Rita's tropical force windfield has expanded since this morning. However hurricane-force winds for now do not extend very far from the eye.
Waves and wind peaked around 4:30pm on buoy 42001, fairly near to the eye. Waves reached almost 40 feet.
Outflow to the south appears to be limited now, and while I am not certain, it appears to be due to wind shear. The upper level air divergence is no longer right over Rita but to her NE.
It appears Rita will go over the warm loop current eddy (the one to the west of the deep eddy that Katrina passed over) while completing the ERC, tonight. She has already reorganized with a solid core and increased convection during the day, and has managed to keep a very low pressure during the ERC, and impressive temp diff, instead of going up to 935mb or thereabouts, so I would expect additional strengthening the next 12 hours along with the reorganization. From the sat wv images, it appears that dry air did work its way around the edge during the day today but did not get into a farily large central core area.
It appears the edge of that high in TX moved NE over into ARK today, and just over the OK border now into KS. It seems like Rita is pushing that other high that was over AL and GA north and east into the Carolinas. It seems to me that unless the H over TX moves further east at a faster rate, and not as far north, Rita is going to track up along the east of it, more east of the existing TX/LA landfall, to somwhere between Lake Charles and Baton Rouge.
It seems lke that high is pivoting around a point near Dallas Ft Worth area. It if does that, and rolls into upper LA, upper MS, and the western edge of TN, I can see the storm sliding along the bottom of it, to just NE of a Galveston/Houston landfall.
This was confusing to me as neither of these points to the TX/LA landfall currently forecast. The way I have resolved this is I believe this track forecast is based on the high moving rather quickly over to the MS/TN valley, causing Rita's track to flatten out to the west before moving NW then NNW.
Rita has slowed down, so I believe that the key to the track will be the speed of the high, moving east, vs Rita's speed, and how far north the high goes as it moves east.
To understand that I guess you'd have to look further to the western and midwestern US, which I don't know how to do yet.
Sorry if this was already stated...I haven't had a chance to catch up and read the board yet.
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