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#47886 (Received by flhurricane at: 4:58 AM 23.Sep.2005)
TCDAT3
HURRICANE RITA DISCUSSION NUMBER 23
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
5 AM EDT FRI SEP 23 2005

RITA IS COMPLETING ITS EYEWALL REPLACEMENT CYCLE THIS MORNING...AS
THE LAST REPORT FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT
SHOWED THAT THE INNER 15 N MI WIDE EYE HAD DISSIPATED AND A SINGLE
33 N MI WIDE EYE EXISTED. MAXIMUM FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS AT 700 MB IN
THE NORTHEASTERN QUADRANT ARE 125-130 KT...WHICH HELPS SUPPORT AN
INITIAL INTENSITY OF 120 KT. THE AIRCRAFT DATA SHOWED THAT ANOTHER
WIND MAXIMA HAS FORMED ABOUT 60 N MI FROM THE CENTER...WHICH MIGHT
BE THE START OF ANOTHER OUTER EYEWALL. THE LATEST CENTRAL PRESSURE
REPORTED BY THE AIRCRAFT IS 927 MB.

RITA IS MOVING BETWEEN 300-305 DEGREES AT 8-9 KT. RAWINSONDE DATA
AT 00Z INDICATES THAT THE MID-LEVEL RIDGE IS STILL PRESENT OVER
TEXAS. THIS FEATURE SHOULD MOVE EASTWARD DURING THE NEXT 24-48
HR...ALLOWING THE CURRENT NORTHWESTWARD MOTION TO BECOME MORE
NORTHERLY. TRACK GUIDANCE IS NOW CLUSTERED ABOUT A LANDFALL ON THE
UPPER TEXAS COAST IN ROUGHLY 30 HR...WITH THE MODEL TRACK BEING
SPREAD BETWEEN SAN LUIS PASS AND SABINE PASS. THE FORECAST TRACK
UP TO LANDFALL IS ESSENTIALLY AN UPDATE OF THE PREVIOUS PACKAGE.
AFTER LANDFALL...THE GUIDANCE BECOME VERY DIVERGENT AS HIGH
PRESSURE BUILD TO THE WEST AND POSSIBLY NORTH OF RITA. GIVEN THE
SPREAD...THE FORECAST TRACK WILL CALL FOR LITTLE MOTION AFTER 72 HR
JUST AS THE PREVIOUS FORECAST DID. THIS STALLING WILL POSE A
SERIOUS RISK OF VERY HEAVY RAINFALL WELL INLAND.

THE INTENSITY FORECAST IS STILL PROBLEMATIC. SINCE RITA HAS
COMPLETED THE EYEWALL REPLACEMENT CYCLE AND IS OVER THE WARM EDDY
OF THE LOOP CURRENT...THERE IS A CHANCE IT COULD STRENGTHEN DURING
THE NEXT 12 HR. AFTER THAT...IT SHOULD MOVED NORTH OF THE EDDY...
POSSIBLY START ANOTHER EYEWALL CYCLE...AND POSSIBLY EXPERIENCE
INCREASING SOUTHERLY SHEAR. THE INTENSITY FORECAST THUS CALLS FOR
A SLIGHT INCREASE IN STRENGTH IN 12 HR...FOLLWED BY SLIGHT
WEAKENING. AN ALTERNATIVE SCENARIO IS THAT RITA DOES NOT
STRENGTHEN...AND GRADUALLY WEAKENS DUE TO SHEAR UNTIL LANDFALL.
THIS COULD HAPPEN IF THE SHEAR REACHES THE 25 KT VALUES FORECAST BY
THE GFS AND SHIPS MODELS.

FORECASTER BEVEN


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 23/0900Z 26.8N 91.0W 120 KT
12HR VT 23/1800Z 27.6N 92.2W 125 KT
24HR VT 24/0600Z 28.9N 93.6W 120 KT
36HR VT 24/1800Z 30.4N 94.6W 80 KT...INLAND
48HR VT 25/0600Z 31.5N 95.0W 45 KT...INLAND
72HR VT 26/0600Z 33.0N 94.5W 30 KT...INLAND
96HR VT 27/0600Z 33.0N 94.5W 25 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 28/0600Z 33.0N 94.5W 25 KT...INLAND DISSIPATING