Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rita beginning to impact Shreveport-Bossier-City

9:48 9/23/05

Rita beginning to impact Shreveport-Bossier-City

Travel on area highways is becoming difficult as winds pick up, reaching 31 mph with gusts to 46 mph. If you are on the roads, you can feel the wind pushing the sides of the car and sense sudden hydroplaning as you make your way. I should know; I just drove I-49 and I-20. My house in south Shreveport lost power an hour ago, but the lights across the street were still on at that time.

While downtown still has power, who knows how long it will last. We had a flicker here at the office at 9:30 a.m. Our online efforts were interrupted for a few minutes. The newsroom went dark for a minute. 

KSLA-TV12 Storm Tracker meteorologist Ron Young says the highest winds are coming. Most of the eye wall is across the Sabine River, he says. Tornados could spawn as Ritas winds strengthen near Nagadoches, TX. The storm is moving at good clip, he said. There is a chance well see sustained tropical force winds later this afternoon and evening. Well see trees and power lines possibly coming down, Young added.

Rita is starting her downpour around town. Even though the storm is weakening, do not let down your guard. A tropical storm will have an impact for days and possibly weeks in our neighborhoods. The predicted 10-15 inches of rain will force people from some homes. Times Reporter Don Walker and Times flood tracker James Ramage just left to make rounds. They will call from locations they are monitoring.

Check back here in an hour or so for another note or two.

--Alan English, executive editor


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