Hurricanes are damaging and Rita did a lot of damage here in Texas. Not nearly as much as Katrina a few weeks earlier, but plenty of damage. This is Wikipedia’s description:
Hurricane Rita was the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico. Rita caused $11.3 billion in damage on the U.S. Gulf Coast in September 2005. Rita was the seventeenth named storm, tenth hurricane, fifth major hurricane, and third Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.
Rita made landfall on September 24 at Johnson Bayou in Louisiana, near the border with Texas, as a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It continued on through parts of southeast Texas. The storm surge caused extensive damage along the Louisiana and extreme southeastern Texas coasts and completely destroyed some coastal communities. The storm killed seven people directly; many others died in evacuations and from indirect effects.
A satellite image shows Hurricane Rita taken at 10:15 a.m. CDT Sept. 24, 2005, as it plowed through Texas and Louisiana.
Wikipedia talks a lot about what happened the week of Hurricane Rita and in the direct aftermath, but does not mention how little of the damage has been repaired. For that, we have to look at a new article in the Austin American Statesman that indicates that “In the two years since Hurricane Rita struck Texas, records show that the state has spent less than 1 percent of the federal money allotted to fix or replace thousands of ruined homes.”
WIERGATE, Texas — In the two years since Hurricane Rita struck Texas, records show that the state has spent less than 1 percent of the federal money allotted to fix or replace thousands of ruined homes.
East Texas officials, whose counties were among those hit hardest after Rita roared ashore with 120 mph winds, say the state government has been slow to release funds. But state officials blame strict federal rules and argue that Texas received less money than Louisiana and Mississippi.
“It really appears to me that the state has had an overabundance of caution to prevent fraud and abuse,” said Walter Diggles, executive director of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments. “Every time we talk to them they say, ‘Look, we don’t want a Katrina,’ or fraud with individual distributions.”
When Rita made landfall near Sabine Pass on Sept. 24, 2005, it damaged about 80,000 properties in 22 counties of Southeast Texas. Some 15,000 homes were left in need of repairs.
In the meantime, residents are waiting and dealing with more damage.
Evie McBride, 72, wonders whether how long she’ll be living in a Federal Emergency Management Agency travel trailer. Her home, a doublewide on the little piece of backwoods, remains in musty shambles since Rita struck.
“I tell you what is frustrating is seeing a house that would have cost $5,000 to fix 30 days after the storm will now cost $30,000 to fix because it’s just steadily deteriorating,” said Keith Billingsley, an inspector for the Deep East Texas COG.