The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on September 23, 2005 · Page 12
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 12

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Indianapolis, Indiana
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Friday, September 23, 2005
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A12 FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2005 THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR - WWW.INDYSTAR.COM HURRICANE RITA GALVESTON'S SEAWALL Ground slopes upward behind wall to let overflow run back to the Gulf. Seawall Boulevard POPULATION OF COASTAL COUNTIES Virginia Point Concrete apron: Directs waves upward Galveston Bay Pelican Island Austin if m: San Antonio Victoria 85,800 San Patricio 68,200 Victoria Nueces 317,500 Corpus Christi v4 Kleberg 31,400 rl Kenedy 400 Willacy 20,200 vBrowrisville i f amprnn MEXICOV,.T" 371,800 V, Sources: FEMA, University of Texas at San Antonio, Fort Worth Star Telegram, The Daily News mages a Galveston, which lost historic hurricane, mav By Ofolia Casillas Chicago Tribune GALVESTON, Texas A sea wall rising 17 feet above the glistening Gulf of Mexico stands as a reminder of the 1900 hurricane that killed about 8,000 residents and destroyed this island, transforming it from booming ship port to a place where tourists remember the past. Hurricane Rita now threatens this community of seaside hotels, where windows with panoramic views are obscured by plywood. By Thursday, it was a ghost town. A town that for so long has commemorated its destruction the local "Great Storm" Theater regularly plays 30 minutes of images, writings and sounds of the 1900 hurricane, its aftermath and rebuilding was preparing to relive it. "The images of the devastation of 1900 are always with us. It's engraved in our collective consciousness even more than most communities," said Marsh Davis, executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation. "Time has caught up with us, and we are facing the first evacuation here in 20 years." Recent images of Hurricane Katrina's ruin have been adequate warning for this island's residents, who have grown up with daily reminders of the 1900 hurricane. Gcis Experts say fear of running out outweighs high price. From A1 though Casey said it's too early to know whether Rita will cause the same problems. "If people will just act con- servatively, fill up only when you need to, they'll be OK," Casey said. Drivers eager to fill up lined up three cars deep throughout the day at the pumps at the BP Amoco at 52nd Street and Keystone Avenue, said Steve Cunningham, an employee. That station was able to meet demand; two other BP stations in Indianapolis reported Thursday evening they had run out of gas. A BP Amoco at 9235 E. 56th St. ran out of gas at 6 p.m., and its manager did not know when more would come in. A BP Connect at 8045 S. Meridian St. ran out of fuel at 7 p.m. and expected a delivery at 11 p.m. Thursday at the earliest. National City Bank chief economist Richard DeKaser expects Rita to elicit behavior from consumers similar to what Katrina. did. They'll save less money and keep spending on gas. Motorists spent so much on gas in August that the nation's consumer savings rate dipped into the red, DeKaser said. September figures could reveal the same, he said. That's understandable, say some academics who study how people react when faced with scarcity. University of Notre Dame fi TEXAS Liberty 74,800 - Beaumont Harris 3.6 million Jackson 14,400 brazosporr v Galveston dlKV 271,700 maiagoraa Brazoria 271,100 Matagorda 38,100 Calhoun 20,600 Aransas 24,000 Refugio 7,600 Gulf of Mexico SO miles of 1900 8,000 residents in have to relive disaster. Ten miles of sea wall separate residents from the Gulf, and plaques mark the homes that survived the storm a century ago, more than 2,000 of which were elevated in the 1900s to protect them from future storms. The local museum features an ongoing storm exhibit, and pictures on the walls of restaurants depict the hurricane's destructioa A large, fading granite stone in a local cemetery memorializes those who perished in the hurricane. For the 100th anniversary of that storm, a sculpture was added to the sea wall of a man holding his wife and child and raising one arm to the sky. "It's an event that people talk about," Davis said. "It was the defining moment for this community." Galveston had been a major ship port prior to the 1900 hurricane, local historians said, and at the time residents felt their town could overcome anything, even a threatening storm. But the storm quickly whipped into the equivalent of a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, devastating the island, which was less than 9 feet above sea level and completely vulnerable, historians said. The storm surged nearly 16 feet at an estimated 140 mph, killing more than a quarter of the town's 37,000 residents and destroying nance Professor Tim Loughran said a fear of running out of gas overrules restraint that normally follows high prices. Similarly, Indiana University psychologist Ed Hirt said, "The natural thing is to panic." Hirt said he suspects consumers will anticipate shortages and high prices from Rita and hoard, though possibly with less intensity after having seen prices drop quickly after Katrina ended. Does Hirt, an expert in how people make decisions amid uncertainty, plan to top off his Nissan Quest minivan? "I don't know," he said. Scot Imus, executive director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, a trade group of convenience store operators and fuel haulers, said he hasn't heard of long lines forming at stations. But he won't be surprised if consumers begin to hoard gasoline. "At a time supply was critical, it probably hurts consumers more than it helped consumers," Imus said. Like Smith; the contractor driving a Ford pickup, Angie Fancher, Southport, filled her Ford Contour sedan Thursday. On typical trips to gas stations she puts in half a tank, but not with Rita threatening supplies. "At $2.69, yup, I'm filling it up," Fancher said. Star reporter John Tuohy contributed to this story. Call Star reporter Norm Heikens at (317) 444-6532. nousiorv j v, Galveston -' Vv- . k I uiamoers Orange 84,800 LA. West Bay Port A A .-4h.il, ' V Jefferson 248,200 1 mils HURRICANE RITA'S LIKELY The U.S. mainland has'not been hit by two Category 4 storms in the sameyear since 1915. Katrina came ashore Aug. 29 as a Category 4, and the 400-mile-wide Rita is expected to make landfall late today or early Saturday somewhere along a 350-mile stretch of the Texas and Louisiana coast. A look at key cities at risk: Port Arthur: The city's mayor declined to estimate how many of the town's 60,000 residents have left. He expected the Sabine Pass portion of Port Arthur, which is on the beach, to be under water between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. (Galveston, Texas), University of Wisconsin, U.S. storm i i i i in 1 1 1 i in a m hi in mil in 'u ... If III lllll ill r , IH hi m ilium slT ; I . in in mil ii J Llv.t . J ) 1 LI in.ii.ii j x 5SfSrrl?TlK i ?sl 1 11 I Chad Greene Associated Press Ghost town: The historic Strand in Galveston, Texas, was empty on Thursday as Hurricane Rita approached. 3,600 buildings, according to historical data. Galveston's strong economy was reason to rebuild in a hurry. Three ships dredged sand from a Galveston bayou and pumped it through canals dug into sections of the island. Homeowners elevated their structures on screwjacks or filled in their basements to raise their homes, said Christy Carl, director of the Galveston County Historical Museum. The work that began in 1902 was mostly paid for by the city through the sale of bonds, with some tax relief from the state, Carl said. When the work was complete, the highest level of the Rita Police ferried gasoline to' motorists stuck in traffic. From A1 ter and could intensify overnight, possibly back to Category 5 status. Meteorologist Chris Sisko said hurricane specialists were carefully monitoring the hurricane's "wobble" to determine whether it could indicate a change in direction. " In all, nearly 2 million people along the Texas and Louisiana coasts were urged to get out of the way of Rita, a 400-mile-wide storm that weakened Thursday from a top-of-the-scale Category 5 hurricane to a Category 4. Forecasters warned of the pos-" sibility of a storm surge of 15 to 20 feet, battering waves, and rain of up to 15 inches along the Texas and western Louisiana coast. The evacuation was a traffic nightmare. Highways leading inland out of Houston, a metropolitan area of 4 million people about an hour's drive from the shore, were clogged for up . to 100 miles north of the city. Drivers ran out of gas in 14-hour traffic jams or looked in vain for a place to stay as hotels ' filled up all the way to the Oklahoma and Arkansas line. Others . got tired of waiting in traffic and turned around and went home. Service stations reported running out of gasoline, and police officers along the highways carried gas to motorists whose tanks were empty. Texas authorities viaivesion.?. , Broadway 1.8? After the 1900 storm, engineers raised the island's elevation 11 feet and built a seawall that extends more than 10 miles along the Guf Coast TARGETS Houston: Thursday, evacuees clogged highways 100 miles north of the nation's fourth-largest city. NASA evacuated Johnson Space Center, 20 miles southeast of town and transferred control of the international space station to Russia. The last major hurricane to strike the area was Category 3 Alicia in 1983, which flooded downtown, spawned 22 tornadoes and left 21 people dead. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, revived i I HI. I-JJ 1 i 3 sea wall was 17 feet above sea level, sloping to sea level to the harbor on the north side. At the same time, however, Houston had begun to build a ship channel closer to railroads. That city replaced Galveston as Texas' major port. "That was the end of Galveston's eminence as the Gulf seaport," Davis said. "It recovered, but certainly it was never going to be what it was before." With fewer than 60,000 residents today, Galveston continues as a port but lives off tourists who come to appreciate its beaches and rich historical architecture. "Storms can shift economies," Carl said. David Mori Associated Press All dry: Bottled water was sold out Thursday at a Wal-Mart in Copperas Cove, Texas, as Hurricane Rita appeared to be nearing. asked the Pentagon for help in getting gasoline to drivers stuck in traffic. The traffic jam extended well into Louisiana, with 1-10 jammed from Lake Charles through Baton Rouge. State police said the biggest backups were at exits, where cars stacked up in long lines of motorists trying to get gasoline. Rather than sit in traffic, some people walked their dogs, got out to stretch or switch drivers, or lounged in the beds of pickup trucks. Fathers and sons played catch. Some walked from car to car, chatting with others. With temperatures in the 90s, many cars were overheating, as were some tempers. "I've been screaming in the car," said Abbie Huckleby, who was trapped on 1-45 with her husband and two children as they tried to get from the Houston sub Height: 17 feet Base: 16-20 feet wide SHELTER FROM FUTURE STORMS as much as Galveston: About 90 percent of the city's estimated 60,000 residents have evacuated. Rita's storm surge could reach 50 feet and swamp the 16-foot-tall, 11-mile-long granite sea wall surrounding city. A storm in 1900 vitually wiped the city off the map, killing as many as 12,000 people with 15-foot waves. The city later was elevated by using sand taken from the Gulf of Mexico. ' Port Arthur News Charities likely can't use Katrina funds for Rita aid By Jacqueline L Salmon and Elizabeth Williamson The Washington Post WASHINGTON Much of the $11 billion donated to charities to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina may be unavailable to assist those affected by Hurricane Rita because of legal limits on how the organizations can use the money. Rita is widely expected to cause significant damage along the Gulf Coast when it slams into the Texas shoreline late today or early Saturday. But laws in most states requiring charities to honor donors' intentions will hamper the charities' ability to use money raised for Katrina victims to aid survivors of Rita, relief organizations and legal experts said Thursday. The situation has sent charities scrambling to reword fund-raising appeals or launch new ones in order to free cash for what could be another catastrophe. "It's a nightmare," said Maj. George Hood, a spokesman for the Salvation Army, which has raised $156 million to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Now, Hood said, the group will probably have to start a separate fund for Hurricane Rita donors. The Red Cross, which has raised $827 million for Katrina relief, said Thursday that it also expects shortly to set up a system to allow donors to designate urb of Katy to Dallas, about 250 miles away. "It's not working. If I would have known it was this bad, I would have stayed at home and rode out the storm at home." To speed the evacuation, Gov. Rick Perry halted all southbound traffic into Houston along 1-45 and took the unprecedented step of opening all eight lanes to northbound traffic out of the city for 125 miles. 1-45 is the primary evacuation route north from Houston and Galveston. Perry urged evacuees to stay calm and be patient. "You've done the right thing by leaving two days before Hurricane Rita makes landfall," he said. "You will get out of the coastal region on time. It's just going to take some time." Houston's mayor acknowledged that the pre-hurricane ni- n .nii.f,,ili.i.li-,iM - Seawall Pilings Knight Ridder Tribune, The Star contributions to Hurricane Rita relief. Although there will be overlap because the storms are affecting some of the same areas and the same people, the money raised so far by the Red Cross "came in specifically for Katrina, and that is what it will be used for," said spokeswoman Devorah Goldburg. "There is no wavering." Legal experts said charities are restricted by state laws that generally limit the use of charitable funds to their designated purpose. "You cannot accept it for one purpose and use it for another," said Eugene Tempel, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Diverting funds to a different cause even another hurricane could open charities up to prosecution by state attorneys general, said Jill Manny, executive director of the National Center for Philanthropy and the Law at New York University. Many charities are also mindful of the controversy that ensnared the American Red Cross over its Liberty Disaster Fund, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The organization was criticized when it decided to reserve some of the money for causes other than helping Sept. 11 victims and their families. It ultimately apologized and withdrew the decision. evacuation preparations, which some Texas officials had been boasting about earlier this week, had gone awry, in part, because too many people attempted to flee the city at once. - White said he had been imploring federal and state official since early Thursday to reverse traffic flow on the inbound lanes, but that it had only began to occur by mid-afternoon. "I would say there will be some learning experiences," the mayor said. Beaumont, near the Louisiana state line, was virtually deserted Thursday night. "We had the Katrina people in our homes. We saw what they went through. That was lesson enough," said police spokeswoman Crystal Holmes. She said officials "planned to load emergency vehicles and dump trucks onto two large Naval Reserve ships there, ground the ships in the bottom muck and tie them to concrete piers in the hope they would better ride out the storm. Along the coast, petrochemical plants began shutting down and hundreds of workers were evacuated from offshore oil rigs. Environmentalists warned of a worst-case scenario in which a storm surge pushed spilled oil or chemicals from the bayous into the city of Houston itself, inundating mostly .poor, Hispanic neighborhoods on its south side. Perry said state officials had been in contact with plants that are "taking appropriate procedures to safeguard their facilities." The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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