Hurricane Rita Blog - Friday, 09/23/05 Entries - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Hurricane Rita Blog - Friday, 09/23/05 Entries

Galveston Fire Update - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 11:50 p.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

In downtown Galveston, at least three buildings were on fire in the historic Strand District after the early winds of Hurricane Rita downed power lines and trees tonight.

One of the buildings was totally engulfed in flames in the district. The Strand District is made up of historic buildings, night clubs, shops, and restaurants.

In flames were a bail bonds company, a private residence, and the fraternal club Eagle Hall. That's according to Lieutenant G. J. Alvarez of the Galveston Police Department.

There was just a little bit of drizzle, but the high winds were whipping flames from building to building. Sparks were dancing across the street.

One of the buildings was built in 1905, right after the hurricane that destroyed most of Galveston and killed at least 6,000 people.

It was unclear what caused the fire. Firefighters were pushing people away from the area.

Earlier this week, Galveston was expected to take a direct hit from Hurricane Rita. It appeared it had been spared the worst as the storm turned to the east.

Galveston Fires - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 11:30 p.m. CDT

Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Firefighters in Galveston, Texas are battling large fires in at least two buildings, one of which is almost completely destroyed. It's unclear whether anyone was inside the structures. Wind gusts of up to 70 miles an hour are hampering firefighter efforts. Officials estimate 90-percent of the city had evacuated in anticipation of Rita.

Missing Family - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 11:00 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Moya Green is looking for her family.  They were separated when evacuating Port Arthur.  Her family is:

Wonda Green       62
ValGine Brown     91
Darius Berry      14
Damika Berry      12
Frances Green     40

Her family was last seen in Lufkin riding on Port Arthur ISD Bus #71 driven by Yolanda Gardener.

Moya Green is in a shelter at Crockett Junior High in Crockett.  Anyone with information about the location of her family or Port Arthur ISD Bus #72 is asked to call Crockett Jr. High at 936-544-4149 or Cindy at 936-544-4610 or 936-852-3363.

Shelter Opened in Lufkin - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 10:15 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The City of Lufkin has opened the George H. Henderson Expo Center on North Loop 287 as a “last resort” shelter, since all other shelters in the city are full. Call the Lufkin EOC hotline at (936) 633-0650 for more information.
 
Update from the Lufkin Emergency Operations Center - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 9:30 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Rain has begun as the first bands of the storm have reached Lufkin. Winds at the EOC are sustained 15 mph with gust up to 30 mph.

The City of Lufkin Emergency Operations Center has dispatched two LISD buses to assist Texas Department of Transportation in picking people up that are stranded on the roadway in the Corrigan/Moscow area of U.S. Hwy. 59.

All Red Cross shelters in Angelina County are full. Many other churches and organizations have also opened for stranded evacuees.

City officials continue to stress that residents to stay home and off the roadways.

Information in Spanish - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 8:30 p.m. CDT
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Information in Spanish has been posted on the “Hurricane Rita:  Full Coverage” page. Click here for information in Spanish.

Shelter Available in Huntington - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 6:50 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Shelter is available for evacuees at Huntington ISD on U.S. 69.
 
Gas Availability Update - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 6:10 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

KTRE-TV account executive Jim Dunbar reports that gas is still available at stations in the Nacogdoches area
.
U.S 69 Traffic Update - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 5:30 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

TxDOT reports that contra-flow on U.S. 69 south of Lufkin has been discontinued. Traffic flow is back to normal southbound and northbound travel. Traffic flow is steady and congestion is lessening.

More Shelters Open in East Texas @ 5:10 p.m. CDT 

Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Apple Springs (signs are up off  Hwy. 94) and Centerville ISD (Hwy. 7 West, Centerville) are accepting evacuees. The First Baptist Church in Apple Springs is also accepting evacuees.

U.S 59 Traffic Update - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 4:45 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

TxDOT reports that contra-flow on U.S. 59 south of Lufkin has been discontinued. Traffic flow is back to normal southbound and northbound travel.

Urgent Notice to Lufkin State School Employees - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 2:25 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Lufkin State School
direct contact staff and nurses are asked to please report to work even if it is your day off. If you have transportation problems, call 634-3353.

Houly Updates Now Airing On KTRE-TV - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 2:00 p.m. CDT
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Beginning at 2:00 p.m., KTRE-TV has begun airing hourly Special Reports from the Live Doppler 9 Weather Center to keep you informed of the latest developments on Hurricane Rita. Please tune to KTRE-TV, Channel 9 (Channel 4 on Cox Cable in Lufkin, Channel 10 on Cox Cable in Nacogdoches) for the most up to date Hurricane Rita coverage for the East Texas area.

Temple Inland Employee Information - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 1:30 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Temple
Inland employees can call 866-813-9591 or go to
www.ti911.com for information on operations after the storm.

City of Hudson Evacuation Information - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 1:20 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

According to the answering machine at the City of Hudson offices, Hudson residents who wish to evacuate are encouraged to obtain necessary gasoline and go at least 50 miles north or 50 miles west, as all local shelters are full. This is NOT a mandatory evacuation order.

Lufkin Is NOT Under An Evacuation Order - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 12:00 p.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

A rumor has been circulating this morning that Governor Rick Perry had ordered the evacuation of Lufkin. This is NOT TRUE. It has been confirmed by Governor Perry's press office that he DID NOT, repeat DID NOT say to evacuate Lufkin . (However, a voluntary evacuation of persons in mobile homes, trailers, and low-lying areas remains in effect. Please see the 11:34 a.m. post further down this page.) A press release will be posted shortly.

Latest Traffic Update - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 11:37 a.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Local residents are asked to stay home and off roads. Highway 59 south between Cleveland and Lufkin is all northbound traffic. Highway 69 south between Beaumont and Huntington is all northbound traffic. Highway 69 south between Huntington and Lufkin is still open to two-way traffic.

Gasoline Availability Update - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 11:35 a.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Gasoline is still available. However, motorists are asked to be patient when filling up.

City of Lufkin Evacuation Request - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 11:34 a.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Local residents in mobile homes, trailers, or flood prone areas are asked to evacuate to Slack and Kurth elementary schools beginning at noon.

Lufkin Hospital Employees Called to Report - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 11:33 a.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

All Lufkin hospital employees have been called to report immediately

Evacuation Hubs Closed / Shelters Full in Angelina County - Fri., 9/23/05 @ 11:32 a.m. CDT

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Evacuation hubs in Lufkin are closed, and local shelters are full. New evacuees are being asked to continue traveling west and north.

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