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

Hurricane Rita Blog - Saturday, 09/24/05 Afternoon / Evening Entries

Final Post for Saturday Night - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 10:00 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

This will be my final post for this evening. It’s been a long, long day. The storm has passed, and the business of getting back to some semblance of normality has begun. Stay tuned to KTRE-TV Channel 9 for complete coverage of today’s events on the East Texas News Nightcast at 10:00 p.m. As always, the KTRE East Texas News team will be here to bring you the latest news throughout the weekend.

I’ve been here since 9:30 a.m. yesterday. Now, I’m finally going home to my family. Good night, everybody.

National Weather Service Update - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 9:36 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

These bulletins are currently in effect for our area:

Louisiana parishes

Sabine

        FLOOD WATCH

Texas counties

Angelina

        FLOOD WATCH

Cherokee

        FLOOD WATCH

Jasper

        FLOOD WATCH

        TROPICAL STORM STATEMENT until 11:00 PM CDT

Nacogdoches

        FLOOD WATCH

Newton

        FLOOD WATCH
TROPICAL STORM STATEMENT
until 11:00 PM CDT

Panola

        FLOOD WATCH

Rusk

        FLOOD WATCH

Sabine

        FLOOD WATCH

San Augustine

        FLOOD WATCH

Shelby

        FLOOD WATCH

Tyler

        FLOOD WATCH

        TROPICAL STORM STATEMENT until 11:00 PM CDT

Utility Power Restored at KTRE-TV - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 9:18 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Hallelujah! The generator here at the station just shut down, indicating that utility power has been restored to KTRE-TV. We have been operating on generator power since around 4:30 a.m. today. I hope that many of you are getting your power back quickly.

More Businesses Open in Lufkin - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 8:38 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Sonic on N. Timberland Dr, and  the Conoco-Phillips station at Brookshire’s on Chestnut Dr., both in Lufkin, are currently open.

National Weather Service Update - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 8:21 p.m.

Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

These bulletins are currently in effect for our area:

Louisiana parishes

Sabine

        FLOOD WATCH

Texas counties

Anderson

        HURRICANE STATEMENT until 09:30 PM CDT

Angelina

        FLOOD WATCH

Cherokee

        FLOOD WATCH

Jasper

        FLOOD WATCH

        TROPICAL STORM STATEMENT until 11:00 PM CDT

Nacogdoches

        FLOOD WATCH

Newton

        FLOOD WATCH

        TROPICAL STORM STATEMENT until 11:00 PM CDT

Panola

        FLOOD WATCH

Rusk

        FLOOD WATCH

Sabine

        FLOOD WATCH

San Augustine

        FLOOD WATCH

Shelby

        FLOOD WATCH

Tyler

        FLOOD WATCH

        TROPICAL STORM STATEMENT until 11:00 PM CDT

Dewhurst, Staples, and Williams to Visit Disaster Area - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 8:10 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Senators Todd Staples and Tommy Williams will visit areas affected by Hurricane Rita. They will be in East Texas tomorrow (Sunday) at the following locations:

City of Lufkin

        11:00 a.m.
Emergency Operations Center
City Hall
300 E. Shepherd Ave.
Lufkin, Texas 75901


        12:00 p.m.
Emergency Shelter
First Assembly of God Church
2021
S. John Redditt Dr.
Lufkin, Texas 75901


City of Beaumont

        2:00 p.m.
Emergency Operations Center
Entergy Texas Bldg.
Edison Plaza
350 Pine St.
Beaumont, Texas 77701

National Weather Service Update - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 7:37 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

These bulletins are currently in effect for our area:

Louisiana parishes

Sabine

        FLOOD WATCH

Texas counties

Anderson

        HURRICANE STATEMENT until 09:30 PM CDT

Angelina

FLOOD WATCH

Cherokee

FLOOD WATCH

Jasper

        FLOOD WATCH

        HURRICANE STATEMENT until 08:00 PM CDT

Nacogdoches

        FLOOD WATCH

Newton

        FLOOD WATCH

        HURRICANE STATEMENT until 08:00 PM CDT

Panola

        FLOOD WATCH

Rusk

        FLOOD WATCH

Sabine

        FLOOD WATCH

San Augustine

        FLOOD WATCH

Shelby

        FLOOD WATCH

Tyler

        FLOOD WATCH

        HURRICANE STATEMENT until 08:00 PM CDT

Update on Open Businesses in Lufkin - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 7:35 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

We have received the following reports of Lufkin businesses that are open (in addition to those reported earlier, except as noted):

        Conoco-Phillips service station at Brookshire Brothers on Frank St. is open; however, the store itself is closed

        K-Mart is open

        Polk’s Pick-It-Up on Frank St. is open

        Walgreen’s drug store is open

        Wal-Mart is open

There are long lines at all of these Lufkin stores.

TxDOT Road Conditions Update - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 7:10 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

The Texas Department of Transportation has updated information on road conditions throughout Deep East Texas. Click here to see more information in the complete press release.

Central Heights Schools Closed Monday - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 7:09 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Central Heights ISD has announced that schools will be closed on Monday.

Missing Family Members Update– Sat., 9/24/05 @ 6:40 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Earlier, we post the following information regarding two missing persons. We have now added an e-mail address by which you may contact Blaake Edwards, and you may also click here to see a photo of Mack Connerly and Tommy Peters.

Blaake Cauley-Edwards is looking for Mack Connerly, age 82, and Tommy Peters, age 14. They were last seen on Thursday, Sept. 22 in East Texas on highways 146 and 59, heading toward Rusk. They were driving a 2003 Sierra pickup with flat-lock top, and pulling a boat. The license plate number is 9RC-B84

If you have any information as to the whereabouts of Mack Connerly or Tommy Peters, please contact Blaake Edwards at one of the following phone numbers:  (919) 696-2618 (home) or (919) 957-9344 (cell), or e-mail her at
BlaakeEdwards@aol.com.

TxDOT Road Condition Update - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 6:10 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

The Texas Department of Transportation is warning motorists to stay off the highways as crews continue efforts to clear away debris.  Many of the areas major highways have been rendered impassable and having traffic on them would impede clean up efforts. TxDOT and other emergency officials are assessing and cleaning up the damage done by Hurricane Rita. To see the complete press release with more complete information about road conditions, click here.

Gas Availability Update - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 6:00 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Love’s truck stop on Loop 287 East is now out of gas.

Trinity Baptist Church Cancels All Sunday Services - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 5:35 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Trinity Baptist Church has cancelled all services for tomorrow. They have no power and the roof is leaking. Form more information, contact Sarah Hall at 632-0243 or Jan Futch at 639 6575.

Mail Service Will Probably Resume Monday - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 5:15 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

The United States Postal Service reports that mail service will probably resume Monday throughout most of the East Texas area.

Centerville Schools Closed Monday - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 4:55 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Craig Davis, Centerville Superintendent of Schools, called to cancel school for Monday only.

Some Businesses Open in Lufkin - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 4:45 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

We have learned that at least one Brookshire Brothers store is open in Lufkin, although we do not yet know which one(s). Barnhill’s Buffet is reported to be open. Lufkin BBQ is open to evacuees only.

Home Depot Has Water; Generators Coming - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 4:35 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Home Depot in Lufkin has some water left. They will also have 262 generators by 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Temple Inland Employee Information - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 4:30 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

As reported earlier, Temple Inland employees can call 1-866-813-9591 or go to www.ti911.com for information on operations after the storm.

Gasoline Availability Update - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 4:00 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

We have received reports that gasoline is currently available in Lufkin at Love’s truck stop on Loop 287 East and at the West Loop Chevron at the intersection of Loop 287 West and Old Union Rd.

Please Curtail Water Usage - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 3:55 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

The cities of Lufkin and Nacogdoches have specifically requested that residents limit water usage to essential use only. Please do not wash clothes, and be sure that any automatic lawn sprinklers are turned off. Several of the lift stations in these cities are running no generator power, and pressure needs to be maintained in order to meet emergency needs, such as the fire department. This probably applies to other cities throughout East Texas as well.

Church Schedule Change Announced - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 3:45 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Kathy Barnes of First Christian church in Lufkin tells us that they will have only one service tomorrow. That will occur at 11:00 a.m. The 9:00 a.m. service is cancelled tomorrow.

If other churches have schedule changes or cancellations to announce for tomorrow, please e-mail us at
rita@ktre.com and we will try to post them.

Hurricane Rita Blog Restructured - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 3:35 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

In order to keep the size of this page down so that it will (hopefully) load faster, we have  broken up the blog into multiple stories. There is now a blog page for each day of our Hurricane Rita coverage, beginning with Thursday. Today’s coverage has been split into two pages - morning and afternoon / evening (you are reading the latter). To read earlier posts, scroll to the bottom of this page, where you will find links to the previous posts.

Latest National Weather Service Update - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 3:17 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

These bulletins are currently in effect for our area:

Louisiana parishes

Sabine

        FLOOD WATCH

Texas counties

Anderson

        FLOOD WATCH

        HURRICANE STATEMENT until 04:00 PM CDT

Angelina

        FLOOD WATCH

Cherokee

        FLOOD WATCH

Houston

        FLOOD WATCH

Jasper

        FLOOD WATCH

        HURRICANE STATEMENT

        TROPICAL STORM STATEMENT

Nacogdoches

        FLOOD WATCH

Newton

        FLOOD WATCH

        HURRICANE STATEMENT

        TROPICAL STORM STATEMENT

Panola

        FLOOD WATCH

Polk

        FLOOD WATCH

Rusk

        FLOOD WATCH

Sabine

        FLOOD WATCH

San Augustine

        FLOOD WATCH

San Jacinto

        FLOOD WATCH

Shelby

        FLOOD WATCH

Trinity

        FLOOD WATCH

Tyler

        FLOOD WATCH

        HURRICANE STATEMENT

        TROPICAL STORM STATEMENT

Jasper Area Update - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 2:45 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

Authorities are saying that the emergency plan-of-action has been implemented for the county. There are no utilities in the city of Jasper or in Jasper County. Because of impassable roadways, FEMA officials are airlifting supplies into Jasper from Houston. TxDOT officials are clearing highways to allow outside help into the county.

Hurricane Rita Message Board - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 2:30 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

We have added a Hurricane Rita message board to our Hurricane Rita coverage on ktre.com. This was set up by our Web hosting company, WorldNow, and is like the one for Hurricane Katrina that is still on our site. It is a nationwide message board with Hurricane Rita information for both Texas and Louisiana. If you are looking for missing relatives, this would be a good place to post your information. WorldNow will add more categories as warranted. Click here to go to the message board.

Missing Family Members - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 2:20 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

We have been asked to post the following information regarding two missing persons:

Blaake Cauley-Edwards is looking for Mack Connerly, age 82, and Tommy Peters, age 14. They were last seen on Thursday, Sept. 22 in East Texas on highways 146 and 59, heading toward Rusk. They were driving a 2003 Sierra pickup with flat-lock top, and pulling a boat. The license plate number is 9RC-B84

If you have any information as to the whereabouts of Mack Connerly or Tommy Peters, please contact Blaake Edwards at one of the following phone numbers: 
(919) 696-2618 (home) or (919) 957-9344 (cell).

Damage Reports from East Texas - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 2:15 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

        David in Lufkin reports:  “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.”

        Janette Young reports:  “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.”

        Dayton Jones of Lufkin reports:  “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”

        Karen Crowley of Center reports:  “Center has had no power since 6:00 a.m., the winds have calmed some, but expect worse.”

        ErinLeigh Bryan of Lufkin reports:  “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 W 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!!!”

        Jana Burrows of Nacogdoches reports:  “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, CiCi's pizza.”

        LeeAnn Bailey of Redland reports:  “Winston 8 Ranch Rd, power lines down next door, trees down next door to me on each side all over the place.”

        Chris Smith of Hudson reports:  “Power out on Park Circle Drive off 1194 in Hudson.”

        Tim Swanson of Broaddus reports:  “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, just off of Hwy 103… We have quite a few limbs down but nothing severe. There are 10 of us here, including four evacuees from Highlands, Texas.”

        “Sewing Queen” from Huntington reports:  “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.”

        Christian Landers of Nacogdoches reports:  Two trees down on my property.”

        Dolores Bautista of Dallas reports:  “Groveton's power is out.  I called my family there and they have not had power for a while.”

        Pat Castella of Nacogdoches reports:  “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 in Lufkin reports:  “There is no electricity by North Timberland route, North First Street area, etc.

        KTRE-TV Account Executive Tracy Broadway reports:  “8.46 inches of rain today in Center through 130 pm. Numerous roads underwater.”

        Shawn Jones of Nacogdoches reports:  “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.”

        John Soileau of Lufkin reports:  “I live in Kings Row just south of Lufkin on 69 south… Damage so far just consists of limbs and small debris. I got a call from my parents who live in Sam Rayburn, off of Hwy. 107. 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…”

        Denise Fischer on Hwy. 103 East reports:  “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… We have one small limb down that we can see from our back porch.”

        Update Regarding Mail Delivery in East Texas - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 12:50 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

An official press release has been received from the U.S. Postal Service district office in Tyler, Texas regarding mail delivery in the East Texas area. As reported earlier, there will be no mail delivery today (Saturday) for a large part of East Texas. The USPS will assess the situation before making a decision about mail delivery on Monday. All area post offices are open for business during normal Saturday business hours. (Most will have closed by the time you see this.) For the complete press release, including details of which ZIP code areas will be affected, click here.

Update from San Augustine County - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 12:20 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin, Texas

The San Augustine County Sheriff’s Department is reporting a very dangerous situation due to downed power lines and debris across the roadways in the county. Officials are urging residents to stay in their homes and shelter and for no one to drive into the county until an assessment has been made of the extent of damage. Txdot officials are meeting at this hour to discuss their plan of action for cleanup.

Also, a non-weather related drowning occurred Thursday at a San Augustine motel. Sheriff’s department officials say that an unidentified 23-year-old evacuee was swimming in the motel pool when he reportedly drowned. No more details are available at this time.

Update from Consolidated Communications - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 12:05 p.m.
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Consolidated Communications network and operations employees have been working around the clock to maintain and restore telephone service to residents in Conroe and Lufkin as Hurricane Rita moves through east Texas.

Only mi, nimal damage has been reported in Consolidated Communications service areas. However, additional outages are expected in the Lufkin area as the storm passes through.

Jim Watkins, vice president, Operations, said the issues have been mainly with power supply, and Consolidated’s network and operations employees are working to maintain generator power in several locations.

The company asks customers to be patient as the hurricane clears the area and damage can be assessed and technicians safely dispatched as needed.

Generator Advisory from City of Nacogdoches - Sat., 9/24/05 @ 12:00 p.m. CDT
Posted by R. Smith, KTRE-TV, Lufkin

Citizens utilizing generators to power their homes and businesses must turn off their main electrical disconnect switch before powering their generators.  Failure to do this will cause electricity to back feed into public power systems causing injury and/or death to workers on public systems.  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 website at www.ci.nacogdoches.tx.us.

 

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