One Rita Evacuee's Horror Story Illustrates Many

Leslie Jones, a former researcher for NASA, spent 36 hours in a pickup truck in an effort to get out of Houston ahead of Hurricane Rita. In a story familiar to many other evacuees, she managed to cover just 90 miles, making it to Bryan, Texas.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Along with whatever food, clothing and prized possessions they could carry, many evacuees also took along their pets as they fled Rita's path. Leslie Jones(ph) and her two cats traveled 90 miles by pickup truck from Houston to Bryan, Texas. And we've called Leslie Jones this morning.

Leslie, where are you staying?

Ms. LESLIE JONES: I am at my mother's house on the north side of Bryan.

HANSEN: And where did you ride out the storm?

Ms. JONES: At her house. It's kind of in the country a little bit, and we actually fared very well here. Since Rita moved a little bit further east, we had nothing here--no rain, just a little wind.

HANSEN: Have you been able to go outside?

Ms. JONES: Oh, yes, yes. But here there was no damage at all. Bryan missed the brunt of the storm. It--we got no rain at all here, and they're desperate for rain and we were hoping to get rain here and got nothing, no wind, no rain, no damage. Just a few old, rotten limbs that were dead had fallen out of the trees.

HANSEN: How are your cats holding up?

Ms. JONES: They're doing pretty good considering they're 14 years old, which is difficult for them. I was very concerned, but they were eating a little bit. And one cat, for 36 hours or more, didn't have any fluid, so I was getting extremely concerned about her well-being. But the other one was fine. He was drinking water and eating and letting me know he was not happy, and the other one was just kind of hiding to just kind of block out what's happening to her.

HANSEN: Now officials are urging people not to return home right away. How long will you wait before heading home to Houston?

Ms. JONES: I will not go back until at least tomorrow.

HANSEN: And what are your plans for the next week or so?

Ms. JONES: Well, I had some slight damage at my house. I lost a tree in the back yard, so I will work on that for the few days. And then I'm not sure when my company will open back up, but then unfortunately I've been terminated from that position. I've been laid off. And so for the next I don't know how--I'll be able to work around the house and make sure I get it all cleaned up and repair any damages that have occurred.

HANSEN: Leslie Jones spoke to us on her cell phone from Bryan, Texas. She evacuated Houston before Hurricane Rita.

Thanks for your time.

Ms. JONES: Thank you.

HANSEN: It's 22 minutes before the hour.

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