This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor.
We make mistakes sometimes, and the mistake we're making this week is the downplaying of the damage from Hurricane Rita.
The traffic jams from Houston last week looked like a prelude to the apocalypse. So when Hurricane Rita didn't hit one of the biggest cities in America it was, "Wow what a relief." Well, yes, a relief to Houstonians.
But what of the people in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana? If you are one of the 2,000 residents of Cameron, Louisiana, your home was flattened like a pancake. Other little town like Hackberry and Holly Beach — there's not much there anymore.
Flood waters stretch from the Texas state line all the way to Houma, Louisiana. Even bigger towns like Lake Charles — miles from the coast — will long be without power. No power, no water, trees in the streets. The clean up will take weeks.
In any other year Hurricane Rita would be a dominant news story. But, because of Hurricane Katrina our threshold for disaster has been skewed to a higher level.
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By Harry Smith