Citizen Journalists: Reports and Comments on Hurricane Rita

Use the form below to submit your stories, thoughts, and comments about Hurricane Rita. If you have photos relating to the hurricane, you may e-mail them to

Here is what we have received from viewers so far.

        C. Hilton – DFW Metroplex – 9/24/05 @ 8:17 p.m.


My husband and I are both from East Texas and moved to the DFW Metroplex in July.  Both of our families, with the exception of my husband’s siblings, live in East Texas. We also had family who evacuated to East Texas from the Houston area.  I want to send a big THANK YOU to you and KTRE for the incredible updates that have been on the Web site.  It's the only way I was able to find out what was going on with our families.  At times I couldn't get through by phone to check on them and gave me peace of mind in a very unsettling time.  Again, thank you so much for the awesome job you've done!!

Christy Hilton

        Bill N. – Lufkin, TX – 9/24/05 @ 4:20 p.m.

Just to let you know… No power or phone service on Carriage Dr. in the Settlement. Have a large oak tree on my house as well at 405 Carriage Dr..

        Tracy Broadway – Center, TX – 9/24/05 @ 1:30 p.m.

8.46 inches of rain today in Center through 1:30 p.m.; numerous roads underwater

        David – Lufkin, TX – 9/24/05 @ 1:27 p.m.

There are numerous trees down and on houses on Cunningham drive in Lufkin. It is house after house of houses with trees crashing upon the middle of these houses. This neighborhood is mainly elderly, so it’s troublesome.

        J. Williams – Wells, TX – 9/24/05 @ 1:02 p.m.

My name is Jacki. I live in Wells down fm 1819. We have a laptop that is allowing me to e-mail you. We have been without power for a while now, and were wondering would the electric companies be waiting till the storm is over.

Also wondering how the storm is doing and will we expect any more high winds and rain? The wind was blowing so fast my front yard is full of shingles.

When and where did the storm hit land, and how bad is the southern part of Texas?

Thanks you for staying and tracking the storm just to keep East Texans updated.

        R. WayBeaumont, TX – 9/24/05 @ 11:40 a.m.

We are here in Lufkin and I need an update. Please let me know if you can find any information about the Amelia area in Beaumont.  Street names are Doty, Landis, Gross (my street). Also need some info on West Boston in Nederland as well as Central Gardens in Nederland (7th Avenue). Also would like some information about Orange.

Editor’s Note:  If anyone has information for Richard Way, please e-mail him at

        J. Young – 9/24/05 @ 10:45 a.m.

I just talked to my brother who lives south of Hemphill in Sabine County.  They have been without power since Friday night about 10:00.  They have trees down and roof damage to their home

        D. Jones – Lufkin, TX – 9/24/05 @ 10:45 a.m.

I live in Lufkin just south of Loop-336 and east of Hwy.-59 (Crown Colony area.)  Current status of utilities in this area:

Electricity:    On (blink on and off repeated but has remained in-service)
Water:    On
Telephone:    On (Including digital services such as DSL)
Cable TV:    Off

So far so good. Thanks for the updates!

Looking forward to putting things back together. Hopefully the storm will pass within the next few hours (at least the brunt of it.)

Keep up the good work, Jené
Thanks, Dayton

        K. Crowley – Center, TX – 9/24/05 @ 9:50 a.m.

Center has had no power since 6:00 a.m. The winds have calmed some, but expect worse.

        D. Fischer –Etoile, TX – 9/24/05 @ 9:36 a.m.


Denise Fischer here again.  We are located 5½  miles east of Etoile.  My husband said that you just said the eye wall will be here in about 45 minutes.  What wind speed should we expect while the eye wall is over us?

Denise Fischer

        Fr. Jim Sichko – Southeast Texas – 9/24/05 @ 9:29 a.m.

How are the conditions presently in Lufkin. Do you know when the store will pass directly over you all. I had to evacuate lots of people to Lufkin. Just wondering. I know power is out.

        ErinLeigh Bryan – Lufkin, TX – 9/24/05 @ 9:21 a.m.

Hi Jené,

You're doing a great job this morning. Wanted to let you know of a scare we had about 8:15 this morning. A tree fell on a gas line or meter on Palmore Road, which is right near the Hwy. 94 West exit in Lufkin. Firemen evacuated our street and it was really frightening. We ran up toward Largent Street away from the leak (which was very loud and had no smell at all) and the firemen put us in their truck. They fixed it quickly. I think they shut the gas off altogether. Anyway I wanted to thank them for their quick response and really, for saving our lives!!!

Erin Bryan

        M. Ritter – Nacogdoches, TX – 9/24/05 @ 9:21 a.m.

Good morning, Jené,'

Your weather blog is great! The other guys are nowhere close. Awesome!

I'm in Nac. The tornado sirens just went off, but power is still up.

btw, could you post the direction and speed of the storm so we know how quickly we'll get the heavy stuff from Jasper?

Mike Ritter

        J Hickman – Albuquerque, NM – 9/24/05 @ 9:16 a.m.

Do you know how the folks on FM 843 in Lufkin are faring?  Cannot raise them by phone.  Am trying to reach family.  Thanks.

Editor’s Note:  If you have any information for Joy Hickman, please e-mail her at

        C. Lancaster – Lufkin, TX – 9/24/05 @ 9:08 a.m.

From a phone call from my sister at 602 E. Groesbeck Av., in Lufkin at 7:40 a.m., Texas time, to my sister in Dallas:

Her electricity has been going off and on since about 3:00 a.m., but it has been off for a while now, so she thinks it's staying off this time.  She has been in the guest room most of the time because she felt safer in there.  
A big limb fell between your two houses, but did not hit anything.  A lot of smaller limbs are down all over.  She said it's just sheets and sheets of rain with swirling winds.

        J. Burrows – Nacogdoches, TX – 9/24/05 @ 8:59 a.m.

Not sure exactly when it happened, but I have one large tree blown down across my driveway and another large limb broken off of a tree.  I live on Wortham Drive right off North Street across from the movie theater, bowling alley, [and] CiCi's pizza.  At this moment, I still have electricity.

Jana Burrows

        R. Wray – Beaumont, TX – 9/24/05 @ 8:56 a.m.

We are in Lufkin, Texas. Please leave up a window of national tv when they do the weather report so we can see what is going on in SE Texas. We are from Beaumont. Also would appreciate any news you have from Nederland, Beaumont (Amelia Area, Major drive, Gross St.)

        L. Bailey – Redland, TX – 9/24/05 @ 8:29 a.m.

Redland – Winston 8 Ranch Rd., power lines down next door, trees down next door to me on each side all over the place. The wind is very strong.

        Beara – Lufkin, TX – 9/24/05 @ 8:09 a.m.

Thanks for the heads up about bicycle helmet when going out side. Still have power in parts of Brookhollow, but don’t know for how long.

Truly yours,

        C. Smith – Hudson, TX – 9/24/05 @ 8:03 a.m.

Power out on Park Circle Drive off FM 1194 in Hudson.  Have high winds, but little rain.


        C. DavidsonLovelady, TX – 9/24/05 @ 8:02 a.m.

Hello Jené,

This is Cheryl Davidson in Lovelady, Texas. We are about 50 miles west of Lufkin. Tthe winds here are beginning to pick up, gusting 15-20 miles an hour. We had lost power but, for now, it is back on.

It is raining, but not coming down too hard. As far as I know, no trees are down but, at our place, some tree limbs are laying in our front yard. No flooding yet, but if I hear anything, I will report as best I can.

Cheryl Davidson

        T. Martin – Broaddus, TX – 9/24/05 @ 8:01 a.m.

Power failed at 1:43 a.m.

3.10" rain as of 7:51 a.m.

43 mph wind nnw at  7:03 a.m.

28.97" barometric pressure at 7:45 a.m.


        T. Swanson – Broaddus, TX – 9/24/05 @ 7:57 a.m.

Dear KTRE staff,

You guys are doing a great job in keeping us informed.

We lost electricity at 1:45 a.m. and we have been running off of a small 5000 watt generator since then.

I am located about three miles inside San Augustine County, just past the Attoyac River/Sam Rayburn [bridge], just off of Hwy. 103.

It appears that the eye wall is heading towards us. That should be interesting.  We have experienced some hurricane force winds at times, and I wish I had an anemometer to measure its speed… We have quite a few limbs down, but nothing severe.

There are ten of us here, including four evacuees from Highlands, Texas. We will prevail through this. In fact, I find it quite exhilarating to witness the power of God in the midst of the storm

Again, thanks for keeping us informed, and may His hand protect all of you and your families.

Pastor Tim Swanson

        “Sewing Queen” – Huntington, TX – 9/24/05 @ 7:56 a.m.

We are in Huntington. We do not have power. We have a power line down on the ground. We are located off Rayburn Stalls Road. Our neighbor has lost part of their roof.

        Fitts – Center, TX – 9/24/05 @ 7:53 a.m.

It's rough here in Center. I'm clocking almost 50 mph winds on my back porch. The rain is coming down in sheets and the spray is awesome to watch.

        S. Holman – Lufkin, TX – 9/24/05 @ 7:50 a.m.

I live in the Englewood addition. We have a tree on top of the house and the roof is leaking in my dining room. Strong winds and still have power, but it is going in and out.

God bless everyone during this time. Thank you for your informative coverage. Take care.

Steve and Wendy Holman

        C. Landers – Nacogdoches, TX – 9/24/05 @ 7:44 a.m.


Still have power. However, wind has picked-up quite a bit, and seems to be coming from no particular direction. Two trees down on my property. Seems to be getting worse.

Christian Landers

        D. Bautista – Dallas, TX – 9/24/05 @ 7:34 a.m.

Groveton's power is out.  I called my family there and they have not had power for a while.

        P. Castella – Nacogdoches, TX – 9/24/05 @ 7:32 a.m.

I live on Logansport in Nacogdoches. A large tree has fallen on my back deck and taken the deck roof. Limbs are falling and causing damage. This is in the older section of Nacogdoches. Still have electricity but it is fluctuating.

        Roger – Lufkin, TX – 9/24/05 @ 7:20 a.m.

There is no electricity by North Timberland route, North First Street area etc. Just read your message that you wanted to know.


        S. Jones – Nacogdoches, TX – 9/24/05 @ 7:14 a.m.

My name is Shawn Jones. I am in Nacogdoches, TX. Part of my roof blew off my house and wrapped around the power lines, but I still have power and cable. Still raining hard with strong gusts of wind.

        T. Soileau – Lufkin, TX – 9/24/05 @ 6:57 a.m.


I live in Kings Row just south of Lufkin on 69 South. The wind is getting worse, but is still up high and not blowing hard at ground level. Rain level is still low and moderate. Damage so far just consist of limbs and small debris.

I got a call from my parents who live in Sam Rayburn, off of Hwy. 1007.  They are trapped in the house because of trees against the house. [The] roof is torn open in one spot, and several walls are cracked, but they are fine. You could hear the howl of the wind over the phone. I have some video of the evacuation, storm this morning, and will take some when going to parents.

Till later,

        D. Fischer –Etoile, TX – 9/24/05 @ 6:52 a.m.

Hi, Jené,
First let me say you are doing a great job.  We are currently being powered by generator.  We were awakened at 4:30 a.m. when our power went out.  Our exact location is 611 County Road 487.

Rain is moderately heavy right now with wind gusts every few minutes.  We have one small limb down that we can see from our back porch.

Sorry, we do not have any instruments outside to measure rain or wind speed.  I do have temperature gauge. It is 74 degrees here.

Any other info I can give you, please e-mail me.  Let me know on the air and I will check my e-mail.

Denise Fischer

        C. Landers – Nacogdoches, TX – 9/24/05 @ 6:44 a.m.


I live on the northwest side of Nacogdoches, near the Nacogdoches Expo Center. We still have power, but do not anticipate having power for much longer as the maximum sustained winds and wind gusts continue to increase. I estimate the maximum sustained wind @ 18mph, with gusts up to 30-35mph.

The rain continues to be heavy and the rain gauge shows 1.25".

No trees down or power lines down on the northwest side of Nacogdoches.

Christian D. Landers

        S. Lewis – Corrigan, TX – 9/23/05 @ 10:22 p.m.

In Polk County, Corrigan, Tx,. there are people stranded on the side of the road, without gas, and with young children that are hot and tired, just ready to get somewhere. The state of Texas is not helping very much and are doing a poor job at getting these people somewhere, I know that you can only do so much at a time, but these people need help immediately. I have seen the worst of it by being in my hometown, Corrigan, and seeing these people stuck with no where to go.

        Y. Chunn – Lufkin, TX – 9/23/05 @ 6:07 p.m.

Why can't they use the old Lufkin Nursing Center on North Raguet or the old Albertson's store on Timberland Drive for the evacuees? Just a thought.

        S. Johnson – Lufkin, TX – 9/23/05 @ 5:54 p.m.

I believe there should be a designated structure in Lufkin especially designed for situations like this. I feel that Lufkin should maybe think about building a superdome-like structure to house numerous numbers of evacuees as well as Lufkin residents who need shelter from dangerous weather like this.

        D. Bryant – Corrigan, TX – 9/23/05 @ 4:25 p.m.

Thank you for responding to my asking for help for the people in need in Polk and Angelina counties. I e-mailed you [and] within two hours, people were here with help. You’re there when we need you.

        D. Bryant – Corrigan, TX TX – 9/23/05 @ 1:23 p.m.

Why isn't someone helping the people on Hwy.59 between Livingston and Lufkin that are broke down and out of gas and need water?

Editor’s Note – Here is an excerpt from a news release that we just posted: “We have fuel trucks in locations and they are trying to get to everyone,” said Kathi White, TxDOT spokeswoman.  “Motorists should be reminded that if a fuel truck passes them, they’re likely out of fuel and are going to refuel. It is extremely important that everyone exercise patience as we work to get people off the roadways and out of harm’s way. Stranded motorists are asked to raise their hoods and fuel crews will get to them if and when they can.” Click here to read the full story.


        P. Lee – Lufkin, TX – 9/23/05 @ 10:44 a.m.

My thought is that it would be most helpful if you would have instructions for what people need to do to prepare all day long, maybe every half hour.  I see many homes that still have patio furniture and all kinds of stuff out in their yards.  If they don't have any channel but 9, it needs to be intensive today.  Thank you.

Editor’s Note – As of 2:00 p.m. Friday, September 23, 2005, KTRE-TV has begun hourly Special Reports from the Live Doppler 9 Weather Center to keep viewers updated on Hurricane Rita. These are currently airing at the top of each hour. These Special Reports may become more frequent as conditions warrant. Ms. Lee makes a very good point, however. People need to secure things in their yard, such as patio furniture, BBQ grills, basketball goals, potted plants – anything that is not permanently attached to the ground. With the possibility – even likelihood – of Category 1 hurricane force winds up to 95 mph, anything that is not secured could potentially become a projectile capable of doing considerable damage to homes and vehicles. Your best bet is to move these items into your garage or inside your home, if possible. If there is no way to bring things inside, then move small items into your car if necessary. Larger items should be moved up against your house, and tied down if possible. – RCS

        A. Halsell – Lufkin, TX – 9/22/05 @ 10:26 p.m.

We are scared! We have never been through this before and we don’t know what to expect. We are just afraid that Rita is going to be the worst thing we have ever seen in East Texas, and we pray that it won’t be as bad as they think!!