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Escaping Rita leaves Texas-sized traffic

As hurricane rushes towards shore, residents stalled on jammed highways
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As Hurricane Rita speeds into the Texas-Louisiana border, an estimated 1.8 million people have packed up their belonging to head toward safety. 

But shelter has been slow to reach with massive bottlenecks on the roads.  Houston-areas residents faced 14-hour traffic jams on Thursday with cars overheating in the humid southern heat.

“I think we’ve got the right preparation in place.  It’s frustrating and it’s taken them a long time to get from point A to point B," Texas Governor Rick Perry told MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday's 'Hardball.'  "The fact of the matter is it’s a lot better for them to be moving slowly than to be in this storm’s path." 

Even with bumper-to-bumper lines that reportedly stretched for miles, Perry said, "This evacuation is going relatively well.”

The governor finally ordered both sides of the I-45 and I-10 freeways open to outgoing traffic only to speed up the evacuation.

"This is a bad storm and this one that’s going to do a huge amount of damage.  It’s just always hard to figure out what these huge storms are doing to go."  Perry said, "We’re doing everything we can to make it as easy as we can for residents to move to safety."

But with the extended hold-ups, some cars ran out of gas.  Oil trucks on stand-by were reportedly sent to aid anyone stranded motorists.

Governor Perry said that problem was expected by studying previous evacuation plans and modules.  He noted that staying positive and keeping cool would go a long way in getting everyone out of harm's way.

“I ‘m asking people to be calm, just to be patient, and we’ll get you out of the storm’s path. That’s the most important thing,” he said. “Every mile you get away from that coast, the safer these people will be.”

Watch each night at 5 and 7 p.m. ET on MSNBC.