- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

CAMERON, La. (AP) - A by-the-numbers look at the devastation and effect of Hurricane Rita, which struck southwest Louisiana on Sept. 24, 2005:

-The Storm: Rita, at one point a category 5 storm, hit the Texas/Louisiana border as a category 3 hurricane, with winds topping 120 mph and pushing a storm surge that reached 20 feet in some places.

-Toll: At least 11 deaths in Texas and Louisiana were blamed on the storm, along with another 100 deaths in the evacuation of the Houston area. Rita caused more than $11 billion in damage. It ranks as the ninth-costliest hurricane nationally when based on insured losses. At one point, Rita halted 98 percent of oil and natural gas production in the Gulf.

-Agricultural Damage: An estimated 2,000 square miles of farmland and marshes got soaked with seawater, devastating crops and livestock. Damage to the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries was estimated to reach $593 million.

-Housing Damage: More than 23,600 homes were deemed severely damaged or destroyed in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas, while another 39,000 had roof damage and received FEMA’s blue tarps. In the hardest hit area of Cameron Parish, 40 percent of all structures were destroyed, and nearly all homes sustained damage. Three-quarters of the roofs in Calcasieu Parish, the northern neighbor to Cameron Parish, were damaged or destroyed.

-Population: The population in Cameron Parish hasn’t recovered from Rita. Nearly 10,000 people lived in the rural, coastal parish before Rita. That’s down to about 6,700 people. Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes, which also took direct hits from Rita, have grown since the storm, with Calcasieu’s population reaching 197,000 and Vermilion at nearly 60,000.


Sources: The U.S. Census Bureau, The Rita Report commissioned by the Louisiana Recovery Authority, Insurance Information Institute, the LSU AgCenter and Associated Press archives.

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