* Cities along the Texas and Louisiana coasts turned into ghost towns yesterday as hundreds of thousands of people headed inland to wait out Hurricane Rita's punch.
The storm, the second powerful hurricane to move into the Gulf of Mexico in the last month, was expected to come ashore late today or early Saturday. Weather forecasters said Rita, which had monster winds of 150 miles per hour, could weaken a little before then. Still, the hurricane could bury the island town of Galveston, Texas, in water and could bring flooding to Houston, 50 miles from Galveston.
Regardless of where Rita hits, her fury will be felt far away. Places as far as 185 miles from where Rita comes ashore could get damaging winds of more than 70 mph. Officials in New Orleans, Louisiana, hit hard by Hurricane Katrina almost four weeks ago, continued to be concerned that heavy rain from Rita could flood that city again.
For the first time in history people along the Texas coast are being ordered out of their homes. But officials say that the order isn't really necessary. Most people who watched the impact of Katrina on television are packing up belongings to wait out the storm someplace safe.
"If Katrina did anything, it woke people up to the power of Mother Nature," said Anthony Griffin, 51, who left Galveston for his brother's home in Fort Worth, Texas.
Return of the Cicadas
* Click, click, click.
Remember the sound of cicadas that filled the air in the summer of 2004?
Well, you don't have to wait until 2021 to relive the noise, the red eyes and the crunching of exoskeletons that the 17-year cicadas bring. Indiana plant biologist Roger Hangarter used his back yard as the "set" for a new video that shows the emergence of Brood X cicadas.
To watch the movie, go to www.eurekalert.org/cicadas.