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Residents flee Hurricane Rita -

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(generated from captions) than taking a chance on staying and it doesn't change any farther to the east. We're talking about people's lives. Those who've heeded that advice found themselves stranded on the highways leading out of Houston and some ran out of petrol as their cars idled for hours. I've been all over the south-east side of town and nobody has gas. They're either closed or they're out of gas. A third of US oil suppliers come from the Gulf of Mexico and refineries are ceasing production, raising the prospect of more fuel shortages. All precautions are being taken. This nuclear reactor is to be shut down before the storm is due to hit. The White House is better prepared, too, after the criticism it received

over delays in getting aid to New Orleans when it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This is a big storm. Officials at every level of government are preparing for the worst. Armed forces have pre-positioned troops.

We have resources there to help the federal, state, and local officials to respond swiftly and effectively. Though most people in Galveston have heeded the evacuation warning, as in New Orleans, some are refusing to leave. You need to be evacuated. You can't take care of yourself. I'll take my chances. REPORTER: You'll take your chances? Yes, I have been through one of them centres before and I'd rather be at home.

But if the hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast holds its current course, the town of Port Arthur will be ground zero.

Sabine Lake, which will be the first part of the impact, so this will be all under water. If we get a storm surge here - you know, 15, 20 feet - where we're standing will be under water. If it hits like they say it is, the water will be 10-foot deep here and the waves will be breaking on this house. It wasn't designed to withstand that. But for some there's always a silver lining. And the city still under Hurricane Katrina's flood waters is expecting more heavy rains from this storm. We expect a lot of rain - 15 to 20 inches of rain can happen in certain places. That will mean a lot of flooding in a lot of places

where people are not necessarily expecting high waters. Please take heed and go for safe ground. Now downgraded to a Category 4 storm, Rita is expected to cross the upper Texas or south-west Louisiana coasts over the next 12 hours. At least this time, residents of the Gulf Coast and authorities are prepared for the worst. Hamish Fitzsimmons, Lateline. And in the last few minutes there have been reports that up to 20 people have been killed in a bus explosion as they fled from Hurricane Rita. The bus caught fire just outside Dallas. It was carrying evacuees from the Gulf city of Houston. An Australian soldier has been wounded in action in Afghanistan. Close to 200 Special Forces have been on deployment there

for less than a month. Today, the Defence Department revealed that one Australian soldier suffered a minor wound during a clash with Afghan rebels. He has now returned to duty. An Afghan soldier was killed in the same incident. The Defence Department won't say whether the rebels suffered any casualties. Truck drivers are threatening

to blockade every major highway around the country on Monday if nothing is done to address their concerns about the industry. They say they're poorly paid, the industry's not regulated, and that soaring petrol prices are the final straw. There was traffic chaos for nine hours on the NSW mid-north coast last night, as angry owner-drivers blocked the Pacific Highway.