updated 9/22/2005 10:31:36 AM ET 2005-09-22T14:31:36

Today, as Hurricane Rita intensifies over the warm waters of the Gulf, we are bringing you live coverage of this storm as it comes.  We'll talk to the mayor of Galveston, health care officials, and our correspondents in the region.  The hour is a must see.

And as we saw with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the Web is playing a big role in the coverage of Hurricane Rita, as well.

Bloggers from Florida to Texas are already sharing images and information online.

In Florida, residents were, for the most part, lucky.

The Palm Beach Post has a visual blog filled with images from Miami and the Keys.

A couple images really caught my attention.  There was one of patients being evacuated from Key West, stacked up on trays like donuts to permit a faster getaway.  Key West officials obviously didn't want to take any chances with their hospital patients.

But for the most part the attitude there was pretty chill.  Lots of pictures of locals playing in the enormous waves that crashed into the area known as Southernmost Point.  I have stood at that very point.  On a clear day with binoculars you can see Cuba.  It's only 90 miles away.

In contrast it's not fun and games in Houston.  Bloggers in that area are taking this threat very seriously as the storm intensifies in the Gulf.

The Houston Chronicle has an online media presentation--experts predicting best and worst case scenarios--plus some news you can use.  There maps indicating evacuation routes from various towns around Houston.  As there are very few ways to leave Galveston, experts are urging people to go soon.

At Live Journal, a Houston resident posted a photo of empty shelves- her local supermarket was down to its last package of water.  Other bloggers report similar stories of grocery stores running out of water.

Craigslist, you may recall, served as an online message board for Katrina Victims.  The Houston page is already a resource for those waiting for Rita.  There are many rideshare offers for those leaving town.  Many are going to Denver and to San Francisco--anywhere safe and dry.

While most people are concerned about life and property, gas prices are a big concern, too.  The blog Oil Drum has a map indicating the hundreds of oil rigs in Rita's potential path.  This blogger says that those rigs are being evacuated right now.  The region is at less than fifty percent production already.  This could have a huge impact at the pump.

Finally, Hurricanerita.org is up online.  This blog is devoted to all the latest news about the storm as it strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico.

Links:
Palm Beach Post
Houston Chronicle
Live Journal
Craigslist
Oil Drum
Hurricane Rita

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