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#47454 (Received by flhurricane at: 7:40 AM 21.Sep.2005)
TCPAT3
BULLETIN
HURRICANE RITA INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 15A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
8 AM EDT WED SEP 21 2005

...SATELLITE SUGGESTS THAT RITA HAS BECOME A CATEGORY FOUR
HURRICANE...

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE FLORIDA KEYS FROM
THE MARQUESAS KEYS WESTWARD TO THE DRY TORTUGAS.

INTERESTS IN THE NORTHWESTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE
PROGRESS OF RITA.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 8 AM EDT...1200Z...THE EYE OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR
LATITUDE 24.4 NORTH...LONGITUDE 85.3 WEST OR ABOUT 195 MILES...
WEST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT 790 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF
CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS.

RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 14 MPH AND THIS GENERAL MOTION
IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. THIS MOTION SHOULD
BRING THE CENTER OF RITA FARTHER AWAY FROM THE FLORIDA KEYS OVER
THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO TODAY.

SATELLITE IMAGERY SUGGESTS THAT RITA HAS CONTINUED TO STRENGHTEN AND
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 135 MPH WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. RITA IS NOW A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
SCALE. A NOAA PLANE WILL CHECK THE INTENSITY LATER THIS MORNING.
SOME ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 45 MILES FROM THE
CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 140
MILES.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 948 MB...28.00 INCHES.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 6 FT ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS
IS POSSIBLE IN THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING AREA. STORM SURGE
FLOODING ELSEWHERE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS AND SOUTH FLORIDA SHOULD
SUBSIDE TODAY.

RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE ADDITIONAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 1
TO 3 INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF EXTREME SOUTHERN FLORIDA AND THE
FLORIDA KEYS. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES...WITH MAXIMUM
AMOUNTS OF 10 INCHES OVER THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS...ARE POSSIBLE OVER
NORTHWEST CUBA. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE
OVER THE NORTHERN YUCATAN PENINSULA.

REPEATING THE 8 AM EDT POSITION...24.4 N... 85.3 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST NEAR 14 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...135 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 948 MB.

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
11 AM EDT.

FORECASTER AVILA