Local News

For Gulf Coast Hurricane Victims, All Eyes Now On Rita

Posted September 21, 2005 7:24 a.m. EDT

— Marylin Barfoot lives in Gulfport, Miss., and is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

A church group from Tennessee is helping her repair her roof and clean debris from her yard.

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  • Barfoot says that with Hurricane Rita now in the Gulf of Mexico, the Category 5 storm is just one more thing to add to her list of worries.

    "They're saying right now that the pressure is going to make it go west, but I never wish a storm on anybody," Barfoot says. "I always pray that God will weaken them. And so far He always weakened them until Katrina."

    The last thing people along the Gulf Cost say they need is another hurricane. That is why, in Louisiana and Mississippi, all eyes are on Hurricane Rita.

    Residents say the damage is so extensive and widespread already, that a hit by another Category 4 storm would be devastating.

    If Rita hits areas already compromised by Katrina, the big concern with residents is all the debris that lines the streets. With not enough time to clean it up, the debris could become projectiles.

    For many areas along the Gulf Coast that are still virtual ghost towns, evacuations will not be needed. But for people who are back in their homes, such as Jeannine McKnight, they must decide whether to stay and weather out the storm or evacuate once more

    "(I'm) watching it and really concerned," says McKnight, who left her Gulfport home during Katrina and came back to a collapsed roof. "You know, if Rita comes on us now, I mean we already have all this. What's gonna be left, you know?"

    Most people say that if Rita looks like it will hit close to home they will leave. If not, they would rather stay because they still have a whole lot of work to do in the wake of the last storm.