...Amid Confusion, Help Gets Through...

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In Beaumont, Texas, air traffic controllers in the tower worked overtime to help the military airlift 4,000 people, many of them sick and elderly, out of danger before Rita hit, the FAA said. Operation Brother's Keeper, which organized relief flights after Katrina, offered to help aircraft owners to relocate their aircraft out of harm's way in advance of the storm. By the time Rita hit the coast, it had weakened to Category 3 and veered to the north, sparing some of the more populated regions. But it also dumped enough wind and rain to do plenty of damage. As of Saturday morning, four airports were listed as closed by the FAA. In Texas, David Wayne Hooks Memorial (DWH) and Southeast Texas Regional/Beaumont-Port Arthur (BPT) were closed; and in Louisiana, Lake Charles Regional (LCH) and New Orleans Lakefront (NEW). The FAA issued NOTAMs advising all aircraft not participating in FEMA rescue operations to stay out of the airspace, due to the high volume of helicopters and airplanes.