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Supercomputer Weather: Rita Is Galveston Bound


The Eye Of Hurricane Rita In The Gulf Of Mexico – source: NASA MODIS
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Hurricane Rita, presently a Category 5 Hurricane and the third most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico, is headed directly to the low-lying island city of Galveston and then Texas's biggest city Houston.

Unless she weakens over the coming days Rita stands a good chance of challenging Hurricane Katrina's record for destruction as she ploughs directly through the Gulf Coast oil fields towards the most populated area on the Texas coast.

To view the area in the path of Hurricane Rita click on the following links for direct links to the relevant part of Google Maps:


Google Maps – Texas Coast


Google Maps (Satellite Imagery)– Texas Coast

Around the turn of the 19th/20th Century Galveston was struck by the worst Hurricane in US history in terms of loss of life, a disaster that cost 8000 lives.

Packing winds in excess of 270kmh Hurricane Rita is presently more than capable of flattening concrete structures and will probably cut a swathe through the oil fields off the Texas Coast already battered by Hurricane Katrina. In the process Rita is likely to cause another global oil price spike.


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The list of strongest hurricanes of all time now reads:

Hurricane Gilbert (888 mb, 1988)

The Great Labor Day Hurricane (892 mb, 1935)

Hurricane Rita (898 mb, 2005)

Hurricane Allen (899 mb, 1980)

Hurricane Katrina (902 mb, 2005)

Hurricane Camille (905 mb, 1969)

Hurricane Rita has been climbing this list extraordinarily fast over the past 24 hours and may yet become the most intense hurricane ever recorded.

As Hurricane Rita bares down on Galveston and Houston residents of both cities are undertaking a massive evacuation, no doubt spurred on by the experience of New Orleans just a few short weeks ago.

Useful Links:
National Hurricane Warning Center
Weather Underground – Tropical
Google Map of the Texas Coast
Google News – "Hurricane Rita"


Hurricane Rita In The Gulf Of Mexico – source: NASA MODIS
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NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER FORECAST


Tracking Map For Hurricane Rita – National Hurricane Center
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Click For Latest Tracking Map from National Hurricane Center


Intensity Forecast For Hurricane Rita – National Hurricane Center
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Click For Latest Tracking Map from National Hurricane Center

Click For Latest Hurricane Discussion – National Hurricane Center

000 WTNT43 KNHC 212052 TCDAT3
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.

FORECASTER AVILA

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 21/2100Z 24.4N 86.8W 145 KT
12HR VT 22/0600Z 24.5N 88.5W 145 KT
24HR VT 22/1800Z 25.2N 90.6W 145 KT
36HR VT 23/0600Z 26.0N 92.7W 135 KT
48HR VT 23/1800Z 27.0N 94.5W 125 KT
72HR VT 24/1800Z 30.5N 97.0W 65 KT...INLAND
96HR VT 25/1800Z 33.0N 97.0W 30 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 26/1800Z 36.0N 96.0W 25 KT...INLAND

$$

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SUPERCOMPUTER LANDFALL FORECAST

+42 Hrs…

+54 Hrs…

+66 Hrs…

+72 Hrs…



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ENDS

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