Rita may stall over Texas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:54 AM GMT on September 22, 2005

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The latest runs of two key computer models, the GFS and GFDL, now indicate that the trough of low pressure that was expected to pick up Rita and pull her rapidly northward through Texas will not be strong enough to do so. Instead, these models forecast that Rita will make landfall near Galveston, penetrate inland between 50 and 200 miles, then slowly drift southwestward for nearly two days, as a high pressure ridge will build in to her north. Finally, a second trough is forecast to lift Rita out of Texas on Tuesday. If this scenario develops, not only will the coast receive catastrophic damage from the storm surge, but interior Texas, including the Dallas/Fort Worth area, might see a deluge of 15 - 30 inches of rain. A huge portion of Texas would be a disaster area. We'll have to wait for the next set of model runs due out by tomorrow morning to know better.

The 7:09 pm eye report from the hurricane hunters found a 897 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 (897 mb, 2005)

Hurricane Allen (899 mb, 1980)

Hurricane Katrina (902 mb, 2005)

Hurricane Camille (905 mb, 1969)

How low can Rita go?

Jeff Masters

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1263. GetReal
2:36 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
The NHC won't acknowledge it, But Rita now appears to be moving due NW, at about 305 degrees towards central or west LA coast.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8896
1262. stmarylalady
2:35 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
My sister just told me the schools here in st mary parish are closing today at noon.
1261. Thermohalineeotw
2:31 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
MAX FL WIND 159 KT NE QUAD 09:16:30 Z
OCCASIONAL LIGHTNING
STADIUM EFFECT -- TOP OF WESTERN EYEWALL BRIGHTENING AS SUN RISES
EYE IS CLOUD FILLED BELOW FLIGHT LEVEL
1260. Obsidian
2:31 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Hurricane path prediction is about as vauge as predicting who will win the Super Bowl. At the beginning of the season you'll have most people picking a handful of teams to win it. Then as the season goes on and records get established those predictions are changed based on a current teams' performances. Then towards the end of the season we can narrow it down to the teams that made the playoffs. Then one by one teams get eliminated and finally you have a winner. Anyone that predicted the Patriots would win the 2001 Superbowl at the beginning of the season would just be lucky. Who knew that Tom Brady would be the superstar that he is when Bledsoe was carried the team into the playoffs until he went down?

Anyway, my point is no one really knows what is going to happen, so its really no use about arguing who is right and who is wrong you can only just prepare for whatever Rita or any other hurricane decides to do.

By the way the Atlanta Falcons will beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl this year 24-17. Bold prediction huh?
1259. SAINTHURRIFAN
2:27 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
get real maybe a group of us should talk to each oter ignore 79 and lefty and maybe he will eventually go away by the way i dont think storm top awnsers us because he only talks to lefty hmmm lol.
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 709
1258. GetReal
2:21 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
I'll be back at 1000 hours for next advisory.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8896
1257. STORMTOP
2:21 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
GET REAL i did not predict a 175mph cat 6 hurricane and the width of this storm..this makes katrina look like a little sister to RITA...GET REAL new orleans will not get a direct hit but will get hurr force winds and heavy rains which we dont need right now...our levees are topped at 8 feet and no doubt the city wil flood and if it comes to west of us we will be on the worse side...this time its the west banks turn to flood...ok get real i gave you the reason...the strength just chewed this huge hig up...the weakness will be on the sw la coast now ..you know it really doesnt matter because rita is so large....this is unbelievable..i know no one on here predicted this strength after katrina only a few weeks ago....im not jumping on the band wagon get real im giving you the facts thats whats going to happen...in the next adv they will shift the bullseye 50 miles more back to the east....i do think it has weakened to 155 though if you want to call that weakening...
1256. SAINTHURRIFAN
2:18 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
the nhc is ajoke they waited to late to issue watch for katrina and if this hits central la as slow as they are changing track more dead bodies ought to be put on the front steps of nhc ask stormtopwho dont reply ms folks no needed 72 hours to evacuate they wait on nhc to issue watches and warnings before issuing evacs im sorry
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 709
1255. weatherguy03
2:15 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Hey Saint thanks for the nice words...Working alot today so more lurking then writing...But I will post some here and there..
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29705
1254. GetReal
2:15 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
WHERE OH WHERE DID STORMTOP GO!!!
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8896
1252. GetReal
2:08 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
That's right StormTop made a GOD-like decree that this was a TEXAS hurricane, and would not directly effect LA. Still waiting StormTop, or do I have to go back and pull up that post for everyone to see...
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8896
1251. SAINTHURRIFAN
2:08 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
well i see old get real was right after god lefty inslted him
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 709
1250. 8888888889gg
2:03 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
thank you at last some one at there no that i am right
1249. SaymoBEEL
2:03 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
You know, I don't think it was wrong to predict Texas. It is the arrogance that the prediction was infallible that bothers me.
1248. weatherdude65
2:03 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
stormtop...what do you think of this prediction?

29.5 92.3 late Saturday night, early Sunday morning Cat 4
1247. raindancer
2:03 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Oh, STORMTOP - give the Cat 6 thing a rest... First - it doesn't exist. Second - Rita only made it to Number 18 on the list of all time storms. She's impressive - but not earth shattering. If you want "Cat 6" - check out Typhoon Tip in '79 - at 2 to 3 times her size!
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
1246. icebear7
2:03 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
New Blog up
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
1245. Gatorbait05
2:02 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
I don't believ it will hit LA directly, the momentum and speed of this storm will not allow it at this point. Thats not saying they won't get something.
1244. GetReal
2:02 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Yeah where is leftyy, and StormTop after jumping all over me yesterday with leftyy, a simple "I was wrong", would do just fine..
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8896
1243. Wiggy
2:02 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Please don't say that raindancer, because that is definately not good for the folks that got hit by Katrina and it could possibly come this way to Mobile.
1242. Manny
2:01 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
I don't think she's done. If you look at this link to the TCHP of the Gulf, her northerly jogs are taking her to the portion with the highest level of heat in the entire gulf.

I've been a bear with her the majority of the time, but I think I'm going bullish with this prediction. Her last few sat frames look better as well.
Member Since: July 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 6
1241. STORMTOP
2:00 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
yes raindancer but i didnt forecast a cat 6 hurricane...you have to understand this storm is huge the wind field is expanding and it just went into this high and chewed it up...now the new orleans area will not get a direct hit but will be on the worse side of the storm...all we can hope is the levees hold...we should get hurr force winds and heavy rainfall...i dont like this at all...
1240. SaymoBEEL
2:00 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
AMEN WeatherboyFSU sending nole chops your way
1239. SAINTHURRIFAN
2:00 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
to storm top who dors not awnser old ms boy we are used to it media only knows no theyforget us to by the way get real and weather guy 03 wererigt on with this storm we all sid slower speed bad news for la faster speed to the alamo i wonder if the great lefty and the nhc he worships will people on here stop awnsering so he will go away forgotten ms coastian.by the way i think 79 is alsoa lefty alter ego hmm. god bless and where is nash when you need him
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 709
1238. hmfynn
2:00 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Stormtop, about how far East in LA?
1237. raindancer
1:59 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
boyfsu - If anything, I would have thought a weakening storm might have stayed left - but certainly not the case. There's definitely no wobble going on. Rita has distinctly turned northward. NHC has gotta say something at 11 AM. Now - where is lefty - and what was his predicted landfall?
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
1236. 8888888889gg
1:58 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
there is a lot of red back around the eye wall at this time now the sun is up
1235. LADobeLady
1:57 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
I'm a three!
Member Since: July 29, 2005 Posts: 21 Comments: 794
1234. SaymoBEEL
1:56 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
D) all of the above except 4

I think all here have a unique appreciation for science and nature.
1233. fredbeagle
1:56 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
y'know i've been snooping around trying to see if blanco and co. have any reaction to the northern turn- i.e. evacs, school closings, etc., and found nada. i wasn't aware that the path of least resistance storms follow had a political element to it as well, but live and learn.
Member Since: August 27, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 10
1232. weatherboyfsu
1:55 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
For of all, what happen to all those people yesterday that said this is a texas storm, man there predictions change like the wind......Im just an long time amateur, but getting my first look at rita this morning, two things really bother me.....1)Rita has definitely changed her mind on her track and 2) she has weaken considerably hence the change in direction.......from my experience, when a storm is forced to change direction by whatever means, shear or whatever....most of the time it weakens, but once it starts moving again it can re-strengthen....... People in Louisiana and for most of the gulf need to watch this storm, because no one can guarantee you where its going.....especially the ones on here.....
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
1231. weatherdude65
1:55 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Overall weather fanatic here....I LOVE the weather!!!!!
1230. Gatorbait05
1:55 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
8888 It will not be a Cat 5. The strongest a high Cat 4, lowest High Cat 3. But the conditions are already displaying a weakening of the storm.
1229. raindancer
1:55 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Wiggy - Valid point. LOL!

888 - OK, I give up on strength. There is nothing to support a Cat 5 beyond the next few hours, but I'll drop that one. What's your prediction for landfall site? Did I miss that one?
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
1228. 8888888889gg
1:55 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
i am right thank you for that a storng cat 4 or a low cat 5
1227. GetReal
1:55 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Hey StormTop jumping on the LA bandwagon now...
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8896
1226. Wiggy
1:54 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Well thats why I included the Hurricane Freaks. Because if you aren't a metereologist and you know that damn much about a hurricane then you are definately a hurricane freak. Especially if you don't even live in a hurricane prone area.
1225. weatherdude65
1:53 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
stormtop....this is my prediction I posted earlier on hookedontropics blog


Ok, here we go..

29.5 92.3 late Saturday night, early Sunday morning Cat 4

1224. 8888888889gg
1:52 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
it will not be a cat3 at landfall it will a storg cat 4 or a low cat5
1223. raindancer
1:52 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Wiggy - I'm not sure about #4... Unless you count Jeff and Steve.

=:)
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
1222. southernskiesrnice
1:51 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Well they finally issued some voluntary evacuations for Acadiana and surrounding areas. Lets hope the boss says I can leave, my girls are really scared of storms. Thanks again for all the great advice and keeping me on top of things!
1221. Wiggy
1:51 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
I am in the NO. 3 category
1220. raindancer
1:50 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
STORMTOP - I completely concur with your prediction - though weren't you pretty adamant yesterday about Rita missing LA altogether?
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
1219. Wiggy
1:50 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
I hope this doen't offend anyone, but I have come to a conclusion. I believe there a 4 types of people on this blog.

1. Hurricane Fanatics
2. Hurricane Freaks
3. People scared as hell in the way of a hurricane
4. Metereologists

correct me if I am wrong?
1218. SaymoBEEL
1:50 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
Wiggly, yeah, I hardly have anything left to sit on. Serious butt chewing the other night. The funny thing is, I don't try to force my opinion on anybody. Some people feel a little defensive I guess. If I'm wrong...I'm Wrong. I just like to point out what I see.
1217. raindancer
1:49 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
I see Millenium Weather (in the post below) is also predicting a Cat 3 at landfall - and also suggesting the track may be further right at landfall. I suspect at 11 AM EDT, NHC will move the course again to the right and will drop the wind speed. Rita "might" still be Cat 5 at 11, but I suspect that will be the last Cat 5 posting we see.
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
1216. STORMTOP
1:48 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
its like this guys no one expected to be dealing with the first cat 6 of the year...this thing has grown in size and its wind field and is eroding the high very quickly..the weakness is going to be now on the south central and sw la coasts...in the next advisory i expect them to shift it eastward 50 miles putting new orleans in possible hurricane force winds which will be our worse night mare...i dont want to even think about it ...another critical thing RITA is going through and eye replacement and she is headed where the waters are cooler...i think in the 10 am adv she drops once again to 155mph...i have never seen nothing like it since i been forecasting hurricanes..it just took the high and chewed it up..i think rita will hit on the la coast as a strong cat 3 on thursday night and affect the upper texas coast to the miss area....the question is what will happen to the greater new orleans now...
1215. GetReal
1:47 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
There's a wobble due north for you now.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8896
1214. hmfynn
1:44 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
aaaand, it's jogging north again.
well, at least we got a good hour of westward movement. hope it helped in the long run.
1213. 8888888889gg
1:44 PM GMT on September 22, 2005
lol but the red is comeing back so if i am right the winds in the next updat will be higher then what they are now lol

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.