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#47479 (Received by flhurricane at: 10:49 AM 21.Sep.2005)
TCDAT3
HURRICANE RITA DISCUSSION NUMBER 16
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
11 AM EDT WED SEP 21 2005

THE RECONNAISSANCE PLANE WILL NOT BE IN THE AREA OF RITA UNTIL LATER
THIS MORNING. HOWEVER...SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT THE CLOUD
PATTERN IS TYPICAL OF AN INTENSE HURRICANE WITH A CLEAR EYE
SURROUNDED BY VERY DEEP CONVECTION. INITIAL INTENSITY IS ADJUSTED
UPWARD TO 120 KNOTS AT THIS TIME. HOWEVER...OBJECTIVE T-NUMBERS FROM
BOTH TAFB AND THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN CIMSS ARE PEAKING NEAR
7.0 ON THE DVORAK SCALE...SUGGESTING WINDS OF NEAR 140 KNOTS. I
WILL WAIT FOR THE PLANE TO REACH RITA TO INCREASE THE WINDS
FURTHER...IF NECESSARY. THE ENVIRONMENT IS CONDUCIVE FOR
STRENGTHENING AND RITA...AS KATRINA DID...WILL BE CROSSING THE LOOP
CURRENT OR AN AREA OF HIGH HEAT CONTENT WITHIN THE NEXT 12 HOURS OR
SO. THIS WOULD AID THE INTENSIFICATION PROCESS. THEREAFTER...THE
INTENSITY WILL BE CONTROLLED BY CHANGES IN THE EYEWALL WHICH ARE
DIFFICULT TO PREDICT. THE HEAT CONTENT IN THE WESTERN GULF OF
MEXICO IS NOT AS FAVORABLE AS IN THE AREA OF THE LOOP CURRENT SO
SLIGHT WEAKENING IS ANTICIPATED....BUT RITA IS EXPECTED TO MAKE
LANDFALL AS A MAJOR HURRICANE...AT LEAST CATEGORY THREE.

THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE IN THE STEERING PATTERN. RITA IS MOVING
WESTWARD AT 11 KNOTS SOUTH OF A STRONG HIGH. AS THE HIGH MOVES
EASTWARD...RITA WILL GRADUALLY BEGIN TO MOVE TOWARD THE WEST-
NORTHWEST AND NORTHWEST BASICALLY TOWARD THE TEXAS COAST. THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST IS VERY CLOSE TO THE MODEL CONSENSUS AND HAS NOT
CHANGED FROM THE PREVIOUS FORECAST.

BOTH THE GFS AND THE GFDL SUGGEST THAT THE WIND FIELD WILL EXPAND.
THEREFORE THE FORECAST WIND RADII HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED ACCORDINLY. ON
THIS TRACK AND DUE TO THE LARGE WIND FIELD ASSOCIATED WITH RITA...A
HURRICANE WATCH WILL LIKELY BE ISSUED LATER THIS AFTERNOON OR
TONIGHT.

FORECASTER AVILA


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 21/1500Z 24.3N 85.9W 120 KT
12HR VT 22/0000Z 24.5N 87.9W 135 KT
24HR VT 22/1200Z 25.0N 90.0W 130 KT
36HR VT 23/0000Z 25.7N 92.0W 125 KT
48HR VT 23/1200Z 26.6N 94.0W 120 KT
72HR VT 24/1200Z 29.0N 96.5W 100 KT...INLAND
96HR VT 25/1200Z 32.5N 97.5W 40 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 26/1200Z 35.5N 97.0W 25 KT...INLAND