In the end, Rita was merciful — but it hardly mattered. The mere threat of another super-storm coming ashore less than a month after Katrina, had millions of Gulf Coast residents on the move — fleeing homes, running out of gas, burning alive.
The machinery of rescue was cranked up, oil rigs and refineries shut down, the nation's TV screens taken over again by the swirling eye of a hurricane. Even the glancing blow from Rita pushed New Orleans back underwater, recovery further away, and costs still higher.
Scientists say we are in for at least twenty years of fiercer storms, on a natural cycle, and maybe much more if this is global warming.
Hear about a new era of hurricane hell and its mind-bending implications.
Mark Schleifstein, Environment Reporter for Times-Picayune
Kris Axtman, Southwest Bureau Chief for the Christian Science Monitor
Kathy Armenta of the School of Social Work at the University of Texas, Austin
Professor of Environmental Sociology at The University of New Orleans and Director of the Center for Hazard Assesment and Technology.
This program aired on September 26, 2005.