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#47841 (Received by flhurricane at: 11:08 PM 22.Sep.2005)
TCDAT3
HURRICANE RITA DISCUSSION NUMBER 22
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
11 PM EDT THU SEP 22 2005

FLIGHT LEVEL WIND DATA AND RADAR OBSERVATIONS FROM THE AIR FORCE
HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT THE CONCENTRIC EYEWALL
CYCLE MIGHT BE NEARING COMPLETION. THERE IS NOW ONLY A SINGLE
FLIGHT LEVEL WIND MAXIMUM AT A RADIUS OF ABOUT 20 N MI...ASSOCIATED
WITH THE OUTER EYEWALL THAT THE AIRCRAFT RADAR INDICATE IS SLOWLY
CONTRACTING... WHILE THE INNER EYEWALL CONTINUES TO DETERIORATE.
RECENT GOES INFRARED IMAGERY ALSO INDICATES THAT A COMPLETE RING OF
VERY COLD CONVECTIVE TOPS...COLDER THAN -70C... NOW SURROUNDS THE
EYE. THE CENTRAL PRESSURE HAS ONLY RISEN SLIGHTLY TO 917 MB AS
MEASURED BY THE MOST RECENT DROPSONDE. RECENT FLIGHT LEVEL AND
DROPSONDE WIND DATA DO NOT SUPPORT AN INTENSITY GREATER THAN ABOUT
110 KT...BUT GIVEN THE VERY LOW PRESSURE...THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS
ADJUSTED ONLY SLIGHTLY DOWNWARD TO 120 KT. RITA IS ABOUT TO PASS
OVER ANOTHER EDDY OF HIGH OCEAN HEAT CONTENT. COMBINING THIS WITH
THE POSSIBLE CONTRACTION OF THE OUTER EYEWALL DURING THE NEXT
SEVERAL HOURS...SOME RESTRENGTHENING IS FORECAST IN THE SHORT TERM.
GRADUAL WEAKENING IS POSSIBLE LATER ON FRIDAY BEFORE LANDFALL DUE
TO LESSER OCEAN HEAT CONTENT CLOSER TO THE COAST...AND TO THE
POSSIBILITY OF SOME INCREASE IN THE WIND SHEAR. THE BOTTOM LINE IS
THAT THE INTENSITY WILL LIKELY FLUCTUATE DURING THE NEXT 36
HOURS...AND RITA IS EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL AS A MAJOR
HURRICANE...AT LEAST CATEGORY THREE.

ALTHOUGH RITA HAS WOBBLED WESTWARD DURING THE PAST COUPLE OF
HOURS...THE OVERALL MOTION DURING THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS HAS
REMAINED WEST-NORTHWESTWARD...ABOUT 300/9. THERE ARE NO CHANGES TO
THE OFFICIAL TRACK FORECAST...SINCE THE VARIOUS DYNAMICAL MODELS
STRADDLE THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY TRACK. RITA IS EXPECTED TO
GRADUALLY TURN NORTHWESTWARD AND EVENTUALLY NORTHWARD AS THE HIGH
TO ITS NORTH SLIDES EASTWARD. RITA IS FORECAST TO THEN ESSENTIALLY
STALL IN ABOUT THREE DAYS IN THE AREA OF NORTHEASTERN TEXAS WHERE
STEERING CURRENTS ARE FORECAST TO BECOME VERY WEAK. THIS SCENARIO
POSES A GREAT RISK OF VERY HEAVY RAINFALL WELL INLAND AND FOR MANY
DAYS AFTER LANDFALL.

FORECASTER KNABB


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 23/0300Z 26.2N 90.3W 120 KT
12HR VT 23/1200Z 27.0N 91.5W 125 KT
24HR VT 24/0000Z 28.4N 93.0W 120 KT
36HR VT 24/1200Z 29.8N 94.2W 115 KT...INLAND
48HR VT 25/0000Z 31.1N 94.7W 65 KT...INLAND
72HR VT 26/0000Z 33.0N 95.0W 35 KT...INLAND
96HR VT 27/0000Z 33.0N 95.0W 25 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 28/0000Z 33.0N 95.0W 25 KT...INLAND