HOUSTON, TX – On this day 15 years ago, Category 5 Storm Hurricane Rita made landfall along the Texas-Louisiana border. Rita was the strongest hurricane to strike Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana since Hurricane Audrey on June 27, 1957
Almost 1.3 million residents were forced to evacuate the state leaving them trapped in gridlock traffic for up to 24 hours.
Rita reached a peak intensity of a category 5 with sustained winds of 180 mph. Towns like Holly Beach were literally wiped off the map, completely changing the landscape of south Louisiana. Storm surge flooding inundated the coast as far east as Mississippi and Alabama.
Several areas, including Erath, Delcambre, Avery Island, and Cypremort Point saw record water levels. Wind damage and flooding raged through Lake Charles and much of eastern Texas and western Louisiana.
Hurricane Rita caused more than 100 deaths and over $18 million dollars in damage across the Houston and Galveston area.