Hurricane Rita Blog - Saturday, 09/24/05 Morning Entries - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Hurricane Rita Blog - Saturday, 09/24/05 Morning Entries

Hurricane Rita Update from ktre.com – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 11:25 a.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

These National Weather Service bulletins are currently in effect for our area:

Louisiana parishes

Sabine

        TORNADO WATCH

        FLOOD WATCH


Texas counties

Anderson

        FLOOD WATCH

        HURRICANE STATEMENT


Angelina

        FLASH FLOOD WARNING

        FLOOD WATCH

Cherokee

        FLOOD WATCH


Houston

        FLOOD WATCH


Jasper

        FLASH FLOOD WARNING until 11:30 AM CDT

        TORNADO WATCH

        FLOOD WATCH

Nacogdoches

        FLASH FLOOD WARNING

        FLOOD WATCH

Newton

        TORNADO WATCH

        FLOOD WATCH


Panola

        TORNADO WATCH

        FLOOD WATCH

Polk

        FLOOD WATCH

Rusk

        FLOOD WATCH

Sabine

        FLASH FLOOD WARNING

        TORNADO WATCH

        FLOOD WATCH

San Augustine

        FLASH FLOOD WARNING

        TORNADO WATCH

        FLOOD WATCH

San Jacinto

        FLOOD WATCH

Shelby

        FLASH FLOOD WARNING

        TORNADO WATCH

        FLOOD WATCH

Trinity

        FLOOD WATCH

Tyler

        FLASH FLOOD WARNING until 11:30 AM CDT

        FLOOD WATCH

No Mail Service – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 11:15 a.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The U.S. Postal Service reports that there will be no mail service today, and possibly none on Monday. This presumably applies to the entire East Texas area. We are awaiting an official press release from the USPS, and will summarize it here and post it in full in the “U.S. Government Bulletins” category under the “Official Info and Resources” section when we receive it.

Update from Nacogdoches by Asst. City Mgr. Victoria LaFollett-Koenig – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 10:45 a.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

        Winds sustained 40 mph, gusting 55

        All public works crews being pulled back in due to danger of flying debris

        Shingles blowing off buildings downtown

        Police responses diminished due to high winds

        Fire will continue to respond on a case by case basis

        Majority of city completely without power

        City's largest water pump station down, working to get generator set up, best case scenario 4 hours before restored.  Loss of water pressure for fire suppression is a concern. The citizens of Nacogdoches are urged to curtail water usage effective immediately.  Adequate water pressure must be maintained for fire suppression needs.

If you have any questions, please contact the City’s Emergency Phone Bank at 936-559-2510 or view the latest information on the city’s Web site at www.ci.nacogdoches.tx.us.

East Texas Storm Damage Report – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 10:27 a.m
.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

        Huntington:  House roof flown off; roof blown off an apartment building

        Frank St. in Lufkin flooded, car stalled out in the water

        45,000 houses out of power in Lufkin/Nacogdoches as of 9:00 a.m., according to Bob Brown of TXU Electric Delivery

        Sacred Heart Shelter in Nacogdoches without power and food

        Nacogdoches Emergency Operations Center is on reserve power

        Sabine County:  Trees down, trees on house, rain/wind

        Shelby County:  Trees and power lines down

        Rusk County:  Trees down, power outages

        Jasper EOC:  Water lines, gas line breaks. There is believed to be damage to nearly every structure in town, some serious, some merely signs blown off of buildings, but many areas have been affected in some way by the storm. Emergency crews will not be able to go out for another four to six hours.

        Tyler County:  Police department lost roof at 9:50 a.m., several buildings lost roofs, trees in houses, Highway 92 flooded, most roads impassable. Highway 69 impassable, Highway 190 east/west 287, gas lines and water lines broken, widespread devastation, according to a Tyler County Sheriff's spokeperson. Officers are out trying to assess the damage, power lines and phone lines down.

        Newton County:- Downed power lines, downed phone lines, majority of county in the dark

        There are nearly 45,500 power outages reported in both Nacogdoches and Lufkin, with the majority of outages being in Nacogdoches. Crews are not going out until after the storm passes. Power outages are also reported in Cherokee County. Co-Op's in Jasper and Newton Counties are closed until after the storm.

        Houston County:  No road closures at this time. 40 MPH wind gusts. No heavy rain at this time. Some downed power lines.

        Polk County/Livingston:- City officials say every street in Livingston has been affected. All power down. Reports of trees blocking roads. Power lines in streets. Emergency crews are working to restore order. City of Livingston took down power at 3:45 a.m. this morning to avoid live wires. Still have phone service. Warning residents to stay indoors.

        Trinity County:- Most roads closed, including Highway 93 East/West, Highway 287 North/South, FM 2262, FM 355, FM 356, Highway 19. Downed power lines and trees on most roads.


From the KTRE Newsroom and Weather Center – Sat 9/24/05 @ 10:00 a.m. CDT
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Fresh video is being posted to the ktre.com Hurricane Rita:  Media Center page as our reporters file their stories. Click here for a list of video coverage. Chief Photojournalist Scott Cooper shot video in Lufkin as Hurricane Rita came through the city. Jessica Cervantez reports on downed trees. Photographer Kendrick Johnson and Nacogdoches Bureau Chief Donna McCollum report filed a report from Nacogdoches. More will be added as it becomes available.

From the KTRE Newsroom and Weather Center – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 9:38 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Jasper County
reports phone calls coming in and they are unable to get out to rescue these people yet. Fire chief says the evacuation is about 50/50 as far as residents getting out in time.

From the KTRE Newsroom and Weather Center – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 9:35 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Jessica Cervantez reports power lines are down, trees are snapping, expecting other trees to fall.
TXU Electric Delivery’s Bob Brown say over 42,000 residents in Angelina, Nacogdoches, and Cherokee Counties are out of power as of this morning.

From the KTRE Weather Center – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 9:30 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The National Weather Service has issued a FLASH FLOOD WARNING effective until 11:30 a.m. CDT for the following Texas counties:  Jasper and Tyler


From the KTRE Newsroom and Weather Center – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 9:15 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Reports of roofs collapsing and leaking in Angelina County. The eye wall is about to pass over Newton County. Once the eye wall passes over, we will see more rain and wind.

Here are some preliminary damage reports from throughout the area:

        Window blew out in the lobby of the nine story Elegante Hotel in Beaumont. Strong winds brought down a chandelier and ripped the roof off another section of the lobby.

        The Sabine County Sheriff's Department in Hemphill reports a school gymnasium suffered wind damage and ended up with a gap in the roof.

        In Tyler County, the police department in Woodville lost it's roof.

        Warren Junior High school in Warren also has roof damage.

        Nobody was hurt today in a fire at a two story apartment building in southeast Houston. Officials say at least eight units were damaged.

        In Pasadena, fire broke out before dawn at a shopping complex. There were no immediate reports of injuries in the blaze at a Dollar General store.

        In Jasper County, a house with seven people reported inside floated off its foundation in flood waters in Kirbyville. A sheriff’s department dispatcher said rescue personnel were stuck in the emergency operations center due to flooding.

        In Jasper County, Sheriff McBride says all officers indoors at this hour. He is guessing all power is out in Jasper County at this hour. In the south end of Jasper County in Buna, a church collapsed; 15 or 20 were inside; local fire department rescued.

From the KTRE Newsroom and Weather Center – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 8:24 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO WARNING effective until 9:30 a.m. CDT, for the following Texas counties:  Jasper, Newton, and Tyler

The Storm Reaches from East Texas to Louisiana – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 8:24 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Hurricane Rita is currently a Category 2 over land. This morning about 8:00 a.m., KTRE studios recorded our highest wind speed of 53 mph.

The eye wall is currently northwest of Jasper. Jasper has sustained winds of 100 mph There is an inland hurricane warning until 2:00 p.m. for the following counties:

        Angelina

        Nacogdoches

        Sabine

        San Augustine

Hurricane Rita is moving at 12 mph over land. Currently, about 42,000 people in the East Texas area are without power.

Notice from the Emergency Operations Center in Lufkin – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 8:03 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The EOC in Lufkin has activated their conservation measures for water due to power outages in the area. Local residents, as well as industrial users, should curtail their water use.

There are reports of downed trees and power lines around Angelina County. The first affected area for power outage in the Lufkin area was the North Lufkin area. Stay tuned to KTRE-TV and ktre.com for updates.

Scott Barrington Turner Looking for Information Lufkin – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 8:03 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Scott Barrington Turner’s grandmother, Martha Barrington, is in Pinecrest Care Center in Lufkin. He has been unable to find out if her facility is OK, or if they have been evacuated. Any info would be appreciated. Please contact him by e-mail at TTTMngmnt@aol.com or by phone at (817) 354-6338

From the KTRE Weather Center Lufkin – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 8:03 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO WARNING effective until 8:30 a.m. CDT for the following Texas counties:  Jasper, Newton, and Tyler


From the KTRE Weather Center – Sat,  9/24/05 @ 7:07 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The National Weather Service has issued a
TORNADO WARNING effective until 8:00 a.m. CDT  for these Texas counties:  Angelina, Sabine, and San Augustine.

From the KTRE Weather Center – Sat,  9/24/05 @ 6:30 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The National Weather Service has issued a
TORNADO WARNING effective until 7:30 a.m. CDT for these Texas counties:  Jasper, Newton, and Tyler

Latest Hurricane Rita Update from ktre.com – Sat, 9/24/05 @ 6:28 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

        More than half a million homes and business in Texas are have lost electricity due to Hurricane Rita.

        The storm made landfall early today just east of Sabine Pass, about 30 miles southeast of Beaumont.

        President Bush today flies to Austin to meet with emergency management officials. He'll spend tonight in San Antonio.

        In Jasper County, a house with seven people reported inside floated off its foundation in floodwaters. A sheriff's dispatcher said rescue personnel were stuck in the emergency operations center due to flooding.

        Jasper County authorities have received calls of trees on structures, houses burning, and churches and mobile homes coming apart.

        Entergy says about 55,000 of its Texas customers have lost power. More than 450,000 CenterPoint Energy customers are without electricity, mainly in the Houston area.

        The Texas Department of Transportation says up to 1500 agency workers are available today for cleanup duties.

National Weather Service Update – Sat, 9/24/05 @ 6:16 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning effective until 7:15 a.m. CDT for the following Texas counties:  Jasper, Newton, Tyler

Kylene Hudman is trying to find some of her family – Sat, 9/24/05 @ 6:11 a.m.CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Kylene Hudman’s aunt got separated from her daughter and mother. Her aunt is handicapped. Her cousin doesn't have any phone numbers to contact her. Her aunt is Laurie Ballard, and she is safe. Contact numbers are (936) 867-9377 or (936) 674-9947.

Path Moving Towards Jasper – Sat, 9/24/05 @  5:57 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Path painfully slow, with 10 to 20 inches of rainfall expected in the next 72 hours.

Tornado Watch, Flood Watch, and Tornado Warnings – Sat, 9/24/05 @ 5:48 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Jasper, Newton, Tyler counties are under a tornado warning. Bands of severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes are moving through the area. The warning will expire at 6:15a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a
TORNADO WATCH
for the Sabine Parish in Louisiana, and for the following Texas counties:  Jasper, Newton, Panola, Sabine, San Augustine, and Shelby.

The eye was located 15 miles northeast of Jefferson County Airport, moving northwest at about 12 miles per hour.

From the KTRE Weather Center – Sat., 9/24/05 @ 4:19 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO WARNING effective until 5:15 a.m. CDT for the following Texas counties:  Jasper, Newton, and Tyler.

A
FLOOD WATCH
has been issued for Sabine Parish, Louisiana and for the following Texas counties:  Angelina, Cherokee, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, and Shelby

Latest Hurricane Rita Update from ktre.com – Sat, 9/24/05 @ 3:15 a.m. CDT
Posted by K. Iribarren, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

        Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say the storm’s eye is ashore just east of Sabine Pass, Texas

        As of the last report, Rita is still a Category Three storm with 120-mile-per-hour winds but it's expected to weaken as it moves over land.

        Entergy reports about 55,000 of its Texas customers have lost power.

        Earlier, the eyewall, with Rita's strongest winds, came ashore, pounding the coastal area between Sabine Pass, Texas, and Cameron, Louisiana.

        Forecasters say a storm surge could be as high as 20 feet.

        There is also concern that the storm will produce severe inland flooding from extremely heavy rains. Some locations could see up to 25 inches of rain.

        Four people have been rescued in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

        Here's a look at some rainfall amounts blamed on Hurricane Rita. Details are from the National Weather Service in Shreveport, Louisiana.

   The heaviest rains as the hurricane made landfall were reported in the area of Lake Charles, Louisiana, where rain in some areas was falling at a rate of three to four inches per hour.

   Wind gusts of about 70 miles an hour were reported at Lake Charles.

   Beyond Lake Charles, the heaviest rain was falling in a band from Woodville, Texas, east to Leesville-Alexandria, Louisiana, at a rate of about one-half inch per hour.

        President Bush has been monitoring the progress of Hurricane Rita from the U-S Northern Command in Colorado. President Bush later today flies to Austin to meet with emergency management officials as they monitor Hurricane Rita. The president will spend tonight in San Antonio. Bush is expected to make additional hurricane-related stops throughout the weekend.

        Authorities believe downed power lines in Galveston blamed on Hurricane Rita may have sparked fires that burned three buildings in the Strand District. Officials say two structures were heavily damaged, while another is mostly destroyed. The historic district is a favorite among tourists.

        Here's how you can help victims of Hurricane Rita. Governor Rick Perry says a Texas Disaster Relief Fund has been created. Donations can be made via the governor's Web site at www.governor.state.tx.us.

 

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