Rita is now approximately 100 miles offshore and it looks as though ground zero for this storm will be the Beaumont/Port Arthur area in NE Texas. Expect Port Arthur to experience massive storm surge and the destruction of approximately 6,500 homes as the water rises quickly with a 20+ft storm surge. Locations east of Port Arthur in the NE quadrant of the hurricane will also suffer massive storm surge and hurricane force wind damage. Expect numerous tornados from this point thru landfall as dangerous squall lines move thru the warning area.
One of the scariest things about this storm is that it is going to come ashore in the middle of the night. Massive storm surges in the middle of the night has got to be one of the scariest experiences a person can go through. I have seen several people on TV tonight in Port Arthur, Tx who say they are staying for the storm. Shepard Smith from Foxnews is on Port Arthur doing his show this evening. All I can say is that I hope these people have a bit of common sense hit them in the next couple of hours and get out of there. Otherwise they will be statistics come tomorrow morning. Early estimates for damage prior to landfall are $8 billion dollars.
I will be up all night tracking the hurricanes landfall while trying to capture amazing images as this whole event goes down. Jim Williams from Hurricane City will be communicating with numerous storm chasers during his landfall broadcast this evening. All of the cable news networks will be covering this story thru the night. Just like with Katrina, expect history to made this evening with this landfall and over the next couple of days as the storm stalls and the aftermath becomes clear.