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#47044 (Received by flhurricane at: 11:08 PM 19.Sep.2005)
TCDAT3
TROPICAL STORM RITA DISCUSSION NUMBER 9
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
11 PM EDT MON SEP 19 2005

RITA REMAINS JUST UNDER HURRICANE STRENGTH. THE STORM PRODUCED A
MASSIVE BURST OF COLD CONVECTION NEAR THE CENTER DURING THE
EVENING...AND RADAR IMAGERY INDICATED AN INCREASE IN BANDING.
HOWEVER...THIS INCREASE IN ORGANIZATION HAS NOT YET PRODUCED
SIGNIFICANT INTENSIFICATION. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER
HAS REPORTED MAXIMUM 700 MB FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS OF 59 KT 39 N MI
NORTHWEST OF OF THE CENTER...AND A CENTER DROPSONDE OF 992 MB WITH
33 KT SURFACE WINDS. BASED ON THE THIS...THE CENTRAL PRESSURE IS
990 MB...AND THE INITIAL INTENSITY REMAINS 60 KT.

THE INITIAL MOTION IS A SOMEWHAT UNCERTAIN 285/12...UNCERTAIN
BECAUSE THE SHORT-TERM MOTION SEEMS TO BE A LITTLE MORE TO THE
LEFT. OTHER THAN THAT...THERE IS LITTLE CHANGE IN THE FORECAST
PHILOSOPHY FOR THE FIRST 72 HR. A STRONG DEEP-LAYER RIDGE ALONG
THE NORTHERN GULF COAST SHOULD STEER RITA ON A GENERAL
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD TO WESTWARD TRACK...AND ALL GUIDANCE AGREES WITH
THIS SCENARIO. AFTER 72 HR...THERE IS SOME DIVERGENCE IN THE
HANDLING OF THE GULF COAST RIDGE. THE UKMET AND NOGAPS KEEP THE
RIDGE SOMEWHAT FARTHER WEST...THUS FORECASTING RITA TO MOVE INTO
THE LOWER OR MIDDLE TEXAS COASTS IN 4-5 DAYS TIME. THE GFDL AND
GFS CALL FOR THE RIDGE TO MOVE FATHER EASTWARD AND FORECAST RITA TO
MAKE LANDFALL ALONG THE MIDDLE TO UPPER TEXAS COAST. THE FORECAST
TRACK AFTER 72 HR WILL COMPROMISE BETWEEN THESE TWO EXTREMES...
CALLING FOR A LANDFALL ON THE MIDDLE TEXAS COAST. THE TRACK AFTER
72 HR IS ALSO A LITTLE SLOWER THAN THE GUIDANCE CONSENSUS DUE TO
THE MODEL SPREAD.

UP TO NOW...RITA HAS HAD PROBLEMS DEVELOPING A WELL-DEFINED INNER
CORE. THIS MIGHT BE DUE TO EASTERLY SHEAR CAUSED BY THE STRONG
UPPER-LEVEL HIGH TO THE EAST-NORTHEAST OF THE CYCLONE AND AN
UPPER-LEVEL LOW TO THE SOUTH-SOUTHWEST. OTHER THAN THAT...
CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR STRENGTHENING...AND IT IS LIKELY
THAT RITA WILL REACH HURRICANE STRENGTH IN A FEW HOURS. THE
INTENSITY FORECAST FOLLOWS THE SHIPS AND FSU SUPERENSEMBLE...
ALTHOUGH STRONGER THAN BOTH. THE GFDL CONTINUES TO FORECAST VERY
RAPID INTENSIFICATION TO MAJOR HURRICANE STATUS OVER THE VERY WARM
WATERS OF THE FLORIDA STRAITS. SO FAR THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED...BUT
THE GFDL COULD BE RIGHT IF RITA ESTABLISHES A BETTER INNER CORE.
THERE IS THUS A POSSIBILITY THAT RITA COULD BECOME A MAJOR
HURRICANE BEFORE PASSING THE FLORIDA KEYS. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT
THE GFDL CALLS FOR RITA TO PEAK IN 24 HOURS AND THEN SLOWLY WEAKENS
THE STORM FOR THE REST OF THE NEXT FIVE DAYS. THIS IS LIKELY DUE
TO THE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES AND OCEANIC HEAT CONTENT OF THE
GULF OF MEXICO BEING LESS THAN THOSE IN THE FLORIDA
STRAITS...EXCEPT IN THE LOOP CURRENT.

THE INITIAL WIND RADII WERE REVISED BASED ON AIRCRAFT DATA.

FORECASTER BEVEN


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 20/0300Z 23.3N 77.8W 60 KT
12HR VT 20/1200Z 23.7N 79.5W 75 KT
24HR VT 21/0000Z 24.2N 82.1W 85 KT
36HR VT 21/1200Z 24.5N 84.9W 95 KT
48HR VT 22/0000Z 24.8N 87.4W 100 KT
72HR VT 23/0000Z 25.5N 91.5W 105 KT
96HR VT 24/0000Z 27.5N 94.0W 105 KT
120HR VT 25/0000Z 30.5N 96.0W 60 KT...INLAND