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#47602 (Received by flhurricane at: 10:43 PM 21.Sep.2005)
TCPAT3
BULLETIN
HURRICANE RITA ADVISORY NUMBER 18
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
10 PM CDT WED SEP 21 2005

...CATEGORY FIVE RITA CONTINUING TO STRENGTHEN OVER THE CENTRAL
GULF OF MEXICO...

A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO COAST
FROM PORT MANSFIELD TEXAS TO CAMERON LOUISIANA. A HURRICANE WARNING
MAY BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF THE HURRICANE WATCH AREA THURSDAY
MORNING.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT ON EITHER SIDE OF THE
HURRICANE WATCH AREA... FROM EAST OF CAMERON TO GRAND ISLE
LOUISIANA... AND FROM SOUTH OF PORT MANSFIELD TO BROWNSVILLE TEXAS.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE NORTHEASTERN COAST
OF MEXICO FROM RIO SAN FERNANDO NORTHWARD TO THE RIO GRANDE.

A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS. A TROPICAL STORM
WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE
WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.

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

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

AT 10 PM CDT...0300Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR
LATITUDE 24.6 NORTH... LONGITUDE 87.2 WEST OR ABOUT 570 MILES...
915 KM... EAST-SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 670 MILES...
1080 KM...EAST-SOUTHEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS.

RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 9 MPH ...15 KM/HR...AND THIS
GENERAL MOTION AT A SLIGHTLY FASTER FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED
DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 175 MPH...280 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. RITA IS A POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE ON
THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY ARE LIKELY
DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 70 MILES...110 KM...
FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP
TO 185 MILES...295 KM.

THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 897 MB...26.49 INCHES.
THIS MEANS RITA IS THE THIRD MOST INTENSE HURRICANE IN TERMS OF
PRESSURE IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN.

TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING NEAR NORMAL ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI AND
LOUISIANA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE
AREAS WILL INCREASE UP TO 3 TO 4 FEET AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE
WAVES OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS... AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD
EXPERIENCE SOME COASTAL FLOODING.

HEAVY RAINS ASSOCIATED WITH RITA ARE FORECAST TO BEGIN TO AFFECT THE
WESTERN AND CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO COASTAL AREAS THURSDAY NIGHT
INTO FRIDAY. RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL
ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 12 INCHES WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF
15 INCHES OVER THE CENTRAL TO UPPER TEXAS COAST. RAINFALL AMOUNTS
OF 2 TO 24 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE ACROSS SOUTHERN LOUISIANA...
INCLUDING THE NEW ORLEANS METROPOLITAN AREA. AFTER RITA MOVES
INLAND...TOTAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES WILL BE
POSSIBLE OVER EASTERN TEXAS... AND CENTRAL AND EASTERN OKLAHOMA
DURING SATURDAY AND SUNDAY.

REPEATING THE 10 PM CDT POSITION...24.6 N... 87.2 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST NEAR 9 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED
WINDS...175 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 897 MB.

AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL
HURRICANE CENTER AT 1 AM CDT FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT
COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 4 AM CDT.

FORECASTER STEWART