I continue to watch hurricane Rita closely as the projections continue to predict that Rita will come ashore between Port Arthur, Texas and Lake Charles, Lousiana. The biggest town between the two is my home town of Orange, Texas. My entire extended family has evacuated, most of them to Longview, Texas.
I heard this morning that Cameron, Louisiana, which is south of Lake Charles on the coast, is already starting to flood. When I was in seventh grade, we learned that the highest elevation in Orange County (Texas) is thirty feet above sea level. Needless to say, the 15 to 20 foot storm surge that’s predicted could flood most of the county. There is also great fear of secondary flooding. Many forecasts predict that once the hurricane comes inland, it will dump 15 to 30 inches of rain in east Texas and western Louisiana. Much of that rainwater will wind up in reservoirs like Toledo Bend, which forms a good sized chunk of the border between Louisiana and Texas. If they have to open the floodgates on Toledo Bend, flood waters will head down the Sabine River, which runs only a couple of miles away from my parents’ house.
There are lots of things to worry about, but I’m glad that the fates of family members riding out the storm aren’t among them. In the meantime, I have an internal countdown running for each update from the National Hurricane Center.