X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

HOUSTON-As Hurricane Rita, the second Gulf of Mexico storm of the season, churns its way from the Florida Keys, citizens of Houston and Galveston are taking no chances.

Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall in the upper northwest Gulf Coast sometime early Saturday morning. And residents in these areas, which had already absorbed more than 2,000 New Orleans refugees from Hurricane Katrina, are packing up and leaving under both mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders. More than one million people were ordered to exit coastal communities as the National Hurricane Center reported the latest storm–a category 5–is packing 175-mph winds or 20 mph more than Katrina’s punch.

As a result, hotels throughout Texas are experiencing the brunt of the flight. “Every hotel room east of I-35 is full, including Dallas, Waco, Austin and San Antonio,” says Pat Miller with the Austin-based Texas Hotel & Lodging Association. The closest available rooms, at press time, were in Lubbock, which is an eight-hour drive from Houston.

“Yesterday afternoon, Dallas hotels announced they could accommodate 20,000 people” Miller tells GlobeSt.com. “This morning when I came into work, they said they were completely full; they couldn’t take any more guests. Everything had been booked up last night.”

Even locations west of I-35 are beginning to feel the strain. “San Angelo and Abilene have also announced they’re full,” Miller says, adding San Angelo had a festival planned so hotel rooms in the area were previously booked. With the storm coming, he notes, one major convention in Houston had been canceled. And, he adds, “a couple more were displaced, but nothing overwhelming. It wasn’t too busy in Houston.”

However, Miller says, cities like Austin–which is hosting its annual City Limits Festival this weekend–and San Antonio have been hard-pressed to place more guests. “San Antonio tends to be a busy convention town anyway. Then, added to that, are all these folks coming out of South Texas,” he says. With rooms filling up quickly in Texas, his staff is researching hotel room availability as far west as El Paso and as far north as Oklahoma City.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

GlobeSt

Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.