As we saw during Hurricane Katrina and its ongoing aftermath, the Web provides valuable resources and information for those in the affected regions. In anticipation of the landfall of Hurricane Rita, bloggers from Florida to Texas are already online sharing tips and photos, as well as support. The following sites are a look at some initial response to Rita as that storm gathers strength in the Gulf.
First hit of course, were the Florida coastal communities and the Keys. Florida was relatively lucky this time, but the images are nonetheless dramatic. Visit The Palm Beach Post for an online blog contained several dozen gripping photos of the storm as it came through the Miami area and Key West.
Meanwhile, bloggers from New Orleans all the way to Houston are not taking this lightly. This is the first mandatory evacuation ever in the state of Texas, and the fear is palpable.
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, Hurricane-rita.org is up online. This blog is devoted to all the latest news about the storm as it strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico.
And, of course, for all official information about the path Rita is taking this week, visit The National Hurricane Center's website.
Watch 'Connected Coast-to-Coast' each weekday at Noon, ET, and read Tony's Tabs each weekday morning to find out what's on the show.