Rita pushing inland

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:51 PM GMT on September 24, 2005

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Rita continues to push inland, and is now a tropical storm. Many of the reporting stations failed during the height of the storm, so, as usual for a landfalling hurricane, we have little wind data. At the height of the storm, Port Arthur reported winds of 91 mph, gusting to 116. Beaumont had winds of 64 mph, gusting to 104. Houston had winds of 40 mph, gusting to 56, and New Orleans reported wind gusts as high as 40 mph.

Radar estimates of rain indicate that over a foot of rain has fallen in some areas. Expect an additional 6 - 8 inches of rain per day to fall during the next three days along Rita's path, with up to 25 inches falling in isolated areas. Fortunately, the regions most likely to be affected are under moderate to extreme drought conditions. Major flooding is already occurring on some rivers, but it will take a long time for many other rivers to come up to flood stage. The Mississippi is over 30 feet below flood stage in some places. Flash flooding along creeks and street flooding from excessive rains will be a problem everywhere, however. In addition, storm surge flooding was severe in Southwest Louisiana, and the surge penetrated over 40 miles inland in some areas. Exact storm surge height information is still unavailable. The surge will be slow to retreat, due to the strong onshore winds still affecting the coast.


Figure 1.Drought conditions exist over most of the areas affected by Hurricane Rita.



Figure 2. Estimated rainfall from Rita.

Where will Rita go?
Most of the latest model runs show Rita making a anti-cyclonic loop over northeastern Texas and central Louisiana, then perhaps heading back south to punish the landfall area five days from now. She may even move back over the waters of the Gulf. She would no longer be a tropical cyclone at that point, and redevelopment is not expected.

Elsewhere in the tropics
A large non-tropical low pressure system near Bermuda has changed little the past day, but has the potential to develop into a tropical depression by Monday or Tuesday. This system is expected to move little. A well-organized tropical disturbance near 11N 33W, off the coast of Africa, has a surface circulation and some deep convection. This system has the potential for development the next few days as it moves westward over the mid-Atlantic. High wind shear of 20 knots will keep the system from developing today. Long range models indicate that this disturbance will likely recurve to the northeast when it reaches the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Jeff Masters

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324. EnviroAg96
4:37 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
RITA info. and questions:

Can anyone help me with figuring out where Rita went in relation to my dad's house? My dad and brother rode out the storm in Lumberton, TX and my brother reports being able to see some stars at times but they never actually experienced calm winds that would indicate they were in the eye - they had mostly winds out of the north the whole time.

My brother told me about how everything would just go black when the "big" winds would come. There was a little moonlight he could see during the sustained winds, but things would die down a bit then just go completely black before the howling gusts would come - were these the max winds on the inner western wall blowing so much rain that it blackened the sky? I told him since he could see stars and some clearing to the east at times, they may have been just inside the inner western wall. Are these the fastest winds in the hurricane? Are wind speeds higher on the west side or east side, or are they about the same? From the coordinates I have, they were about 7-9 miles to the west of the center of the eye. They were at 30.18N; 94.19W - is there anyway to determine exactly how far that is from where the center of the eye passed?

No damage to my dad's house - he just lost a lot of trees and two just barely missed his boat and truck. My mom's house in Kountze, TX was also affected....she HAD about 90 mature pine trees in the front yard, 3 are still standing. Fortunately, none landed on the house.

Thanks!
323. DocNDswamp
4:34 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Lefty...good point. 20 percent seems indicative of lack of confidence in the samples...or the methodology. I think we will see physical proof of actual wind speeds on the ground tomorrow. My neighbor works for Chevron, early flight over W Gulf facilities/Cameron tomorrow. Let you know what I hear.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 94 Comments: 4794
322. guygee
4:30 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
thanks lefty!
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3171
321. leftyy420
4:26 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
guygee new dr.masters post.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
320. guygee
4:24 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Oops, make that "Also, 100+ mile winds not associated with tropical systems can and do take place over large land areas.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3171
319. guygee
4:22 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Jedkins - I think that wind measurement is a fairly mature technology, so I am not sure why you mark pre-1980 measurements as being non-believable. Can you point out some post-1980 technological advance that led to significantly more accurate measurements? Also, 100+ mile winds areas not associated with tropical systems can and do take place over large land.

Anyways, here is a link to info on another storm that I vividly recall. It took place over Ohio in 1969 and had 100+ straight line winds in a squall covering a large area. We called it simply the "4th of July Storm", it was memorable in that it uprooted so many trees in the area, like around 20% of the total:

Link

Wind damage was similar to that of a CAT 1 hurricane.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3171
318. leftyy420
4:20 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
doc the problem with me si that with the pressure what it was 930 u have to assume there are cat4 winds somewhere in the circulation. thye started using 20 percent in styead of the 10 they used since she was a cat 2. if they had used 10 she would have been 130-140 mph
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
317. DocNDswamp
4:17 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Lefty...I for one am glad you have been challenging the NHC's, shall we say, discrepancy problem with the data - something just doesn't equate. But you know what? I'm guessing their own mets are struggling with it as well.

I draw 2 solutions...Either the data is flawed and/or the "sampling" method is....OR, we may be on the threshhold of learning some amazing characteristics of these Cat 5 SuperCanes.

Look at the life history of Rita...man, she truly spun up (almost) out-of-nowhere, steady building with excellent environment right from a td to the 3rd strongest hurricane in Atlantic Basin history (damn, now I'm questioning that!). Naw I'm kidding - Rita really powered up to her maximum potential.

But I think we need to examine what happened after peaking in the EWRC. I'm wondering if these SuperCanes expand their windfield in such a broad manner that, in its future existence, it cannot gather the higher speeds in a usual tight swath back around the eye. So you have a hurricane with a more gradual taper in it's wind profile and much wider ground area with say, what we saw reported 120-130 mph. Possibly the storm needs that low of a pressure to reign it all in.

Dunno...just food for thought.
Doc
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 94 Comments: 4794
316. Califonia
4:03 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
From what I can see, it looks like the industry is expecting to lose about 2/3 of their production of oil and natural gas over the first 10 days, with improvement out to 60 days at which time they are showing recovery.

This is just an estimate at this time.
315. prttyeyez2002
3:57 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
new post out by Dr. Masters
314. leftyy420
3:48 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
also msystery they choose what percent to take off. there should be a scale. anything less than 940 use 10 percent. something like that. the pressure went up 1mb and they started using 20 instead of 10 even though the recon ahd 4kts higher in winds. just anothe rhtough of mine
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
313. leftyy420
3:46 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
mystery i am cooking dinner to. i don't stay here the whole time. i spend more time plotting storms and making local weather obs, and being a stay at home dad. just sayign that i have evidenc and not just some uneducated gues. just so you can see my point. that wind speed is subjective and a bad way to categorise these storms. its also not a true estimator of the actual wind speeds as it takes 4 obs over 6 hrs and than says what the wind speed are. now if we sample evry part of the eye wall every 30 minutes we would have a beetr grasp on these things. thats why we use t-numbers and quicksat sat to help us. now when she was 913 she had a t-number of 6-7 thats why she was 145. when she was 930 she had a t-number of 5.6-6.0, and mostly it was 5.8 thats 130 atleast. and when u look back at all storms u can not find 1, not 1 storm, with a pressure below 940 that has winds of 120. they even mentioned raising the windspeed in one disscussion but never did it. just a point
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
312. Califonia
3:35 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Here's a link where the oil industry gives some current info on the oil situation:

http://www.theoildrum.com/

http://www.theoildrum.com/

(please excuse the code if this doesn't work right - I'm experimenting)

Someone was asking about this a while back - don't know if you still need it.
311. MysteryMeat
3:29 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Yeah you shot me down. I was fixing dinner. You win on account of I don't spend every waking moment of my life on this blog. Take a bow, lefty.
Member Since: September 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 260
310. MysteryMeat
3:28 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
And the discussion from that vortex message said the 125 knot advisory intensity may be generous. It was probably the unusual pressure that kept it at 145 and not lower, since flight level winds were 121 knots, which should support an intensity in the 125 mph range. They estimated winds at 145 because they couldn't reconcile the 913 mb pressure, but they admit that might be a generous estimate.
Member Since: September 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 260
309. leftyy420
3:26 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
i guess i shot down mysterymeat. thanks for playing lol. no i am not a meterologist but i did stay at a holliday in last night lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
308. leftyy420
3:24 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
yeah st, but i fear this is juts a 3-5 day lull. thos temps in the tropics and the carribean are hott. we have awhile to go till its over
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
307. leftyy420
3:23 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
and i am not calling a conspiracy, i am stating that the way we ctagorise them by wind speed and how they pick and choose the wind speed pretty much is subjective. now u see the evedicne i see. also the nhc is stubborn just like i am. i love them but they are stubborn. so if u would like more recons i can provide them for you. be more than happy.
i have just enough of an argument that she was 130-140 at landfall as i do to say she was weaker alot sooner. but i go by pressure for intensity and at 913 yes she is a cat 4 and porbly still a cat 5. but 930 is not a weak cat 3. thats a weak cat 4 and t-numbers of 5.7-6.0 support that
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
305. leftyy420
3:19 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
ok mysterymeat don;t comment. but i got my facts straight. i don;t just watch the storms, i plot them out using every recon. i got most of them and alot oftime they pick and choose how much of the winds mix down based on t-numbers and other factors. she was atleast 130mph based onmy observations and the t-numbers. not making anything up
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
304. leftyy420
3:17 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
comeon maysterymeat. tell me where those flight level winds support 145-160 the nhc claimed. the flight leve winds were the same spedd and higher whn they claimed she was 120mph and 930mb pressure
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
303. leftyy420
3:16 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
thanks doc. what a story man. glad ur alright
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
302. Jedkins
3:15 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Rain wouldn't be quite as intense but still similar to what a hurricane bring when you get an exceptional storm of that nature.
301. leftyy420
3:14 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
i don't make these things up. the way they ctaogorise them by wind speed is ubjective and thats the problem.

infact i just looked and she was a 160 cat 5 with both those recons. lol and u wonder why i was a little flustered wiht the 120 mph they claimed lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
300. Jedkins
3:14 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Yes Probably from those intense squalls with it,but that was an exceptional sytem,there was a reason why it was called a superstorm,because those sytems just can't generate those kind of winds normally,must have been a bit like a hurricane florida.
299. DocNDswamp
3:13 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Hello all. Yeah, typical 1 hr. or so away from landfall... lost power last nite @ 1 am - exact same time it went out for Katrina - 1am...thinking conspiracy by Entergy!

Had a wild ride last nite...got under long feeder band arced from Houma to well past Baton Rouge w/ several embedded T-storms - lightning, loud thunder, transformers blowing, torrential rain, winds sustained at 40-45 mph w/ gusts mostly 55-60 to as high as 65-70 and training effect - another 4.5" from 8:30 to midnite (ST-5.9"). And hell yeah I was out in it in my rainsuit getting the full experience of it all - got my eyes stung good and soaked right thru. Nothing new - did same in Katrina, Andrew, Camille, Betsy and every "lesser" storm - a long list - the tropics have sent this way in my 52 yrs. living in SE LA. Well ok, truth is my parents DID let me go outside when Betsy's eye came over us - a sight to behold - then back inside as those 130mph winds roared back in from the SW.

You bet we haven't seen the worst damage yet...I shudder to think what we'll see from Intracoastal City westward tomorrow w/ aerial surveys.
(copters had difficulty flying near Houma today - still had winds ripping 30-40 w/ gusts near 50 and Rita was by then almost 300 mi. away)
No, won't see MS coast type annihilation, cause immediate coast is marshlands - but populated areas are a few miles above and they must have been blasted. Not to mention the loss of marshland that afforded some protection from storm surge - won't be there for the next one.

LADobeLady - hello neighbor...have to disagree somewhat...structural damage from wind was far worse from Katrina (spent 8 days chainsawing trees) - yet we had no storm surge being on the "clean side" as Lefty refers to it. So yeah, lot worse for southern half Terrebonne w/ Rita. From what I've seen so far surge flooding has been comparable to Lili, maybe as much as Andrew - not sure. Effects are definitely nite/day on which side of storm you get. And of course, distance from eyewall.

Yes, cast my vote as "no confidence" along w/ everyone else regarding the pathetic media and what they choose to cover...and worse, how they portray it...ignorant self serving babbleheads. The real storyline of the Katrina disaster has yet to be accurately told. I'm sure Rita won't be enough to satisfy their bloodlust.




Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 94 Comments: 4794
298. leftyy420
3:12 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
here u go. pressure 914 still a 145 cat 4 maybe even a cat 5, gotta check the dates, but flight level winds still less than what they were yesterday when they claimed she was 120

VORTEX DATA MESSAGE
A. 22/1745Z
B. 25 DEG 34 MIN N
89 DEG 01 MIN W
C. 700 MB 2333 M
D. NA
E. NA
F. 300 DEG 120 KT
G. 200 DEG 08 NM
H. 914 MB
I. 12 C/ 3050 M
J. 21 C/ 3056 M
K. 16 C/ NA
L. OPEN SE
M. C015-50
N. 12345/7
O. 1/1 NM
P. NOAA3 1818A RITA OB 29
MAX FL WIND 125 KT NE QUAD 1754Z
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
297. leftyy420
3:11 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
lol here a good one. pressure of 913mbs, flight level winds of 121kts yet she is a 145mp cat 4


VORTEX DATA MESSAGE
A. 22/20:20:10Z
B. 25 deg 49 min N
089 deg 22 min W
C. NA mb NA m
D. NA kt
E. NA deg nm
F. 221 deg 111 kt
G. 134 deg 010 nm
H. EXTRAP 913 mb
I. 10 C/ 3658 m
J. 16 C/ 3654 m
K. 11 C/ NA
L. CLOSED WALL
M. C17
N. 12345/NA
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF306 WX18A RITA01 OB 05
MAX FL WIND 122 KT NE QUAD 19:19:30 Z
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
296. guygee
3:06 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Jedkins - I can't find much in the way of the records for the claimed 100+ winds for the blizzard of 1978, but here is a link with recorded windspeeds for the Great Storm of 1993:

Link

Here are some recorded winds for that storm:

Recorded Wind Gusts
Mount Washington, NH 144
Franklin County, FL 110
Dry Tortugas, FL 109
Flattop Mountain, NC 101 mph

Even if you disregard the mountain-top readings, still very impressive 100+ winds in mountain-free Florida.

Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3171
295. leftyy420
3:06 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
mystery, maybe u didn't know but they for 3 days only subtracted 10 percent of lfight level wionds to determine surface winds. mainly becaue of her loe pressure. as soon as she strted to weken , or rise in pressure, they started using 20 percent. her flight level winds were the same or slightly less. using 10 percent she would have been 130. next they only sample the eye wall every 3 hours. so u r not getting a proper reading of the flight level winds. her t-number was 5.7-6.0. that equates to 130-145 winds at the surface. so she rose 3 mbs and they started using 20 percent instead of 10. i know casue i plotted every recon for 4 days. i have most recons saved to a file and be glad to post them if u like. u can see hr flight level winds were neevr over 129-135 kts even though they had her at 140 mph. her flight level winds were 129 kts and they bumped her down to 120mph. that is my point. she was still sub 935 and with fluight level winds of 129kts taking 10 percent off would sugest 130 mph at the surface. i don't make these things up. if u had been tracking the cane for 4 days u would have been just as suprised as i was when they dropped her to 120
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
294. Jedkins
3:04 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
But the winds were not as strong there,maybe it's wind core was off shore or somethin.
291. Jedkins
2:58 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Well believe it or not but there was a sper non - tropical low that dumped snow and south texas last winter and gave wind gusts as high as 60 mph here in clearwater,very strange,it was a small system passed through quickly,and it was bitterely cold by florida standerds the next day.
290. Jedkins
2:56 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Well it couldn't have deepend further the strongest winds were in florida and the carolinas and florida had sirious tornado activity with it.
289. MysteryMeat
2:54 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Okay Lefty, how do you justify surface winds stronger than flight-level winds, because that's what you'd need to accept to say Rita was a 4/5 at landfall.
Member Since: September 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 260
288. Dawgfan
2:54 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
If Rita just sits over the same general area for three or four days, and she weakens to a tropical depression and eventually starts to dissipate, when might she lose her eastern feeder bands?
287. Jedkins
2:53 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
That is immpossible unless this world goes into a huge climactic change you will not see winds that high off of a mid - lattidue sytem it is completely silly.That is proof right there and that 980 mb storm being a category 5 that reports before the 80's can and sometimes are completely wrong.
286. Jedkins
2:50 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Well the sperstorm was a super non tropical low,I believe the 95 mph winds because the data was from 93' but I do not believe the 82 mph winds at cleveland.
284. leftyy420
2:44 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
yeah cat i looked at all of them. good stuff
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
280. leftyy420
2:42 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
MysteryMeat

u find any storm over open water with a sub 935 pressure and winds less than 130 i be happy to see it lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
279. guygee
2:41 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
StSimonsIslandGAGuy This site has a really good article on the Great Blizzard of 1978, with a lot of meteorological explanation:
Link

I swear I recall reports of 100+ winds being recorded, but the article says 82 mph gusts in Cleveland.

I guess I getting old, google is my memory now...
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3171
278. Jedkins
2:41 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
I am sory but that 115 mph crap you heard in cleaveland is way out of porportion,the two strongest non - tropical systems were the superstorm of 93 had gusts toped at 80 mph and the great new england blizzard that had supposed gusts to 85 or 90 mph,but data I believe is hard to trust before about 1980 as I said before but 115 mph in cleaveland,where did that come from the MSOT(Meteorological Society of Todlers?)lol siriously that is the sillyest thing I have ever heard unless it was a tornado.
277. MysteryMeat
2:39 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
I was speaking to the paranoia I've seen in the few weeks I've lurked on this blog. I'm sure at this point (10:32 EDT) Rita is, at most, a tropical depression and the HPC will probably take over advisories after the 11 p.m. package.
Member Since: September 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 260
276. CosmicEvents
2:39 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Geraldo looks and sounds like he's been celebrating his survival(hic). Live on FOX.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5618
275. prttyeyez2002
2:39 AM GMT on September 25, 2005
Lefty are there any reports on the oil refineries that got hit or anything? I know we had those links before the hurricane showing where they were..but dont know if they updated them or not.

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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.

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