After seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana just weeks before, Houstonians took warnings seriously when Rita was projected to be a direct hit at a category 5 hurricane.  An estimated 2.5 million people evacuated from the Greater Houston area, backing up the freeways for miles.  While the hurricane took a last minute hook to the east and decreased to a category 3, there was still significant damage in the area.

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