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Rita hits Cat 5,steams through Gulf

Hurricane Rita grew to a monster Category 5 storm on Wednesday afternoon, and at least one million people had fled.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIM0RE | September 21, 2005

Hurricane Rita grew to a monster Category 5 storm on Wednesday afternoon, and at least one million people had fled.

The storm will make landfall by the weekend, likely in Texas somewhere between Galveston and Corpus Christi, said forecasters.

Mandatory evacuation orders covered Galveston, parts of Houston, and New Orleans. If the storm takes a slight turn, New Orleans and its weakened levees could be inundated again.

In Houston, residents in low-lying and flood-prone areas were told to evacuate. At its lowest point, Houston - home to two million people - is six feet above sea level.

At a news conference, Texas Gov. Rick Perry told coastal residents to head to safer ground as soon as they could. "Now is the time to leave," he said.

Some tracks showed the storm will hit about 80 miles southwest of Houston, which would expose the city to the most powerful part of the storm.


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