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Hurricane Rita Report by Tornado Tim
Hurricane Rita category 5  - Right quadrant of Eye hits Cameron Louisiana
Rita Peaked Winds Thursday MorningHurricane Hunters Report at Peak on Wednesday-
MAX FL WIND 200+ MPH
Wed. September 21st
"Stadium" Closed eye wall - Incredible 50,000 foot wall 
Lowest Pressure was  897 MB Wed. Night
Rita was a record breaking hurricane and became the 3rd most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.
Rita Cat 4 Hurricane Photo GOES-12 1 km visible imagery  Hurricane Rita regional imagery, 2005.09.21 at 1445Z. Centerpoint Latitude: 24:12:40N Longitude: 85:37:30W Rita Projected Path
Hurricanes are hard to predict, and Rita was no different missing Galveston and Huston Texas with it's most intense winds and storm surge defying experts predictions. It maintained a Category 3 strength as it made landfall but fell short of matching hurricane Katrina's devastation. The storms surge was lessened by coming ashore in an area with little population and areas still under water from Katrina.  Rita's grand display of power was mostly done off shore on Wednesday as it peaked, and then gradually weakened as it moved closer to shore. Below are the warnings as they were issued starting with the most recent then looking back.  
Hurricane Hunters Update 11:00 PM CDT  -Sept
23 0324 Pressure  932mb  
Eye wall
 OPEN NE
Max FL winds  -
117 KT NE QUAD 02:50:20 Z


4 AM CDT SAT SEP 24 2005

...RITA MOVES ONSHORE NEAR SABINE PASS AS A DANGEROUS CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE.. .CURRENTLY NEAR PORT ARTHUR TEXAS... A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SARGENT TEXAS TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA.  A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24
HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED.
 
AT 4 AM CDT...0900Z...THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS DISCONTINUED SOUTH OF PORT O'CONNOR TEXAS.  A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER... INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN...AND FROM SOUTH OF SARGENT TEXAS TO PORT O'CONNOR TEXAS.  A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL
STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 4 AM CDT...0900Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 29.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE  93.9 WEST OR NEAR PORT ARTHUR TEXAS.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH.  A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTH AND A DECREASE IN FORWARD MOTION IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  THIS MOTION SHOULD BRING THE CENTER OF RITA FARTHER INLAND OVER SOUTHEASTERN TEXAS TODAY.
 
REPORTS FROM AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT AND NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADARS INDICATE THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 120 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  THIS MAKES RITA A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.  RITA SHOULD WEAKEN TODAY AS THE CENTER MOVES FARTHER INLAND.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  85 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 205 MILES.  AN INSTRUMENTED TOWER IN PORT ARTHUR RUN BY THE FLORIDA COASTAL MONITORING PROGRAM HAS JUST REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 91 MPH WITH A GUST TO 116 MPH.
 
THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE MEASURED BY THE HURRICANE HUNTERS JUST BEFORE LANDFALL WAS  937 MB...27.67 INCHES.  THE AUTOMATED STATION AT SEA RIM STATE PARK TEXAS RECENTLY REPORTED A PRESSURE OF 951.3 MB...28.09 INCHES.
 
COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 15 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS... LOCALLY UP TO 20 FEET AT HEAD OF BAYS AND NEARBY RIVERS...WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL.  TIDES ALONG THE SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI COASTS IN AREAS AFFECTED BY
KATRINA COULD BE 4 TO 6 FEET ABOVE NORMAL AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE WAVES... AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE COASTAL FLOODING.  LARGE SWELLS GENERATED BY RITA WILL LIKELY AFFECT MOST PORTIONS OF THE GULF COAST.

SINCE RITA IS MOVINGLY SLOWLY AND IS FORECAST TO SLOW DOWN FURTHER OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS...RAINFALL TOTALS OF 10 TO 15 INCHES ARE EXPECTED OVER EASTERN TEXAS AND WESTERN LOUISIANA.  MAXIMUM RAINFALL TOTALS IN EXCESS OF 25 INCHES MAY OCCUR OVER LOCALIZED AREAS.  RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES WITH ISOLATED HEAVIER AMOUNTS ARE POSSIBLE OVER SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS.

ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE TODAY AND TONIGHT OVER FAR EASTERN TEXAS.. .LOUISIANA... SOUTHERN ARKANSAS...AND MISSISSIPPI.
 
REPEATING THE 4 AM CDT POSITION...29.9 N... 93.9 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED
WINDS...120 MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 937 MB.


MIDNIGHT CDT SAT SEP 24 2005

...EYE OF MAJOR HURRICANE RITA WOBBLING TOWARD LANDFALL NEAR THE LOUISIANA/TEXAS BORDER...STRONG WINDS AND HEAVY RAINS BATTERING SOUTHERN LOUISIANA AND SOUTHEASTERN TEXAS...

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SARGENT TEXAS TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA.  A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER... INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN... AND FROM SOUTH OF SARGENT TEXAS TO PORT ARANSAS TEXAS.  A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT MIDNIGHT CDT...0500Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 29.2 NORTH... LONGITUDE 93.5 WEST OR ABOUT 40 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF SABINE PASS ALONG THE GULF COAST AT THE TEXAS/LOUISIANA BORDER.

RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 11 MPH.  THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE UNTIL LANDFALL.  A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED ON SATURDAY.

REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 120 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  RITA IS A DANGEROUS CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.  LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS EXPECTED PRIOR TO LANDFALL. GRADUAL WEAKENING IS EXPECTED AFTER RITA MOVES INLAND.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  85 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 205 MILES.  AN AUTOMATED STATION AT SEA RIM STATE PARK TEXAS RECENTLY REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 70 MPH WITH A GUST TO 83 MPH...WHILE AN AUTOMATED STATION AT CALCASIEU PASS LOUISIANA RECENTLY REPORTED A GUST OF 98 MPH.

THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE JUST REPORTED BY THE HURRICANE HUNTER IS  934 MB...27.58 INCHES.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 15 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS... LOCALLY UP TO 20 FEET AT HEAD OF BAYS AND NEARBY RIVERS...WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING ABOUT 2 FEET ABOVE NORMAL ALONG THE LOUISIANA...MISSISSIPP AND ALABAMA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA.  TIDES IN THOSE AREAS WILL INCREASE TO 4 TO 6 FEET AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE WAVES... AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE COASTAL FLOODING. LARGE SWELLS GENERATED BY RITA WILL LIKELY AFFECT MOST PORTIONS OF THE GULF COAST.

SINCE RITA IS EXPECTED TO SLOW DOWN DURING THE NEXT FEW DAYS... RAINFALL TOTALS OF 10 TO 15 INCHES ARE EXPECTED OVER EASTERN TEXAS AND WESTERN LOUISIANA.  MAXIMUM RAINFALL TOTALS IN EXCESS OF 25 INCHES COULD OCCUR OVER LOCALIZED AREAS.  RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES WITH ISOLATED HEAVIER TOTALS ARE POSSIBLE OVER SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS.

ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE TONIGHT...SATURDAY...AND SATURDAY NIGHT OVER FAR EASTERN TEXAS...LOUISIANA...SOUTHERN ARKANSAS...AND MISSISSIPPI.

REPEATING THE MIDNIGHT CDT POSITION...29.2 N... 93.5 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...NORTHWEST NEAR 11 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED
WINDS...120 MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 934 MB.
 

Fast Facts: As of August 30th 2005, the National Hurricane Center lists Hurricane Andrew in 1992, as the most destructive storm to hit the United States. It caused damage estimated at $26.5 billion and was a category five hurricane. Katrina...............$$$$$$$$$$$

4 PM CDT FRI SEP 23 2005
CORE OF DANGEROUS HURRICANE RITA EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL NEAR DAYBREAK SATURDAY... AT 4 PM CDT...2100Z...THE HURRICANE WARNING SOUTH OF SARGENT TEXAS HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED TO TROPICAL STORM WARNING. A HURRICANE WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM SARGENT TEXAS TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN ...AND FROM SOUTH OF SARGENT TO PORT ARKANSAS. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 4 PM CDT...2100Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 28.2 NORTH...LONGITUDE  92.6 WEST OR ABOUT 155 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 140 MILES SOUTHEAST OF PORT ARTHUR TEXAS.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH. ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF HURRICANE RITA WILL MAKE LANDFALL ALONG THE SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA AND UPPER TEXAS COASTS NEAR DAYBREAK SATURDAY.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 125 MPH...205 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS A STRONG CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.  SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY ARE POSSIBLE BEFORE LANDFALL...BUT RITA IS STILL EXPECTED TO COME ASHORE AS A DANGEROUS CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  85 MILES...140 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 205 MILES...335 KM. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO SPREAD INLAND AS FAR AS 100 MILES NEAR THE PATH OF RITA. AN ELEVATED STATION AT MARSH ISLAND LOUISIANA RECENTLY REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS
OF 59 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 78 MPH.
 
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY A NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT WAS 930 MB...27.46 INCHES.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 15 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS... LOCALLY UP TO 20 FEET AT HEAD OF BAYS AND NEARBY RIVERS...WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING ABOUT 2 FEET ABOVE NORMAL ALONG THE LOUISIANA.. .MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE
AREAS WILL INCREASE TO 4 TO 6 FEET AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE WAVES...AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE COASTAL FLOODING. LARGE SWELLS GENERATED BY RITA WILL LIKELY AFFECT MOST PORTIONS OF THE GULF COAST.
 
RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 12 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES OVER SOUTHEASTERN TEXAS AND SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AS IT MOVES INLAND. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS WITH ISOLATED HEAVIER
AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. SINCE RITA IS FORECAST TO SLOW DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY AFTER MAKING LANDFALL...TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS LOCALLY IN EXCESS OF 25 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS INTO WESTERN LOUISIANA.
 
ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE TODAY OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTHEASTERN TEXAS. ..SOUTHERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA.

REPEATING THE 4 PM CDT POSITION...28.2 N... 92.6 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...125 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 930 MB.

Fast Facts: Nine out of ten hurricane fatalities are caused by the storm surge.

10 AM CDT FRI SEP 23 2005
...RITA A LITTLE WEAKER...STILL A VERY DANGEROUS HURRICANE... A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM PORT O'CONNOR TEXAS TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
 
AT 10 AM CDT...1500Z...THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING SOUTH OF PORT ARANSAS HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN ...AND FROM SOUTH OF PORT O'CONNOR TO PORT ARANSAS. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 10 AM CDT...1500Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 27.4 NORTH...LONGITUDE 91.9 WEST OR ABOUT 220 MILES SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 210 MILES SOUTHEAST OF PORT ARTHUR TEXAS.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF RITA WILL MAKE LANDFALL NEAR THE SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA AND UPPER TEXAS COASTS EARLY SATURDAY.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 135 MPH WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS AT THE BORDER OF CATEGORY FOUR AND THREE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SLIGHT WEAKENING IS POSSIBLE BEFORE LANDFALL...BUT RITA IS EXPECTED TO COME ASHORE AS A MAJOR HURRICANE.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 85 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 205 MILES.
 
LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE PLANE WAS 929 MB...27.43 INCHES.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 15 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS... LOCALLY UP TO 20 FEET AT HEAD OF BAYS AND NEARBY RIVERS...WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING ABOUT 2 FEET ABOVE NORMAL ALONG THE LOUISIANA ...MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE
AREAS WILL INCREASE TO 3 TO 5 FEET AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE WAVES...AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE COASTAL FLOODING. LARGE SWELLS GENERATED BY RITA WILL LIKELY AFFECT MOST PORTIONS OF THE GULF COAST.
 
RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 12 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES OVER SOUTHEASTERN TEXAS AND SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AS IT MOVES INLAND. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS WITH ISOLATED HEAVIER
AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. SINCE RITA IS FORECAST TO SLOW DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY AFTER MAKING LANDFALL...TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS IN EXCESS OF 25 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS INTO WESTERN LOUISIANA.
 
ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE TODAY OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTHEASTERN TEXAS. ..SOUTHERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA
 
REPEATING THE 10 AM CDT POSITION...27.4 N... 91.9 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...135 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 929 MB.


7 AM CDT THU SEP 23 2005 Holding Strength........Path wobbles.......Re-strengthening possible
...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE RITA CONTINUES TOWARD
THE SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA AND UPPER TEXAS COASTS...
 
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM PORT O'CONNOR TEXAS TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN...AND FROM SOUTH OF PORT O'CONNOR TO PORT MANSFIELD TEXAS.  A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  SOME PORTIONS OF
THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN TEXAS COULD BE DISCONTINUED LATER TODAY.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 7 AM CDT...1200Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 27.1 NORTH...LONGITUDE 91.5 WEST OR ABOUT 260 MILES SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 220 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF CAMERON LOUISIANA.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF RITA WILL BE APPROACHING THE SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA AND UPPER TEXAS COASTS LATE TODAY OR TONIGHT.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 140 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  RITA IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN STRENGTH ARE EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 85 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 205 MILES.   THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE JUST ESTIMATED FROM AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT DATA WAS 930 MB...27.46 INCHES.
 
COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 15 TO 20 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING ABOUT 2 FEET ABOVE NORMAL ALONG THE LOUISIANA...MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE AREAS WILL INCREASE TO 3 TO 5 FEET AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE WAVES...AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE COASTAL FLOODING.  LARGE SWELLS GENERATED BY RITA WILL LIKELY AFFECT MOST PORTIONS OF THE GULF COAST.
 
RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 12 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 15 INCHES OVER SOUTHEASTERN TEXAS AND SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AS IT MOVES INLAND. SINCE RITA IS FORECAST TO SLOW DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY AFTER MAKING LANDFALL...TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS IN EXCESS OF 25 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE
OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS ACROSS EASTERN TEXAS AND WESTERN LOUISIANA.  IN ADDITION...RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS.


Rita Projected Path7 PM CDT THU SEP 22 2005
...RITA CONTINUES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD... ...OUTER RAINBANDS SPREADING OVER SOUTHERN LOUISIANA... A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM PORT O'CONNOR TEXAS TO MORGAN
CITY LOUISIANA. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN....AND FROM SOUTH OF PORT O'CONNOR TO PORT MANSFIELD TEXAS. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM SOUTH OF PORT MANSFIELD TO BROWNSVILLE TEXAS...AND FOR THE NORTHEASTERN COAST OF MEXICO FROM RIO SAN FERNANDO NORTHWARD TO THE RIO GRANDE. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS..PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 7 PM CDT...0000Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 26.0 NORTH...LONGITUDE  89.9 WEST OR ABOUT 350 MILES... 565 KM...EAST-SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 290 MILES... 465 KM...SOUTHEAST OF CAMERON LOUISIANA. RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH...17 KM/HR. A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF RITA WILL BE APPROACHING THE SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA AND THE UPPER TEXAS COAST LATE FRIDAY.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 145 MPH...230 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS A EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY ARE LIKELY DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  60 MILES... 95 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 205 MILES...335 KM.  ANY TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS IN THE NEW ORLEANS AREA ARE EXPECTED TO BE CONFINED TO A FEW SQUALLS ASSOCIATED WITH QUICKLY MOVING RAINBANDS.  SHORTLY BEFORE 6 PM CDT...NOAA BUOY 42001 JUST SOUTH OF THE CENTER OF RITA REPORTED A 10-MINUTE AVERAGE WIND OF 83 MPH...134 KM/HR WITH A GUST TO 112 MPH...180 KM/HR.
 
THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT WAS 913 MB...26.96 INCHES.
 
COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 15 TO 20 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING ABOUT 2 FEET ABOVE NORMAL ALONG THE LOUISIANA...MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE AREAS WILL INCREASE TO 3 TO 5 FEET AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE WAVES...AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE COASTAL FLOODING.
 
RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 12 INCHES WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM 15 INCH TOTALS ARE POSSIBLE ALONG THE PATH OF RITA OVER SOUTHEAST TEXAS AND SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AS IT MOVES INLAND. BASED ON THE FORECAST TRACK...TOTALS ACCUMULATIONS IN EXCESS OF 25 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS AS THE SYSTEM SLOWS DOWN. IN
ADDITION...RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING NEW ORLEANS.
 
REPEATING THE 7 PM CDT POSITION...26.0 N... 89.9 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...145
MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 913 MB.


1 PM CDT THU SEP 22 2005
...RITA WEAKENS A LITTLE FURTHER...REMAINS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE...
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM PORT O'CONNOR TEXAS TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SOUTH OF PORT O'CONNOR TO PORT MANSFIELD TEXAS AND FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24
HOURS.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM NORTH OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN...FROM SOUTH OF PORT MANSFIELD TO BROWNSVILLE TEXAS...AND FOR THE NORTHEASTERN COAST OF MEXICO FROM RIO SAN FERNANDO NORTHWARD TO THE RIO GRANDE. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE. AT 1 PM CDT...1800Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 25.5 NORTH...LONGITUDE 89.2 WEST OR ABOUT 435 MILES...700 KM...SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 430 MILES...695 KM... SOUTHEAST OF PORT ARTHUR TEXAS.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH...15 KM/HR. A GRADUAL TURN TO THE NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 TO 36 HOURS.
 
DATA FROM A NOAA RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 150 MPH...240 KM/HR... WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS NOW A STRONG CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME SLIGHT WEAKENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS BUT RITA IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN AN EXTREMELY
DANGEROUS HURRICANE.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  85 MILES...140 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 185 MILES...295 KM.
 
LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY A NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER PLANE WAS 915 MB...27.01 INCHES.
 
COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 15 TO 20 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING ABOUT 2 FOOT ABOVE NORMAL ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE AREAS WILL INCREASE UP TO 3 TO 4 FEET AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE WAVES...AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE SOME COASTAL FLOODING.
 
RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 12 INCHES WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM 15 INCH TOTAL ARE POSSIBLE ALONG THE PATH OF RITA PARTICULARLY OVER SOUTHEAST TEXAS AND WESTERN LOUISIANA. IN ADDITION...RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING NEW ORLEANS. BASED ON THE FORECAST TRACK. ..RAINFALL TOTALS IN EXCESS OF 25 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE AFTER RITA MOVES INLAND.
 
REPEATING THE 1 PM CDT POSITION...25.5 N... 89.2 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...150
MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...915 MB.


POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY FIVE RITA OVER THE CENTRAL GULF
OF MEXICO...SLIGHT WEAKENING IS ANTICIPATED TODAY.
 
A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO COAST FROM PORT MANSFIELD TEXAS TO INTRACOASTAL CITY LOUISIANA.  A HURRICANE WARNING WILL LIKELY BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF THE HURRICANE WATCH AREA LATER TODAY.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.  A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED IN THE WARNING AREA DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT ON EITHER SIDE OF THE HURRICANE WATCH AREA...FROM EAST OF INTRACOASTAL CITY TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA...AND FROM SOUTH OF PORT MANSFIELD TO BROWNSVILLE TEXAS.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE NORTHEASTERN COAST OF MEXICO FROM RIO SAN FERNANDO NORTHWARD TO THE RIO GRANDE.
 
A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS. INTERESTS IN THE NORTHWESTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC HURRICANE RITA.FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...
PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 7 AM CDT...1200Z...THE EYE OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 25.2 NORTH... LONGITUDE  88.3 WEST OR ABOUT 490 MILES SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT  595 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS.  RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH AND THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE ESTIMATED NEAR 170 MPH WITH HIGHER GUSTS. THIS MAKES RITA A POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.  A SLOW WEAKENING TREND IS FORECAST BUT RITA IS EXPECTED TO REACH THE COAST LATE FRIDAY OR EARLY SATURDAY AS A MAJOR HURRICANE...AT LEAST CATEGORY THREE.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  70 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 185 MILES.
 
THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE RECENTLY MEASURED BY A HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT WAS 907 MB...26.78 INCHES. 
 
TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING ABOUT 1 FOOT ABOVE NORMAL ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE AREAS WILL INCREASE UP TO 3 TO 4 FEET AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE WAVES...AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE SOME COASTAL FLOODING.
 
HEAVY RAINS ASSOCIATED WITH RITA ARE FORECAST TO BEGIN TO AFFECT THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO COASTAL AREAS TONIGHT INTO FRIDAY. RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 12 INCHES WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 15 INCHES FROM THE CENTRAL TEXAS COAST TO SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE ELSEWHERE ACROSS SOUTHERN LOUISIANA ...INCLUDING THE NEW ORLEANS METROPOLITAN AREA. AFTER RITA MOVES
INLAND...TOTAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE OVER EASTERN TEXAS... AND CENTRAL AND EASTERN OKLAHOMA DURING SATURDAY AND SUNDAY.
 
REPEATING THE 7 AM CDT POSITION...25.2 N... 88.3 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR  9 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...170
MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 907 MB.


7 PM CDT WED SEP 21 2005
CORRECTED PRESSURE CONVERSION TO 26.52 INCHES
...CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE RITA CONTINUING TO DEEPEN...
...NOW THE THIRD MOST INTENSE HURRICANE IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN ON RECORD...
 
A HURRICANE WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR GULF OF MEXICO COAST FROM PORT
MANSFIELD TEXAS TO CAMERON LOUISIANA. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR EAST OF CAMERON TO GRAND ISLE LOUISIANA AND FROM SOUTH OF PORT MANSFIELD TO BROWNSVILLE. THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR THE
NORTHEAST COAST OF MEXICO FROM RIO SAN FERNANDO NORTHWARD. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.
 
INTERESTS IN THE NORTHWESTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF DANGEROUS HURRICANE RITA. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...
PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 7 PM CDT...0000Z...THE EYE OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 24.5 NORTH... LONGITUDE 86.8 WEST OR ABOUT 580 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 680 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS. RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 13 MPH AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 165 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS A POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY ARE LIKELY DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 70 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 175 MILES.
 
THE PRESSURE HAS BEEN FALLING RAPIDLY DURING THE DAY AND THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE RECENTLY REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT WAS 898 MB...26.52 INCHES. THIS MAKES RITA THE THIRD MOST INTENSE HURRICANE IN TERMS OF PRESSURE IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN. TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING NEAR NORMAL ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE AREAS WILL INCREASE UP TO 3 TO 4 FEET OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS WITH LARGE WAVES ON TOP AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE FLOODING.
 
REPEATING THE 7 PM CDT POSITION...24.5 N... 86.8 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST NEAR 13 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...165 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...898 MB.


4 PM CDT WED SEP 21 2005
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED SURFACE WINDS OF 165 MPH.  
...RITA REACHES 165 MPH WINDS...BECOMES AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE...THE SECOND OF THE 2005 SEASON...
 
AT 4 PM CDT...2100Z...A HURRICANE WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR GULF OF MEXICO COAST FROM PORT MANSFIELD TEXAS TO CAMERON LOUISIANA. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR EAST OF CAMERON TO GRAND ISLE LOUISIANA AND FROM SOUTH OF PORT MANSFIELD TO BROWNSVILLE.  THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR THE NORTHEAST COAST OF MEXICO FROM RIO SAN FERNANDO NORTHWARD.
 
A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS. INTERESTS IN THE NORTHWESTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF DANGEROUS HURRICANE RITA.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 4 PM CDT...2100Z...THE EYE OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 24.4 NORTH...LONGITUDE 86.8 WEST OR ABOUT 600 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 700 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 13 MPH AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 165 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY ARE LIKELY DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 70 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 175 MILES. PRESSURE HAS BEEN FALLING RAPIDLY DURING THE DAY AND THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE RECENTLY REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE PLANE WAS 914 MB.. UPDATE...904

TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING NEAR NORMAL ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE AREAS WILL INCREASE UP TO 3 TO 4 FEET OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS WITH LARGE WAVES ON TOP AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE FLOODING.   REPEATING THE 4 PM CDT POSITION...24.4 N... 86.8 W.  MOVEMENT TOWARD WEST NEAR 13 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...165 MPH. 

Rita Cat 4 Hurricane Photo GOES-12 1 km visible imagery  Hurricane Rita regional imagery, 2005.09.21 at 1445Z. Centerpoint Latitude: 24:12:40N Longitude: 85:37:30WFORECASTER AVILA
HURRICANE RITA DISCUSSION NUMBER  17
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
5 PM EDT WED SEP 21 2005
AND YET ANOTHER CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE THIS SEASON. DATA FROM BOTH NOAA AND AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTERS INDICATE A SIGNIFICANT PRESSURE DROP TODAY AND WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO 145 KNOTS. THIS IS BASED ON A 700 MB WIND OF 161 KNOTS RECENTLY MEASURED BY AN AIR FORCE PLANE AND A RECALIBRATED SFMR SURFACE WIND OF 146 KNOTS.  SATELLITE INTENSITY ESTIMATES WERE UNANIMOUSLY 140 KNOTS FROM ALL AGENCIES.  BECAUSE RITA WILL BE CROSSING AN AREA OF HIGH HEAT CONTENT DURING THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS...IT IS EXPECTED THAT THE HURRICANE WILL MAINTAIN ITS STRENGTH. THEREAFTER...THE OCEAN HEAT CONTENT IS NOT AS HIGH AND THE INTENSITY CHANGES WILL BE CONTROLLED MAINLY BY EYEWALL REPLACEMENT CYCLES AND DECREASING HEAT CONTENT. SOME WEAKENING IS ANTICIPATED BUT RITA IS FORECAST TO MAKE LANDFALL AS A MAJOR HURRICANE...AT LEAST CATEGORY THREE.   

THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE IN THE STEERING PATTERN AND RITA IS MOVING WESTWARD OR 275 DEGREES AT 11 KNOTS. THE HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM THAT HAS BEEN FORCING RITA WESTWARD IS FORECAST TO WEAKEN AND SHIFT EASTWARD. THIS WILL ALLOW THE HURRICANE TO TURN GRADUALLY TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST AND NORTHWEST DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. THE CORE OF RITA IS BASICALLY MOVING TOWARD THE TEXAS COAST AND THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE TRACK MODEL CONSENSUS.

THE WIND FIELD ASSOCIATED WITH THE HURRICANE HAS BEGUN TO EXPAND AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ALREADY EXTEND ABOUT 150 N MI IN THE NORTHERN SEMICIRCLE.  BECAUSE ADDITIONAL EXPANSION OF THE WIND FIELD IS ANTICIPATED...A HURRICANE WATCH AND A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAVE BEEN ISSUED FOR THE NORTHWEST GULF COAST. 

Fast Facts: Until Katrina the worst natural disaster in United States history had been a hurricane that killed 8000+ people in Galveston, Texas in September of 1900.

2 AM EDT WED SEP 21 2005
...RITA BECOMES FIFTH MAJOR HURRICANE OF THE 2005 SEASON AS IT MOVESWESTWARD AWAY FROM THE FLORIDA KEYS...
AT 2 AM EDT...0600Z...THE HURRICANE WARNING FOR THE PORTION OF THE FLORIDA KEYS WEST OF THE SEVEN MILE BRIDGE TO THE DRY TORTUGAS HAS BEEN CHANGED TO A TROPICAL STORM WARNING. AT 2 AM EDT..ALL WARNINGS ARE DISCONTINUED FOR THE FLORIDA KEYS NORTH OF THE SEVEN MILE BRIDGE...INCLUDING FLORIDA BAY.  SMALL CRAFT SHOULD REMAIN IN PORT UNTIL WINDS AND SEAS SUBSIDE.

AT 2 AM EDT...ALL WARNINGS HAVE BEEN DISCONTINUED FOR CUBA.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 2 AM EDT...0600Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 24.2 NORTH... LONGITUDE 84.0 WEST OR ABOUT 80 MILES...130 KM... WEST-SOUTHWEST OF DRY TORTUGAS...ABOUT 145 MILES... 235 KM... WEST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT 130 MILES... 210 KM...NORTHWEST OF HAVANA CUBA.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 14 MPH...22 KM/HR. THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS...WHICH WILL TAKE THE CENTER OF RITA INTO THE OPEN SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

DATA FROM THE KEY WEST NOAA DOPPLER RADAR INDICATE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE NOW INCREASED TO NEAR 115 MPH...185 KM/HR... WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  RITA IS NOW A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.  ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING  THE NEXT 24 HOURS...AND RITA IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A CATEGORY FOUR
HURRICANE SOMETIME LATER TODAY.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  45 MILES... 75 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 140 MILES...220 KM.  THE AUTOMATED STATION AT THE DRY TORTUGAS REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 65 MPH AND A GUST TO 87 MPH BEFORE CONTACT WITH THE STATION WAS LOST.
 
THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS  960 MB...28.35 INCHES.
 
STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 6 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ARE STILL POSSIBLE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS IN AREAS OF ONSHORE FLOW.  COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 1 TO 3 FEET IS POSSIBLE ALONG THE EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA COAST. STORM SURGE VALUES WILL GRADUALLY DECREASE TODAY IN ALL AREAS.
 
RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE ADDITIONAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES OVER THE FLORIDA KEYS AND THE SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA...WITH ISOLATED STORM TOTAL AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES. RAINFALL TOTALS OF 6 TO 10 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER WESTERN CUBA AND 1 TO 3 INCHES OVER THE NORTHERN YUCATAN PENINSULA...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF WESTERN CUBA.
 
ISOLATED TORNADOES WILL BE POSSIBLE OVER SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS TONIGHT AND EARLY WEDNESDAY.
 
REPEATING THE 2 AM EDT POSITION...24.2 N... 84.0 W.  MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST NEAR 14 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED  WINDS...115 MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 960 MB.

8 PM EDT TUE SEP 20 2005
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF THE FLORIDA KEYS... AND FROM SOUTH OF FLORIDA CITY ON THE FLORIDA SOUTHEAST COAST SOUTHWARD TO EAST CAPE SABLE...THEN NORTHWARD TO CHOKOLOSKEE ON THE SOUTHWEST COAST. THE HURRICANE WARNING WILL LIKELY BE DISCONTINUED LATER TONIGHT AS RITA MOVES FARTHER WEST INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF MATANZAS  CIUDAD DE HABANA.. .AND LA HABANA. THIS WARNING WILL ALSO LIKELY BE DISCONTINUED LATER TONIGHT.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST NORTH OF CHOKOLOSKEE TO ENGLEWOOD. THIS WARNING MAY BE DISCONTINUED LATER TONIGHT. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCE OF PINAR DEL RIO.

A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 8 PM EDT...0000Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 24.0 NORTH...LONGITUDE 82.6 WEST OR ABOUT 45 MILES...70 KM... SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF DRY TORTUGAS...ABOUT 65 MILES...100 KM... WEST-SOUTHWEST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA...AND ABOUT 75 MILES...120 KM... NORTH OF HAVANA CUBA. RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 12 MPH...19 KM/HR...AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK ...THE CENTER OF RITA WILL PASS SOUTH OF DRY TORTUGAS AND INTO THE EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO LATER TONIGHT. HOWEVER... RITA WILL PASS CLOSE ENOUGH FOR THE NORTHERN PORTION OF THE EYEWALL TO MOVE OVER OR JUST SOUTH OF THE DRY TORTUGAS.

DATA FROM THE KEY WEST NOAA DOPPLER RADAR AND AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT INDICATE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 105 MPH...180 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS A STRONG CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS... AND RITA WILL LIKELY BECOME A CATEGORY THREE OR MAJOR HURRICANE ON WEDNESDAY.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 45 MILES... 75 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 140 MILES...220 KM. DURING THE PAST HOUR...A GUST TO 70 MPH WAS REPORTED AT THE KEY WEST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT...AND A SUSTAINED WIND OF 53 MPH WITH A GUST TO 62 MPH WAS REPORTED AT DRY TORTUGAS.

THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE RECENTLY REPORTED BY RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT WAS 969 MB...28.61 INCHES.

STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 6 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ARE STILL POSSIBLE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS IN AREAS OF ONSHORE FLOW. COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 2 TO 4 FEET IS POSSIBLE ALONG THE EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA COAST....BUT IT SHOULD GRADUALLY DECREASE LATER TONIGHT.

RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES OVER THE FLORIDA KEYS...CENTRAL AND WESTERN CUBA...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 10 INCHES...EXCEPT UP TO 20 INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF WESTERN CUBA. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 6 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA.

ISOLATED TORNADOES WILL BE POSSIBLE OVER SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS TONIGHT AND EARLY WEDNESDAY.

REPEATING THE 8 PM EDT POSITION...24.0 N... 82.6 W. MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST NEAR 12 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...105 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 969 MB.


5 PM EDT TUE SEP 20 2005
...RITA PASSING SOUTH OF KEY WEST...MOVING INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO... A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF THE FLORIDA KEYS...AND FROM SOUTH OF FLORIDA CITY ON THE FLORIDA SOUTHEAST COAST SOUTHWARD TO EAST CAPE SABLE...THEN NORTHWARD TO CHOKOLOSKEE ON THE SOUTHWEST COAST. THE HURRICANE WARNING WILL LIKELY BE DISCONTINUED LATER TODAY AS RITA MOVES FARTHER INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF MATANZAS...CIUDAD DE HABANA...AND LA HABANA. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST NORTH OF CHOKOLOSKEE TO ENGLEWOOD. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCE OF PINAR DEL RIO.
 
AT 5 PM EDT...2100Z...THE TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS NORTH OF FLORIDA CITY AND FOR LAKE OKEECHOBEE HAVE BEEN DISCONTINUED.
 
A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 5 PM EDT...2100Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 24.0 NORTH...LONGITUDE 82.2 WEST OR ABOUT  50 MILES...80 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT 55 MILES...90 KM...NORTH-NORTHEAST OF HAVANA CUBA.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH...24 KM/HR...AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. THIS TRACK WILL BRING RITA INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 100 MPH...160 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  45 MILES... 75 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP
TO 140 MILES...220 KM. SAND KEY JUST REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 60 MPH...97 KM/HR AND A GUST OF 92 MPH...148 KM/HR. VARADERO CUBA MEASURED GUSTS TO 60 MPH...90 KM/HR.

LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE PLANE WAS  973 MB...28.73 INCHES. STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 6 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ARE STILL POSSIBLE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS IN AREAS OF ONSHORE FLOW.  COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 2 TO 4 FEET IS POSSIBLE ALONG THE EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA COAST....BUT GRADUALLY DECREASING THIS EVENING. 
 
RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES OVER THE FLORIDA KEYS...CENTRAL AND WESTERN CUBA... WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 10 INCHES...EXCEPT UP TO 20 INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF WESTERN CUBA. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 6 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA.
 
THERE IS POSSIBILITY OF ISOLATED TORNADOS OVER SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS.

REPEATING THE 5 PM EDT POSITION...24.0 N... 82.2 W.  MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST NEAR 15 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...100 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 973 MB.
 


A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF THE FLORIDA KEYS...AND FROM SOUTH OF FLORIDA CITY ON THE FLORIDA SOUTHEAST COAST SOUTHWARD TO EAST CAPE SABLE...THEN NORTHWARD TO CHOKOLOSKEE ON THE SOUTHWEST COAST.
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF MATANZAS... CIUDAD DE HABANA...AND LA HABANA. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST NORTH OF CHOKOLOSKEE TO ENGLEWOOD.
AT 2 PM EDT...1800Z...THE HURRICANE WARNING FROM GOLDEN BEACH TO SOUTH OF FLORIDA CITY HAS BEEN DOWGRADED TO A TROPICAL STORM WARNING. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA EAST COAST FROM FLORIDA CITY TO JUPITER INLET...AS WELL AS FOR LAKE OKEECHOBEE. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCE OF PINAR DEL RIO. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 2 PM EDT...1800Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE  81.7 WEST OR ABOUT 50 MILES... 80 KM...SOUTH OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT  65 MILES...105 KM... NORTHEAST OF HAVANA CUBA.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH ...24 KM/HR...AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF THE HURRICANE WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE OVER THE FLORIDA STRAITS BETWEEN THE CITY OF HAVANA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS TODAY. HOWEVER...STRONG WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NORTHERN EYEWALL
ARE EXPECTED TO IMPACT PORTIONS OF THE FLORIDA KEYS DIRECTLY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE REACHED 100 MPH...160 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS NOW A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 30 MILES... 45 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 120 MILES...195 KM.
 
Latest Minimum central Pressure reported by a reconnaissance plane  WAS 978 MB...28.88 INCHES.

STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 6 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ARE POSSIBLE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS IN AREAS OF ONSHORE FLOW.  COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 2 TO 4 FEET IS POSSIBLE ALONG THE EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA COAST.
 
RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 8 INCHES OVER THE FLORIDA KEYS..CENTRAL AND NORTHWESTERN CUBA... WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES. RAINFALLAMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENNISULA. RAINS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO DIMINISH ACROSS THE BAHAMAS.
THERE IS POSSIBILITY OF ISOLATED TORNADOS OVER SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS.
 
REPEATING THE 2 PM EDT POSITION...23.9 N... 81.7 W.  MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST NEAR 15 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...100 MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 978 MB.


NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
11 AM EDT TUE SEP 20 2005
RITA BECOMES THE NINTH HURRICANE OF THE SEASON...  A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF THE FLORIDA KEYS...AND FROM GOLDEN BEACH ON THE FLORIDA SOUTHEAST COAST SOUTHWARD TO EAST CAPE SABLE...THEN NORTHWARD TO CHOKOLOSKEE ON THE
SOUTHWEST COAST.
 
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF MATANZAS.. .CIUDAD DE HABANA. ..AND LA HABANA.  A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST NORTH OF CHOKOLOSKEE TO ENGLEWOOD.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA EAST COAST FROM NORTH OF GOLDEN BEACH NORTHWARD TO JUPITER INLET...AS WELL AS FOR LAKE OKEECHOBEE.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCE OF PINAR DEL RIO.
 
AT 11 AM EDT...1500Z...ALL WARNINGS FOR THE BAHAMAS HAVE BEEN DISCONTINUED AND FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF CIEGO DE AVILA...SANCTI SPIRITUS...AND CIENFUEGOS.
 
AT 11 AM EDT...1500Z...THE HURRICANE WATCH FROM DEERFIELD BEACH FLORIDA SOUTHWARD TO NORTH OF GOLDEN BEACH HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.
 
A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 11 AM EDT...1500Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE  81.0 WEST OR ABOUT 75 MILES...120 KM...SOUTHEAST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT 100 MILES...160 KM... EAST-NORTHEAST OF THE CITY OF HAVANA CUBA.
 
RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH ...24 KM/HR...AND THIS GENERAL TRACK IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF THE HURRICANE WILL BE MOVING OVER THE FLORIDA STRAITS BETWEEN THE CITY OF HAVANA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS TODAY. HOWEVER...THE STRONGEST WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NORTHERN EYEWALL ARE EXPECTED TO IMPACT PORTIONS OF THE FLORIDA KEYS DIRECTLY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 85 MPH...140 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  30 MILES... 45 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 120 MILES...195 KM. SOMBRERO KEY RECENTLY REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 59 MPH...95 KM/HR WITH GUSTS TO 72 MPH...117 KM/HR.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE PLANE WAS 982 MB...29.00 INCHES.

STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 6 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ARE POSSIBLE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS IN AREAS OF ONSHORE FLOW.  COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 2 TO 4 FEET IS POSSIBLE ALONG THE EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA COAST. RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 8 INCHES OVER THE FLORIDA KEYS..CENTRAL AND NORTHWESTERN CUBA... WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES. RAINFALLAMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENNISULA. RAINS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO DIMINISH ACROSS THE BAHAMAS.
 
THERE IS POSSIBILITY OF ISOLATED TORNADOS OVER SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS.
REPEATING THE 11 AM EDT POSITION...23.8 N... 81.0 W.  MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST NEAR 15 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS... 85 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 982 MB.


HURRICANE RITA TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
915 AM EDT TUE SEP 20 2005  DOPPLER RADAR DATA...SATELLITE PRESENTATION AND PRESSURE FALLS FROM THE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT RITA HAS REACHED CATEGORY  ONE HURRICANE STRENGTH ON THE SAFFIR/SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE.  THIS WILL BE REFLECTED ON THE 11 AM...1500Z ADVISORY.

8 AM EDT TUE SEP 20 2005

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS...INCLUDING THE ABACOS...ANDROS ISLAND...BERRY ISLANDS... BIMINI...ELEUTHERA...GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND...AND NEW PROVIDENCE. A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF THE FLORIDA KEYS...AND FROM GOLDEN BEACH ON THE FLORIDA SOUTHEAST COAST SOUTHWARD TO EAST CAPE SABLE...THEN NORTHWARD TO CHOKOLOSKEE ON THE SOUTHWEST COAST.
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF VILLA CLARA... MATANZAS... CIUDAD DE HABANA...AND LA HABANA. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE WATCH ARE IN EFFECT FROM DEERFIELD BEACH FLORIDA SOUTHWARD TO NORTH OF GOLDEN BEACH.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST NORTH OF CHOKOLOSKEE TO ENGLEWOOD. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA EAST COAST FROM NORTH OF DEERFIELD BEACH NORTHWARD TO JUPITER INLET...AS WELL AS FOR LAKE OKEECHOBEE.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF CIEGO DE AVILA...SANCTI SPIRITUS...CIENFUEGOS...AND PINAR DEL RIO.
 
A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.  A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
 
AT 8 AM EDT...1200Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.8 NORTH... LONGITUDE 80.4 WEST OR ABOUT 100 MILES ...160 KM...EAST-SOUTHEAST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA.
 
RITA IS MOVING BETWEEN WEST AND WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 15 MPH...24 KM/HR...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF RITA WILL BE PASSING NEAR THE LOWER FLORIDA KEYS AROUND MIDDAY. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 70 MPH...110 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  RITA IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE LATER TODAY.
 
TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 120 MILES...195 KM FROM THE CENTER.
 
ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 988 MB...29.18 INCHES.
 
STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 7 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ARE POSSIBLE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS IN AREAS OF ONSHORE FLOW.  COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 3 TO 4 FEET IS POSSIBLE ALONG THE EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA COAST.
 
RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES OVER THE WESTERN BAHAMAS AND EASTERN CUBA. STORM TOTALS OF 6 TO 8 INCHES WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS AND CENTRAL AND NORTHWESTERN CUBA. STORM TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA.
 
REPEATING THE 8 AM EDT POSITION...23.8 N... 80.4 W.  MOVEMENT BETWEEN...WEST AND WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 15 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS... 70 MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 988 MB.

Hurricane Rita  Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Cone11 PM EDT MON SEP 19 2005 ...RITA ALMOST TO HURRICANE STRENGTH AS IT APPROACHES ANDROS ISLAND...NEW WARNINGS ISSUED FOR FLORIDA WEST COAST...  AT 11 PM EDT...0300Z...THE HURRICANE WARNING IS EXTENDED ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST FROM EAST CAPE SABLE TO CHOKOLOSKEE.  A HURRICANE WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF THE FLORIDA KEYS...AND FROM GOLDEN BEACH ON THE FLORIDA SOUTHEAST COAST SOUTHWARD TO EAST CAPE SABLE THEN NORTHWARD TO CHOKOLOSKEE.
 
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF VILLA CLARA...MATANZAS...CIUDAD DE HABANA...AND LA HABANA.  A HURRICANE WARNING ALSO REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE EXUMAS AND ANDROS ISLAND IN THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE WATCH ARE IN EFFECT FROM DEERFIELD BEACH FLORIDA SOUTHWARD TO NORTH OF GOLDEN BEACH. AT 11 PM EDT...0300Z...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST NORTH OF CHOKOLOSKEE TO ENGLEWOOD.

Fast Facts: What is the "Eye" The "eye" is a roughly circular area of comparatively light winds and fair weather found at the center of a severe tropical cyclone. Although the winds are calm at the axis of rotation, strong winds may extend well into the eye. Credit NOAA NHC

Tropical Storm 18  Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day ConeTROPICAL STORM RITA ADVISORY NUMBER   5
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
11 PM EDT SUN SEP 18 2005 ...RITA MOVING CLOSER TO THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS... ...NEW WATCHES AND WARNINGS ISSUED FOR SOUTHERN FLORIDA...  AT 11 PM EDT...0300Z... THE HURRICANE WATCH FOR THE FLORIDA KEYS HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO A HURRICANE WARNING. A HURRICANE WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF THE FLORIDA KEYS AND FLORIDA BAY FROM OCEAN REEF SOUTHWARD AND WESTWARD TO DRY TORTUGAS.
 
REPEATING THE 11 PM EDT POSITION...22.9 N... 73.3 W.  MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS... 50 MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1002 MB.

Please check out NOAA's StormReady program. http://www.stormready.noaa.gov/   StormReady, a program started in 1999 in Tulsa, OK, helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property– before and during the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs.  Take the responsibility and get your local officials involved. They even have a TsunamiReady program. http://www.stormready.noaa.gov/tsunamiready/index.htm

Fast Facts: A Hurricane is an intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher. Hurricanes are called "typhoons" in the western Pacific, while similar storms in the Indian Ocean are called "cyclones." Credit NOAA

Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale  Courtesy of National Hurricane Center
Category Definition Effects
One Winds 74-95 mph No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier da mage
Two Winds 96-110 mph Some roofing material, door, and window damage to buildings. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.
Three Winds 111-130 mph Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtain wall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 feet ASL may be flooded inland 8 miles or more.
Four Winds 131-155 mph More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain continuously lower than 10 feet ASL may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas inland as far as 6 miles.
Five Winds greater than 155 mph Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet ASL and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to 10 miles of the shoreline may be required.

The 30 costliest tropical cyclones to strike the U.S. mainland  Updated by Tornado Tim

Rank Hurricane Year Category Damage
1 Katrina (LA, MS, AL, FL) 2005 4 unknown at this time
2 Andrew (SE FL, SE LA) 1992 5a 26,500,000,000
3 Hugo (SC) 1989 4 7,000,000,000
4 Floyd (Mid Atlantic & NE U.S.) 1999 2 4,500,000,000
5 Fran (NC) 1996 3 3,200,000,000
6 Opal (NW FL, AL) 1995 3 3,000,000,000
7 Georges (FL Keys, MS, AL) 1998 2 2,310,000,000
8 Frederic (AL, MS) 1979 3 2,300,000,000
9 Agnes (FL, NE U.S.) 1972 1 2,100,000,000
10 Alicia (N TX) 1983 3 2,000,000,000
11 Bob (NC, NE U.S.) 1991 2 1,500,000,000
12 Juan (LA) 1985 1 1,500,000,000
13 Camille (MS, SE LA, VA) 1969 5 1,420,700,000
14 Betsy (SE FL, SE LA) 1965 3 1,420,500,000
15 Elena (MS, AL, NW FL) 1985 3 1,250,000,000
16 Gloria (Eastern US) 1985 3b 900,000,000
17 Diane (NE U.S.) 1955 1 831,700,000
18 Bonnie (NC, VA) 1998 2 720,000,000
19 Erin (NW FL) 1995 2 700,000,000
20 Allison (N TX) 1989 TSc 500,000,000
21 Alberto (NW FL, GA, AL) 1994 TSc 500,000,000
22 Frances (TX) 1998 TSc 500,000,000
23 Eloise (NW FL) 1975 3 490,000,000
24 Carol (NE U.S.) 1954 3b 461,000,000
25 Celia (S TX) 1970 3 453,000,000
26 Carla (N & Central TX) 1961 4 408,000,000
27 Claudette (N TX) 1979 TSc 400,000,000
28 Gordon (S & Central FL, NC) 1994 TSc 400,000,000
29 Donna (FL, Eastern U.S.) 1960 4 387,000,000
30 David (FL, Eastern U.S.) 1979 2 320,000,000
31 Unnamed (New England) 1938 3b 306,000,000

Credit (AOML) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Updated by Tornado Tim

 
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