6:30PM Huricane Rita is now moving west and away from the Keys, but the back side of the large storm is affecting the coast, spawning tornadoes and waterspouts. 75MPH sustained winds were reported at Key West with gusts over 100MPH. The core of the eyewall remained south of Key west, barely.
The latest recon report has the pressure down to 970 millibars.
The future track has not changed as of yet, as the attention beginds to focus more on the Gulf coast, especially middle-north Texas.
1:45PM Rita is now a category 2 hurricane with 100MPH winds, a new advisory at 2PM Will reflect this.
9:15AM Rita is now officially a category 1 Hurricane. A Special statement to this regard was released by the Hurricane Center.
The next official advisory at 11AM will reflect this.
Original Update Rita is still a strong Tropical Storm near the Southwestern bahamas, quickly moving generally westward with a hint of north movement. Rita is now visible on radar and we're recording the radar images here.
It is still expected to become a hurricane, but it did not overnight like we previously though, so that is a little bit of good news, it doesn't have as much a chance to develop before approaching the Keys. Conditions are positive for strengthening, but not overly so. Which is a also another small bit of good news.
Rita has leveled off overnight and is still moving quite rapidly to the west. It is still likely to pass just to the south of Key West and enter into the Gulf, possibly nearing Key West as or near a Category 2 Hurricane. If the track continues, hurricane force winds will be confined to parts of the Keys.
Beyond the Florida Keys, it should enter into the Gulf. The forecast track shifted a bit west toward the middle texas coast, with the cone south to Northern Mexico an east toward Middle Louisiana.
As far as the Gulf is concerned there is still a lot of uncertainty, it is best to not concentrate more on that track until after it passes west of Florida.
Warnings and watches have not changed since last night.
Philippe is still heading out to sea, and the wave east of the Leeward islands has a very low chance to develop, at least for the next several days.
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