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#47425 (Received by flhurricane at: 4:46 AM 21.Sep.2005)
TCDAT3
HURRICANE RITA DISCUSSION NUMBER 15
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
5 AM EDT WED SEP 21 2005

THE RECONNAISSANCE MISSION SCHEDULED FOR THIS MORNING WAS SCRUBBED
DUE TO ELECTRONICS PROBLEMS ON MULTIPLE AIRCRAFT. HOWEVER...BEFORE
THE EYE WENT OUT OF RANGE OF THE VELOCITY DATA FROM THE KEY WEST
WSR-88D...WINDS OF 100-115 KT WERE SEEN AT BETWEEN 9000-13000 FT.
ADDITIONALLY...SATELLITE INTENSITY ESTIMATES ARE 115 KT FROM ALL
AGENCIES. BASED ON THIS AND EXTRAPOLATION OF TRENDS FROM THE LAST
AIRCRAFT MISSION...THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS INCREASED TO 105
KT...AND THIS MAY BE CONSERVATIVE GIVE THE SATELLITE APPEARANCE.

THE INITIAL MOTION IS 275-280 DEGREES AT 12 KT. RITA SHOULD
CONTINUE TO MOVE GENERALLY WESTWARD FOR THE NEXT 36 HR OR SO ON THE
SOUTH SIDE OF THE STRONG DEEP-LAYER RIDGE OVER THE NORTHERN GULF
COAST. BEYOND THAT TIME...THE LARGE-SCALE MODELS FORECAST THE
RIDGE TO WEAKEN AND SHIFT EASTWARD...ALLOWING A MORE NORTHWARD
MOTION. THE MODELS HAVE COME INTO SOMEWHAT BETTER AGREEMENT ON
THIS RUN...AS THE GFS HAS SHIFTED WESTWARD FROM ITS PREVIOUS
FORECAST...WHILE THE NOGAPS AND GFDN HAVE SHIFTED NORTHWARD FROM
THEIR SOUTH TEXAS LANDFALL. THE FORECAST TRACK IS CLOSE TO THE
CONSENSUS MODELS AND THE FSU SUPERENSEMBLE...BEING NUDGED SLIGHTLY
NORTH OF THE PREVIOUS TRACK DURING THE FIRST 48-72 HR AND SLIGHTLY
WESTWARD THEREAFTER WITH A LANDFALL ON THE MIDDLE TEXAS COAST IN
JUST OVER 72 HR. HOWEVER...THESE CHANGES ARE IN THE NOISE LEVEL.

THE SATELLITE SIGNATURE OF RITA GIVES EVERY IMPRESSION THAT RAPID
INTENSIFICATION IS CONTINUING...AND WHILE THE EQUATORWARD OUTFLOW
CHANNEL MENTIONED EARLIER IS NOT AS APPARENT NOW THE POLEWARD
OUTFLOW CHANNEL IS STILL GOING STRONG. THUS INTENSIFICATION COULD
CONTINUE UNTIL A CONCENTRIC EYEWALL CYCLE OCCURS OR UNTIL THE EYE
MOVES WEST OF THE LOOP CURRENT IN ABOUT 24 HR. THE GFDL MODEL
PEAKS RITA AT ABOUT 120 KT IN 12-18 HR...THE SHIPS MODEL PEAKS IT
AT 122 KT IN 48 HR...AND THE SUPERENSEMBLE PEAKS IT AT 131 KT IN 48
HR. THE INTENSITY FORECAST WILL BRING THE SYSTEM TO 125 KT IN 24
HR AS A BLEND OF THESE FORECASTS. HOWEVER...IT WOULD NOT BE A
SURPRISE IF RITA BECAME A CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE IN THE NEXT 24 HR
BEFORE WEAKENING SOMEWHAT DUE TO A CONCENTRIC EYEWALL CYCLE OR THE
LOWER OCEAN HEAT CONTENT WEST OF THE LOOP CURRENT. RITA SHOULD
MAINTAIN MAJOR HURRICANE STATUS UNTIL LANDFALL...THEN WEAKEN AFTER
LANDFALL.

FORECASTER BEVEN


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 21/0900Z 24.3N 84.6W 105 KT
12HR VT 21/1800Z 24.4N 86.5W 115 KT
24HR VT 22/0600Z 24.7N 88.7W 125 KT
36HR VT 22/1800Z 25.2N 90.8W 125 KT
48HR VT 23/0600Z 25.9N 92.8W 125 KT
72HR VT 24/0600Z 28.0N 95.5W 120 KT
96HR VT 25/0600Z 31.5N 97.0W 50 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 26/0600Z 35.5N 96.5W 25 KT...INLAND DISSIPATING