Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hurricane Rita

In the 2005 hurricane season, Hurricane Rita was the fifth major hurricane recorded. Lasting from September 18 to September 26 of 2005, Rita first formed in the Bahamas as a result of a tropical wave that developed off the coast of West Africa. The storm formed on the 18th in the Gulf of Mexico, but it wasn't until September 24th that it made landfall between Sabine Pass, Texas and Johnson Bayou, Louisiana. By September 26th, Rita had weakened into a large low-pressure area over the lower Mississippi Valley.

The effects of this storm were pretty substantial. It hadn't even been a month since the infamous Hurricane Katrina had hit, and Rita old made the effects Katrina had on Louisiana worse. In fact, because Rita hit so soon after Katrina, a record-breaking 2.5 to 3.7 million people evacuated from the Texas coastline in preparation. Rita left areas of Texas and Louisiana without power for several weeks, and resulted in a total of $12 billion in damage. And that number is reported in 2005 US dollars; the damage would have amounted to about $15.2 billion in 2012 US dollars. On top of the material damage, as many as 120 deaths across 4 different states were reported. Texas reported 113 of these deaths. While only 7 were directly related to the hurricane (caused by winds, flooding, tornadoes, storm surges, or oceanic effects), all were in some way related to the storm.

This image shows Hurricane Rita as it starts to make its landfall on the Gulf Coast on September 23, 2005.

This image is a storm track map of Hurricane Rita's entire progression.

This final image shows damage done by Hurricane Rita to Cameron, Louisiana.