Rita Evacuees Arrive in Texoma

9-22-05 - Hotels and shelters are filling up fast here in Texoma as evacuees travel north to escape Rita's path.

As of Thursday at 3 p.m. there were not any rooms available at the Hampton Inn in Sherman. The phone has been ringing off the hook as those driving North from the Galveston and Houston area have been calling to check for vacancies with little success.

Pedro Hernandez has his entire family in the car with him. It took them 17 hours to drive up here to Texoma from Pearland, a suburb just south of Houston, but they were planning on heading this way before the storm warnings. Now their trip is turning into an extended vacation.

Joy Torres also evacuated and doesn't know how long she is going to be in the area.

"At least through Sunday depending on the condition of our property," Torres said. "We have some neighbors who decided to stay and they're gonna let us know if there's anything to go back to"

Annette Smith and her granddaughter left their home just South of Houston Wednesday afternoon, and didn't arrive in Texoma until Thursday morning.

"This is a first time experience and next time I'll leave even sooner because of the traffic," Smith said.

With thousands still trying to get out of Houston, traffic is causing many to push back their reservations.

Hotels aren't the only places evacuees are checking in. The Trinity Baptist Church was ready to house Katrina evacuees just three weeks ago, and they've already started welcomed families from Houston.

Every hotel along 75 in Sherman is booked solid through Sunday. Most people interviewed by KXII reporters are hoping to head back south on Monday, and they are all hoping to find their home the way they left it.