This all sounds eerily familiar.

KEY WEST, Fla. – Residents of the Florida Keys exhaled after Hurricane Rita largely spared the island chain, while those in Texas and already-battered Louisiana fretted the strengthening storm could become a Katrina-esque monster and target them by week’s end.

Rita was upgraded to a Category 3 storm early Wednesday with 120 mph winds and forecasters said it could further intensify, sparking an order for mandatory evacuations in New Orleans and Galveston, Texas.

Associated Press: Rita Upgraded to Category 3 Hurricane


KEY WEST, Fla. – Rita intensified into a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday with wind of 135 mph, deepening concerns that the storm could devastate coastal Texas and already-battered Louisiana by week’s end.

Mandatory evacuations already have been ordered for New Orleans and Galveston, Texas, one day after Rita skirted the Florida Keys as a Category 2 storm, causing minimal damage.

Associated Press: Rita, Now Category 4, Heads for Gulf Coast

Politics Rita: Category 3 Category 4