Rita: 3rd strongest hurricane ever

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:08 AM GMT on September 22, 2005

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The 7:09 pm eye report from the hurricane hunters found a 904 mb pressure and flight level winds of 161 knots (186 mph). This pressure makes Rita the 3rd strongest Atlantic hurricane of all time. Tonight, Rita will be passing over the Loop Current, a warm eddy of water in the Gulf that aided Katrina's growth to a Category 5 hurricane. Fueled by this pool of deep warm water and an almost ideal upper level wind environment, Rita should continue to intensify until Thursday morning, when she will pass beyond the Loop Current. The eye has shrunk to 20 nm diameter from 25 nm earlier this afternoon. By the time the eye shrinks down to 10 nm, the eyewall will collapse and an eyewall replacement cycle begin, putting an end to this intensification cycle. With potentially another 12 hours to go before this happens, Rita could challenge Gilbert's 888 mb pressure record.

The list of strongest hurricanes of all time now reads:

Hurricane Gilbert (888 mb, 1988)

The Great Labor Day Hurricane (892 mb, 1935)

Hurricane Rita (898 mb, 2005)

Hurricane Allen (899 mb, 1980)

Hurricane Katrina (902 mb, 2005)

Hurricane Camille (905 mb, 1969)

I expect to rewrite this list when the next reconnaissance aircraft reaches Rita about 9pm tonight. How low can Rita go?

Jeff Masters

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81. OldWorld
2:09 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Company---I'ze jus a'wake.
I'ze in a bi' of a turmoil 'rite now.
Sorree...Is I gettin' yer lingo dude?
Ya' is puttin' me brain-box in seveer distress.
Me corpus callosum is in real spin (see sat'lite piktures).
Whenz you'ze going stop stressin' me apostropheeze?

Will you release me from the tyranny that you have placed me under?
There is no productive way forward for either you or for me, while you insist on your present course of action.
Inevitably, I have to follow your directions.
To what mutual end are you directing us both?
Given your present procedures, it can only be towards mutually assured destruction.

By the way, got any 3',5',dihydroxy-heptanol?
I'll pay.

Please...It's not personal...I'm only trying to survive.

Yours truly,
Your GlobalWeatherSystem
80. Remek
1:02 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
latest gfs looks like landfall's moved n to just s of houston. can't see clearly exactly where, though, through all the isobars
can't rely on only gfs, nhc folks know how to better interpret all the different models better than we do
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 118
79. sebastianjer
12:59 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
J Masters ha a new blog thread with very interesting info
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197
78. SirVivor
12:58 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Wow...the latest satelite imagery is beautiful. I'd love to have a huge wall sized poster of that. As long as she weakens and comes ashore as a 'sedate' Cat 3, it would be awesome to see just how strong she could get.

I agree with the comments about how important wobble can be. Not only Ivan, but this year with Dennis. It looked like Dennis was going to hit FWB as a strong Cat 4. As always seems to be the case when storms hit the Emerald Coast, this one hit a ridge and lost intensification. Then it wobbled...and when it wobbled it also laid on it's side. The result was that instead of Destin getting swamped and the barrier islands being destroyed, P'cola ended up getting a sort of 'dry surge'. The winds stayed aloft and did not drag the storm surge into Destin that it should have. They continued to stay aloft till almost due north of the eye, which kept the storm from losing strength as the winds wrapped around the eye and dragged across dry land. So, P'cola got hit with strong winds like you would expect to see on the surge side of the storm, but because the winds were coming in from dry land, there were no waves. Hence, what I call a 'dry surge'. FWB-Destin got lucky....so did P'cola/Gulf Breeze. I was going nuts trying to figure out why the storm crew in Destin were basically dry as bones (comparitavely speaking), it wasn't till after the storm was over and I had a chance to examine the data that I realized that the storm had not just wobbled, it had laid on its side in a diagonal, like a child's top that is losing energy. It also kind of reminded me of back in the old LP record days when I would have a stack of 33s on the turntable and I'd put my finger on one side and the record would lean to one side...which gave me an image of God reaching down and putting a finger on the edge of the storm causing it to lean...maybe 'intelligent design' trying to keep an area already devastated by storm after storm from getting destroyed. OK, so I'm right brained and imaginative...give me points for imagery and expression!
77. hurricane79
12:57 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
finnadat, the GFS takes her to Galveston in 66 hours
76. SaymoBEEL
12:56 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Dr. Masters has a new post
75. SaCaCh
12:56 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
New post with unreal horrible news read it!!
74. 8888888889gg
12:55 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
are the winds in the hurrican at 190mph yet if not how soon?
73. Hurricanesr4me
12:55 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Dr. Lyons on the WC just mentioned that there appears to be a more northward movement.
72. SaymoBEEL
12:54 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
someone says there is a chatroom set up. maybe they're there.
71. hurricane79
12:54 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
hey aquak9, not sure where the regulars are... may be lurking, or in another blog...
70. FLexpatriate
12:54 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Some of the regulars are still posting on the old blog entry.
69. finnadat
12:54 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Remek at 12:34 AM GMT on September 22, 2005.

what does the GFS say - I'm in west houston outside of the 500yr floodplane and feel ok if it hits port o'connor but if it hits galveston we gotta go!!!

also all hotel rooms to Tulsa and Sante Fe are booked from Katrina and Rita evacs.

hoping the best from 77043
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 9
68. aquak9
12:51 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
hi saymo, 79, amd and everyone else...no offense to everyone here but where's the regulars? is this blog overwhelmed at the moment?
yes this is all truly frightening, not just for the western gulf but for the fact that we are watching this happen...again...
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27677
67. Carbo04
12:50 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
I wish we could get a new vortex every hour. :(
66. SaymoBEEL
12:49 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
One of the biggest problems I see with NHC, there should be more communication, maybe more discussions.
65. timl2k5
12:49 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Gns then accuweather is wrong.
64. EllistonVA
12:48 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Does anyone have a decent link to the current model runs? When I look at the WU ones the screen is all messed up...Thx
Member Since: May 3, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
63. gnshpdude
12:47 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
And these are our experts at the NHC lol!
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
62. swmpman
12:46 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
It appears the models are moving up the coast from Matagorda. Hmm.
61. hurricane79
12:44 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Its water under the bridge for the 8PM coordinates, other than for verifying model data. The Satellite images tells us where she is until the NHC corrects the mistake at 11PM. They will most likely post another update before then.
60. goularogue
12:43 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
it is west of you
59. SaymoBEEL
12:43 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
I hate being told you are not seeing what you are seeing. It is there. Explain it. If it is not important say so and explain why.
Every storm this happens.
58. gnshpdude
12:43 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Tim,

Not according to Accuweather
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
57. TheEdge
12:42 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Thanks FLex .... That is the next point I'm going to watch for....90W under 25N.
56. hurricane79
12:42 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
gnshpdude, there is an error in the recon message, which caused an additional error in the advisory. They will be correct by 11 PM
55. gnshpdude
12:41 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
I live near Fort Walton Beach, FL near 30.4 86.6 and would just like to know when the storm is west of us:-)
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
54. timl2k5
12:41 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
gns the 8pm coords are correct! The 5PM coords are incorrect!
53. amd
12:41 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
i think pressures in the western pacific are generally a little bit lower than in the atlantic. That's why storms like tip and allen could have the same peak winds (190 mph), but have vastly different pressures (870 mb and 899 mb) respectively.

Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1024
52. hurricane79
12:40 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
I am glad to see that the residents from Galveston and areas surrounding, that were here last night in this blog, are not here, and are hopefully staying at relatives houses about 200 miles inland.
51. gnshpdude
12:40 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
hurricane,

So what are the correct coordinates as of 8 PM?
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
50. AndyAxel
12:39 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Well, as of 6:50CDT, NHC is saying Rita is now #3 on the all time list. Min central pressure of ~898 MB. And it's just now entering the Loop Current eddy.
49. gnshpdude
12:38 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
hurricane79,

What does this mean the corrected there recon?? Does it mean the recon shows 24.5 86.8 or that thet goofed on the 8 PM advisory?
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
48. hurricane79
12:38 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
gnshpdude it was probably a typo, they will correct it in the next advisory/
47. timl2k5
12:37 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Right gns as I said I think they screwed up the 5pm position.
46. Remek
12:37 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Yeah, Remk, but climatologically the Gulf of Mexico can't support a storm like Tip in the Western Pacific. For one thing, the western Pacific has the highest SSTs in the world. Secondly, the Gulf is too shallow and doesn't provide the energy potential to support such a storm.

agreed. don't think we'll get anything that large or with that low pressure. wind speeds are a different matter
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 118
45. FLexpatriate
12:37 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Hecker,

That scenario is very possible. Buffalo Bayou which goes through downtown Houston empties into the Houston Ship Channel, which feeds into Galveston Bay. A 25-30' surge would push that water right up the Bayou and would cause at least some flooding downtown.
44. gnshpdude
12:36 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Let me clear this up. I wasn't concerned about a movement .1 deg North. What didn't make sense was an advisory that did not move storm mre then 6 miles in three hours. Yet it stated the motion was West at 13 MPH. Doesn't follow the data.
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
43. geaux1
12:35 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
How many wobbles does it take to change the trajectory of the storm this far out. Seems a north or south wobble could have significant longe range effects.
42. hurricane79
12:35 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
I am holding with my forecast from last night Galveston, with 145 MPH winds on Saturday morning.
41. Hecker
12:34 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Could a 25-30' storm surge up Galveston Bay push water all the way into downtown Houston?
Member Since: June 29, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 311
40. timl2k5
12:34 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
87.1 is not correct, look at the last VORTEX.
39. Remek
12:34 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
whenever the new gfs link comes out can someone post it? Thanks!

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 118
38. hurricane79
12:34 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
The NHC corrected their recon for the corrected positions
37. geaux1
12:33 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
I understand the movement may be a wobble, but a few more wobbles north and the impact to the Louisiana coast seems much more severe. Which is what worries me.....
36. FLexpatriate
12:32 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Edge,

More than likely, Rita will cross 25W before she gets to 90W. Meaning that every point in TX south of Corpus will be out of the cone.
35. gnshpdude
12:32 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Accuweather has it at 24.5 87.1. This makes more sense. I think the NHC screwed up the advisory!!
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
34. timl2k5
12:32 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
The 5 PM coordinates were 24.4 86.8

That must have been a typo should have been 86.5.
33. cornflake826
12:31 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
nados heading into downtown minneapolis st paul
32. flynns
12:31 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
I agree, Rita's current IR sat position againist the forecast position is clearly north. The motion appears to be more than just a single wobble.

I dunno. I'm gonna go check into our nightly radio net at 2000 CDT, eat dinner, and come back and look at it. I'm repressing being concerned about it in the interests of good science...?

Probably not smart, since I'm planning on being in Mississippi on Fri/Sat.
31. SaymoBEEL
12:30 AM GMT on September 22, 2005
Ivan "wobbled" at the last minute and ask Gulf shores and P'cola how important they are.

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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