11PM Rita's moving West Northwest, it's weakened a bit, with intensity likely to fluctuate up or down somewhat overnight. Pressure is back up to 917 mb. However it looks like the eyewall replacement cycle that was going on, so in the short term it may restrengthen a bit first.
The track forecast hasn't changed at all since earlier this afternoon.
After landfall the storm is expected to stall out over land in northeast Texas, causing great rains.
Original Update Hurricane Rita is now moving generally west northwest, it has weaked a bit to a category 4 storm.
After encountering some dry air to the northwest, Rita has recovered nicely and is actually intensifying a bit this evening.
Rita will probably hold 'steady-state' for a while on intensity. Motion is still generally west northwest and at times northwest. Yet the forward speed is a lot slower.
Meterologist Ed Dunham thinks that the ridge to the north is not as strong as advertised. And it is likely that Rita and a short wave moving through the Great Lakes have eroded the ridge and a more northwesterly motion is probably going to set in fairly soon.
The forecast track has shifted a bit to the right, closer to the Louisiana and Texas border. Close to Port Arthur and Beaumont.
We may see yet another adjustment by Friday morning. Landfall Saturday morning near the state line - with the variance from High Island. Texas, to Cameron, Louisiana.
Intensity at landfall could be a high end Cat III (a low end Cat IV is still possible since the quicker adjustment to the east will avoid most of the modest shear zone to the west).
This eastward adjustment means heavier rainfall for the New Orleans area, and could still generate flooding for Galveston from Galveston Bay to the north of the island.
Warnings are up from Port O'Connor in Texas to Morgan City in Louisiana.
The most storm surge prone area of the storm, just east of the eye. Will likely impact the extreme northern Texas coast and Western Louisana the most.
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