Friday - 9PM CDT UPDATE From the NHC: THE 8 PM CDT POSITION...28.7 N... 93.0 W. MOVEMENT TOWARD...NORTHWEST NEAR 11 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...120 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 931 MB.
Hurricane Rita still a Category III Hurricane and she should make landfall - probably in extreme southwest Louisiana (Cameron Parish) at about 5am CDT - as a Category III Hurricane with sustained winds of at least 115mph. Rita's forward motion now appears to be shifting toward the north northwest since the 8PM CDT bulletin. Hurricane force winds will soon batter the northeast Texas and southwest Louisiana coast with extreme conditions likely in the early morning hours from High Island, Texas, to Garden City, Louisiana, and hurricane force conditions west and east of those points. High storm surge at and east of the landfall point could easily exceed 16 feet since Rita will be approaching almost perpendicular to the coast. Expected isolated wind gusts up to 140mph. Embedded fast moving tornadoes are likely over all of Louisiana and portions of southeastern Texas. Rainfall along east Texas and west Louisiana could easily exceed 15 inches as Rita slows in her northward movement after landfall and creates widespread flooding. ED
6:20PM EDT Update Rita still is slowly weakening, this time at 931mb (from recon). Hopefully it will weaken some more before making landfall.
A combination of eyewall replacement, shear, and dry air is causing the storm to lose some steam. It may gradually weaken more as it approaches near Port Arthur overnight.
However, Rita is still a very strong major hurricane, with very low pressure. A lot of the momentum and surge still exists with the system, and extreme flooding is still very likely.
What's surprising is what some of the models are saying will happen after it makes landfall, perhaps a stall, and perhaps a loop over texas and briefly back over the Gulf.
1:20PM Update: Rita continues to move Northwest, wobbling, as it nears the coast. It appears to be holding at it's current intensity, the 2PM (1PM CDT) advisory should update that.
I've begun recording coastal radar of Rita you can see that here It will remain until Rita is out of range.
Original Update Rita's held it's intensity overnight, and it will likely hold or weaken some today.
What is happening this morning is that a bit of a weakness of dry air appears to be developing west of the eye which will either weaken or continue to hold the storm into check. Rita's finished the eyewall replacement cycle and the water below it is about to get warmer (it is entering one of the warm eddys in the Gulf). But with the dry air entering in now I only see it holding or weakening at least this morning. It does have a shot to strengthen a bit, but it isn't as likely.
Folks in the hurricane Warning area need to already be prepared, things will start to deteriorate this afternoon. Folks along coastal areas should be evacuated. If you are in the warning area and are readinging this near the coast, shut it off now and leave.
Rita likely will still remain a major hurricane at landfall, which will be sometime overnight tonight or early tomorrow morning, and the National Hurricane Center track to make landfall near Port Arthur Texas has not changed since last night.
Rita will also likely begin to slow down forward motion as it moves northwest, likely stalling over northeast texas.
Points immediately east of the eye will receive the worst of the storm surge.
Philippe is transitioning into an extratropical storm and moving away. South of Bermuda, about 500 miles, another wave is worthy of being watched for development over the next few days. This one is likely to stay out to sea also.
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