensacola, FL, USA

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered and begin tomorrow evening for counties south of Houston. Galveston's large medical centre will likely evacuate its biggest hospital tomorrow morning for the first time in 100 years. All nursing and residential care homes are being evacuated first. Gas shortage is becoming a problem at some stations though prices haven't gone up. Basic supplies such as water and plywood for boarding up windows are scarce but still to be found.
Alex, Dickinson, Texas

School's been cancelled here for the remainder of the week
Tim Bergeron, Angleton, TX, USA
We're right in the projected path of the storm. School's been cancelled here for the remainder of the week, and we already have an optional evacuation order for the city, with a mandatory evacuation order likely tomorrow. I will probably start heading inland tomorrow once I know more definitely that the storm will make landfall here. The rest of the town (at least anyone not able to evacuate on their own) are being bussed to College Station tomorrow. I really feel sorry for the Katrina evacuees who came to Houston. Surviving one hurricane only to be hit with another in their supposed safe haven. I wonder where they will end up after this.
Tim Bergeron, Angleton, TX, USA

Many of the currently displaced residents living in the Houston Astrodome are being moved further inland, especially to Austin. Shelters and temporary housing here are already full. My relatives in Galveston are boarding up their beach home and heading to Austin to stay with us until the storm passes. Hopefully this storm will not strengthen and cause the destruction we saw from Katrina.
Scott, Austin, TX

Everyone here is buying up supplies and getting ready for the worst. We find out if Galveston County will be ordered to evacuate tomorrow at 6:00pm. I've been through several hurricanes before, but if ordered to evacuate, I will. I hope we Houstonians act in a civilised manner towards each other and those who come to help us if the storm hits.
R K, League City, TX, USA (Galveston County)

Got married last Saturday and supposed to be flying out of Houston to Las Vegas on Saturday for our honeymoon. We don't expect the airport to be open by then so instead we are boarding up our apartment and preparing for the worst. All the local stores have already sold out of water and batteries.
Val Richburg, Houston, Texas, originally from Halifax, UK

Everyone is buying up plywood to board their windows up with
Oliver Hicks, Brazoria County, Texas
Just moved over to Texas and this is my first hurricane. I live about 10 miles from the coast around the area where they are currently predicting Rita will hit. Everyone is buying up plywood to board their windows up with. We tried to buy another cat carrier today but they're sold out everywhere. We're preparing the house for the storm and making plans to evacuate inland tomorrow.
Oliver Hicks, Brazoria County, Texas (originally Devon, UK)

With many friends and family on the Texas coast, I am pleased that our state authorities are better prepared for the potential onslaught of Rita. I can promise there won't be looting etc in this state.
Keith J, San Antonio, TX

I live in Houston and I hope it does not come here. Everyone is buying up the water at stores and gassing up their cars. We will leave if needed. Hopefully it does not come to that.
Manuel Olivo, Houston, Texas, USA

This is the first time we've evacuated from Key Largo, but the third hurricane, Dennis, Katrina and Rita since June. Had to leave behind my twin pride and joy toys, a Smart Crossblade car, maybe the only one in the USA, and a boat. Don't know if they've survived. I was going to buy a shack on Key Largo. No more - I've had enough.
Aldo Hanson, Key Largo, FL, USA

I live in College Station, TX, home of Texas A&M University. Many university students from New Orleans have begun their studies here at Texas A&M and have no idea what's become of their homes back in New Orleans. We're supposed to be affected by Rita, so it would be a real shame for all these new students to have to witness another storm. I can only imagine how that must feel for them.
Zach, College Station, TX, USA

We're still cleaning up from the last one
Jesse N, Florida City, FL, USA
Living the RV life just north of the Keys. Police officials came through the park ordering a mandatory evacuation that turned out to be unnecessary. Nobody bothered with an evacuation order before Katrina knocked us flat, though, probably because by the time we knew it was coming at us, there wasn't anywhere to run. Still, I evacuated to Ft. Lauderdale overnight because I didn't feel like taking chances this time. One week stuck in a flood without power or water is enough for one year I figure. We're still cleaning up from the last one.
Jesse N, Florida City, FL, USA

The storm is gone, it wasn't so bad after all. We really prepared for this one. Katrina really got us by surprise last time, we did not have electricity for 4 days and we didn't have any food or ice for a while. However, with Rita we took extra precautions, we got extra water, canned food and ice. There is no flooding nor a lot of trees damaged by my area (Kendall). Thank goodness we were spared.
Yenni, Miami, Florida

Galveston/Houston is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the US With over 5 million people. If this storm hits us as a Cat 4 or 5, the damage will be unimaginable. You also have to consider we are still housing the majority of the Katrina survivors. Areas of concern for us will be the Ship Channel, NASA, the Medical Center and the major refineries. The good news - with Katrina being so fresh in our minds, people are taking this storm very seriously.
B. Henley, Houston, TX

I am one of the DMAT teams members in the city. We have plans to move to a safe location within 45 mins of the order. Even if Rita does not hit here, the previous breech in the levies will not be able to withstand a large amount of rain. We all have out fingers crossed. This city cannot take another flood.
B. Halpern, New Orleans

If you haven't already stocked up on drinking water and batteries, good luck finding any in Houston tonight! Shelves are empty as people are quite honestly taking this much more seriously than in the past due to the tragedy of Katrina. We hope to miss the brunt of the storm being 50 miles inland.....but flooding is always a threat so we are anxious to see where Rita is predicted to make landfall on Friday.
Amanda Hughes-Horan, Houston, TX (Expat Brit)

Atlanta took 5 storms during hurricane season last year and we are bracing ourselves for one to turn north. I've visited New Orleans before and it is a fantastic city. I really feel for the people (many Tulane students have been housed here at Georgia Tech) and I hope no more suffering occurs there and the city can be rebuilt to its former glory.
Eddie Sumner, Atlanta, Georgia originally from Liverpool, UK

The predicted 100 to 200 mph winds are expected to spawn tornados
Roger Brown, Spring Houston, Texas
My wife and I have just retired to this area from the UK and our neighbours seem really worried. We are 50 miles north of Galveston but the predicted 100 to 200 mph winds are expected to spawn tornados. We are waiting until Thursday and then depending on advice given we will be heading up the interstate 45 towards Dallas.
Roger Brown, Spring Houston, Texas

Went to Walmart this morning, bought some water and soft drinks. Went again a few hours later and all the water was gone. Lines starting to form at gas stations now. I've been here 7 years and this may well be my first hurricane in Houston. Filled both cars with gas. Bought some ammunition also. You just don't know, so you have to prepare for the worst.
Stuart Morrison, originally from Wolverhampton, UK, Houston, TX

Waiting and watching here in South Mississippi. Our thoughts and prayers are with you guys in Texas.
Tonya Simpson Miller, Lucedale, Mississippi, USA

We presently are on a drill ship in the G.O.M. Capt has had marine dept securing all on topside. We just finished pulling riser, standing by to watch movement of storm, have plenty of fuel and food to take necessary action. Capt plans on keeping us 170-200 miles away from eye wall. winds could get 35-50kts and seas to 15-25'.We are willing and are waiting to run from this. I hope the people on land wherever it hits are ready... this is going to be a big one again...
John Broussard, Lafayette, La, USA

Houstonians are apparently getting prepared. Bottled water, batteries, flashlights, and plywood are in short supply. As of last weekend, Grainger had 150 portable, gas-powered generators in stock...Tuesday they were sold out.
Kenneth C. Wilson, Houston, TX

Living here in San Antonio, 150 miles inland. We will be safe from the storm but are bracing for the influx of evacuees from Houston and the Gulf Coasts in both the hotels and shelters. We have several military bases just around and outside the city and for the last few weeks we have already sheltered up to 14,000 evacuees from Katrina in the shelters, which are still badly understaffed. There are currently still 4-5,000 in public shelters, and volunteers are starting to run thin.
Anselin Reed, San Antonio, TX, USA

Rita passed over us last night; the winds weren't too strong but the surge was a problem. I live on the water's edge, but the apartments were okay. If you live in the Keys, get out!
Simon, Nassau, Bahamas

Here in Miami it looks like we have been spared the worst. We haven't left the house at all since yesterday afternoon, but it's possible we might still get some outer bands of rain and stormy weather later this afternoon and there are currently tornado warnings issued. I really feel for anyone still in the Keys as the live weathermen down there are really getting blown about. Keeping my fingers crossed that it's not going to lift up here.
Peter Wilson, Miami, Florida originally from Hull, UK

Currently lots of activities with people boarding up houses and buying up supplies. If Rita hits the Galveston Bay area, be prepared for gasoline prices to go through the roof. Around 35% of the USA refining capacity sits right here on the Houston ship channel.
Steve, Galveston County, TX USA

Currently working in the Gulf of Mexico as I have for 5 years. Yet again we are having to pack up equipment and head for a safe harbour even today (Tuesday) well ahead of the storms entrance to the arena. Its the fourth time this year we have had to run from a hurricane. Colleagues from Louisiana are bracing themselves for yet more bad news from home.
Mark Strax, Portsmouth, UK

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