Rita Reaches Hurricane Status

Galveston officials called for a voluntary evacuation starting today because of early predictions that a hurricane may slam into the Texas Gulf Coast by the weekend.

This Morning, The National Hurricane Center Reported that the storm has gained categoty 1 strength, packing 75 miles an hour winds  as it continues to barrel towards the Florida Keys.

Yesterday, residents were urged to evacuate the Keys and Miami-Dade County.

In New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin suspended his plan to start bringing residents back to the city after forecasters warned that Rita could cause additional flooding, possibly damaging the already weakened levees.

About 2,400 National Guardsmen were called up to support emergency operations, and another 8,000 are available.

Hurricane warnings are also in effect for part of the Bahamas and four Cuban provinces, including Havana.