It takes about 6-8 hrs for winds to fully respond to pressure falls...so it might take a few more hours for the winds to spin up to their maximum.
Well we have our answer Jason.. the 11pm ET advisory is out. Winds are 175 with gusts to 215 and the pressure is down to 897, making Rita the strongest hurricane of the season thusfar (who would have thought anyone would say that after Katrina), based upon both pressure and wind (tie). The WU graphic says West movement at 9 mph but the marine advisory/forecast says WNW or 280 degrees at 8kt.
Looking back at the storm history, Rita was a 70 mph tropical storm exactly 24 hours ago... an increase of 105 mph in 24 hours, and a pressure drop of 93 MB. UNBELIEVABLE... if people had not predicted it two days ago, that is. Downright frightening in any case.
Update to add this comment: If you're in Galveston still... get in your car. The longer you wait the longer the line of cars will be. The number of storms of this intensity to have existed in the Gulf of Mexico is exactly two, and we all know what Katrina did.
Forecast is now calling for a landfall with 135 kt winds... that's 155.25 mph, on the threshhold of cat 5, after a peak in 12 hours of 180 (155 kts).
Eloise (1975) - Elena and several other near misses (1985) - Erin & Opal (1995) - Ivan (2004)
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