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Keys residents: pack your bags

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:59 AM GMT on September 19, 2005

Florida Keys residents should seriously consider evacuating tonight. While Rita is still a modest tropical storm, I don't like what I see at all from the latest hurricane hunter report. They found a fairly high pressure, 1004 mb, but flight level winds at 5000 feet were already up to 67 knots-- hurricane force--and a 40% complete eyewall has formed. While the odds are considerably against Rita becoming a Category 3 hurricane by the time it moves through the Keys, it is certainly possible. I'd give it a 10% chance of happening, and if I lived in the Keys, I wouldn't risk staying for that 10% chance. The sudden intensification is happening in the face of about 5 - 10 knots of shear, which one can see impacting the SW side of the storm on satellite imagery. The outflow at upper levels is resricted there, but looking VERY impressive on the north side. Rita seems intent on becoming a Category 1 hurricane Monday, and will probably be a Category 1 or 2 hurricane when it moves through the Keys Monday night. The Keys can handle a Category 2 hurricane--barely.

The Keys take a full 72 hours to evacuate, and now that New Orleans has been taken out by Katrina, the Keys represent the number one most vulnerable area in the U.S. for serious loss of life from a hurricane strike. Even though the evacuation order has already been given for visitors and tourists, not everyone will be able to make it out if Rita suddenly intensifies tomorrow to a Category 3 status.

The nighmare scenario is what happened during the Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, which intensified from a tropical storm with 70 mph winds to a Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph winds in just 42 hours as it approached the Keys. Over 400 Keys residents died in the ensuing disaster.

So, if I lived in the Keys, I would start packing my bags now. Hurricane intensity forecasts are not reliable. I would wait until 11:00 tonight and see what the Hurricane Center has to say, and if they also don't like the looks of this storm, I'd hit the road. If you decide not to go, be sure to take another look very early tomorrow morning, after the 5am advisory comes out, and be ready to hit the road early in the morning. Better to be horribly inconvenienced than dead.

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Please listen to Jeff and get out. We're praying for your safe return to intact life.
max mayfied followed by joe bastardi on Geralodo fox news
well I see we might have a Hurricane by 12 midnite or the 5am advisory...
told u guys. cat3 over the keys maybe stronger. those waters are sizziling and rapid itensification is likely
Thanks jldfish.
Good advice from Jeff
Fox News has at the bottom of the screen that the NHC says Rita may strike NO.
Wow, that is quite an update from Dr. Masters. I hope the people in the keys lurking and posting here take him seriously.
all models suggest the keys and it looks likley ehing it is 24-48 hrs out. she will destroy the keys as she heads towards some more destruction in the gulf.
Max Mayfield, then Bastardi, then Lefty.. on fox Gotta love bastardi
Dr Masters, I respect your blogs but boy oh boy I don't like what you just posted. Seems to get scarier and scarier by the minute
Oh yeah if i was in the Keys i would definately get out while they can...not looking good for them...
Fox news has post saying that NHC says NOLA may be hit by TS Rita
StSimonsIslandGAGuy, I wish I had enougen guess of a clue to eveb make a guess. I'm more interested in the the raw data and wild speculation posted on this Blog. You want me to add MY wild and baseless guess to the fray? OK, Cat going on 4 when it striked the keys. Hard right turn into the Gulf. Hits the Texas/Loisianna border at Cat 3
This is one messed up hurricane season. For everyone that is waiting for Nov. 30, don't be fooled. We may have storms into January if this keeps up!
Rita looks like a butterfly now. Makes me think of the butterfly effect causing a hurricane to form when a butterfly flaps its wings.
yeah i dont know why Fox has that on there about NO..Reason s why i hate TV..lol..
Sorry tornado didn't see your post
I think this will be the overkill evacuation storm. You will see evacuation orders from NO west.

With Ophelia, VA governor put a state of emergency in order and the storm barely created any rain let alone wind
I like the raw data also--what I am really looking forward to/hoping for is Dr. Steve Gregory and his analyses of the Gulf of Mexico water temps and heat content--and hoping he posts that soon.
Here's the water vapor loop Link
I'd take horribly inconvenenced
Sebastianjr, that's okay, you're only a day late and a dollar short, since yesterday, I'm 3 days late and 3 dollars short. :)
Well this poses a greater question for another Blog at a later time, Should NO be rebuilt, or can it be rebuilt with this active period of hurricanes?
If anyone has learned anything from Katrin I hope that it's GET OUT. My husband was an avid stay home type of guy. He left for Katrina to humor me and make me feel better. Now he says if anyone sneezes close to us we're leaving.

LEAVE the Keys...

It's not worth it
What's interesting about it though is that NHC at least is speculating on a possible north turn, if they were locked into Texas they wouldn't put that out would they?
Listen to Dr. Masters....and LADobeLady....LEAVE.
Thank God I moved to Nashville from South MS. I also have some family in the Houston area and told them to watch this closely.
Slower the storm, more likely a strike further east. Faster storm further west.
Can New Orleans be rebuilt and safe? Sure if we spend the money to build solid 30 foot levees. Should it be? Well the Dutch do well with 11 million people living below sea level. Can we do it in a few years--if Bush really pushes for it. The impact a major hurricane would have before the levee system was repaired? I don't even want to think about that.
Here is some heat content and ocean water temps...Link
Hookedontropics I take huge offense to your comment on even questioning if New Orleans should be built. Should we rebuild San Fransico when the big one hits? Why not tell the farmers to move when drought destroys their crops time and again? How about we tell all the people in tornado ally to forget it and just move.

There will always be natural disasters that cost billions of dollars and eventually one will top Katrina. There is no safe place to live anywhere in the world that doesn't have some form of natural disaster.
How many hurricanes a year do the Dutch have? I think that is the concern, their environment is a little more controlled. From what I have heard, it could take 10 years to get the levee system to cat 5 plus
Has anyone heard of a schedule, estimate, or guesstimate for how long it will take to repair the New Orleans levee system to the level of protection it had before Katrina (let alone taking it higher)
Natural disasters.. Katrina was a natural disaster to MS, NO was a man made disaster.
NOLA will be rebuilt, I just hope they bring back the wetlands in the plan
does anyone know when the nex recon goes out?
hooked, the extropical storms that affect the dutch bring them huge storm surges and they are hit directly every year. they have ahd storms in the past with 20+ ft storm surges. there levees are designed for 40 storm surges
I live in Key West.....my condo is on the water. I can't leave anytime before late tomorrow when I get my business shuttered up. By that time I would be driving east into deteriorating conditions on a road that is more of a bridge over water at many points.....what is safer.....staying here or being on a highway going 10mph with all kinds of people stuck in cars possible and rising water? My Codo is new...post Andrew construction codes.....and I have lots of Vodka.
Max Mayfield was just on FOX NEWS, GERALDO. Max Mayfield is calling for a Cat 2, possible cat 3 to come through the Florida Keys. Mayfield also strongly stated that the threat to New Orleans has greatly increased with this more wnw coarse. Mayfield also indicated that models are beginning to indicaate that se LA to Houston area are most likely landfall areas. Mayfield stated that the forecast will be adjusted as needed as the models change.
LADobeLady you are a smart and wise lady. I hope when the time comes my husband will be as smart as yours.
Does anyone know how big Rita is? That is, how far do hurricane force winds go out as well as TS winds?
Anyone have the links to the 00Z GFDL track? I cannot pull it up on the site I normally use!! Thanks
I think we have more pressing concerns than the inadequate levee system in NO, but I think it is important to point out, should we spend federal dollars to "sink" money into a "sinking" city, when there may be another cat 3 hurricane at the door in 5 or 6 days? I think that is a fair question. Earthquakes happen, tornados as well, if i do not have a safe cellar or an "earthquake" strenght structure, whose fault is that?
Dr. Masters was right about Katrina. He gave warning well in advance of official evacutions. This storm is developing rapidly.

OMG. This could be worse than Katrina.
.................hello all..................

I'm trying to get a location where all of our blogers live want to then make a directory that I will post on my blog
just looking for city (and maybe location in that city if it is large) and state..no other info needed or wanted..Thanks to all who will participate in this endevor..
tks...please make post on the first thread of my blog.
would like to include all that live outside of the states
also..will be interesting to see how wide spread our blogers are in the world..

please, if you can give the gift of life (blood),please contact your local Red Cross and make an appointment..the pint of blood you give my save 3 lives..and blood is really needed in the gulf coast..they lost their supply
of blood because of Katrina..and donors due to displacement..
Coconutcreek, there are no hurricane force winds yet... Tropical storm forece winds go out 70 miles from the center. this number could increase as she strengthens.
miami they are doing 6 hrly fixes so i would say sometime around 2am as the last recon was at 7pm
keeywester, get the hell out, and make sure you have your insurance papers.
ooz gfdl isn;t out yet is it? i thought it wouldn't be out till like 1:30 am,
Saint, I spend all day on the computer watching satellite loops, reading discussions, etc... I am 100% hurricane nut.

Saint, I don't doubt that some experts/amateurs don't care much for Mayfield or the NHC. I see/hear people trash them all the time. I tend to think they get trashed unfairly many times, but there are legit reasons to criticize them sometimes.

I looked on WFOR's site but couldn't find anything written by Norcross so I still don't know if he agrees or disagrees with the NHC track south of the keys, but at this point I think Rita will track somewhere from the northern keys to the southern Florida straits. That's a big range and I'm not exactly going out on a limb, but I do think the center will not directly hit the soutern part of the Florida peninsula. I also think the BAM models that now take Rita to New Orleans are not right and the storm will likely move in the vicinity of due west across much of the gulf.

With regard to Fox News putting the thing on the screen about Rita hitting New Orleans... I bet the NHC just told them that everyone from Louisiana to south Texas should be prepared in case Rita comes their way, and Fox News decided to turn that into "NHC says New Orleans may get hit by Rita".
Thanks, 79. What I meant was when she hit the keys (assuming she is a hurricane by then), how far would hurricane force winds go out and how far would TS go out.
Lakeworth- I think my husband got the you know what scared out of him when Katrina hit Cat 5. This has deeply affected him on so many personal levels. He was born in New Orleans and moved from there at age 9 to Slidell. He summered at his grandparents house in Gulfport. This really hit him hard.
Actually the North Sea Storms can be very viscious. The one in 1953 had a 952 mb pressure, and caused storm tides of 16-18 feet above normal. Storms in 1099, 1586 and 1704 caused tides higher than the 1953 event, although barometric pressure readings are not available for those storms. And in Jan 1993 a 913 mb storm tracked across the northern edge of the North Sea, and the windfield and the waves it caused gave the Netherlands and the Thames estuary quite a scare. That storm brough sustained winds of 105 kts at sea level to the Shetlands, and winds blew continually over hurricane strength for over 48 hours at some locations. Tidal surges from storms in the Severn estuary between Cornwall and Wales have exceeded 6 meters (20 feet) on several occasions. So yeah, the Dutch do have to worry about powerful storms and surges.
Nope not yet leftyy just checked...
wow keeywester. u need to go to ur buisness now and shutter up and leave. or screew the buisness and leave. u live on the water in a city that is suceptible to storm surge. ur playing with death
wonder how close to 1100edt the next advisory and future track will be released.......i can not goto bed until i see this.. thanks 79, lefty, and -3 for your posts. I really appreciate them.......
I'm in Lake Charles...when should I make my Home Depot run for plywood? We're only about 18 miles from the coast near the Tx border. We're only 13 feet above sea level and there's nothing between us and the coast but a bayou...and it runs north and south!
All forecasters, look at this image from Katrina, before she became a tropical storm. The area I circled, with cloud tops over Florida, bares a vague resemblance to Rita now, as far as interpolating this to upper level steering currents. Link
Was Katrina technically a Cat 4 on landfall? What was the max sustained wind? I thought the max sustained wind was around 110mph?
good old mayfield no to galveston 90w to 95w only about 300miles he makes me sick. hooked what did joe say his post this evening was centered on texas like nhc. ohoh he agreed with nhc i knew i should have been worried mayfields done hexed him wheres stormtop when we need him.
SWLA you have time to watch this one..once it gets closer to the Gulf the models will have a better idea on track..
I have people coming tomorrow morning to put the shutters up....It's way too big for me to do myself....lots of windows. This is all happening way too fast....I mean....we're on key west time here....nothing happens quickly.
SWLAstormfanatic, just remember Audrey
yeah youre probably right about the GFDL. I have been looking at so many things, I lost my timing...LOL
SWLAStormFanatic-I would begin all necessary precautions.
hooked max sustained winds were 145-150 at landfall so techincally a cat 4 but she had a cat 5 sureg
Saint with all due respect..thats 5 days out..thats about the best he could do right now with the model error...
Hooked, they were 145 MPH. Very solid cat. 4.
4 days late and 4 dollars short.
coconutcreek....good question....Keys have already ordered mandatory evac of non-residents....south of Marathon IMO, they kinda wait too long...but, God love 'em...you know how stubborn Keys people are....I will echo your question, how strong (if??) should we expect winds/weather in Broawrd and Dade?
There was a confirmed sustained wind speed of 176 mph, with gust to 192mph recorded at the Slidell, La., Municipal Airport. Katrina will later be upgraded like Andrew to a Cat 5 at landfall.
keywester, u need to leave and forget boarding up. think about those people in the gulf that did not leave. whats the death toll, 800-900. u will just be a number on the tv if u stay. but thats on you. i am telling you that most of us including myself would not be sitting in keywest right now i would have already left as key west can not take a storm surge from a strong cat 2or cat3 and she could be stronger than that
The one thing I don't agree with the NHC about Katrina's intensity was her being a Cat 3 when she hit Mississippi. Does anyone here believe that Cat 3 winds could drive surges to 28-30 feet, higher than ANY ever seen before in the US?
coconutcreek, sorry about that. It is even more difficult to forecast the radius of winds than it is to forecast strength. Once the inner core of Rita becomes more established, then your answer will come easier. Unfortunately, that will not happen until <36 hours before she make2 it to the keys. Although, 70 miles of Tropical storm winds, is a modest size.. Indicative of a larger size in width than Charley...Smaller than Katrina.. But remember, that these fields can change quickly too, with the right environment,
Joe B's Take

First, in regards to Phillippe, I am still not convinced, despite not a model to be found to back me up, that this does not come back west. By next weekend, I really think some kind of storm has to be in the southwest atlantic again, and of course a previous post simply said it would develop, or be Phillippe, and if it was not Phillippe then we would have a Nate/Ophelia situation, but the Nate storm, which would be Phillippe, would be trying to come northwest. My theory, if its going to work, is based on the assumption that the ridge rebuilds near 35 north in the midweek more than the modelling says. Very often the modelling simply likes to handoff the systems in the tropics to the westerlies. Arguing for this is 1) the similarities to the 95 season where we had systems turn quick and 2) the fact Phillippe is fast becoming quite a storm. Arguing for me is previous model performance, most recently with the eastward forecast of Ophelia when it was in the bahamas and Jeanne of last year. But time will tell if the more west path can develop once Phillippe gets to 20 north. As it is, the islands escape the wrath of this system.

There will be no escaping Rita, she is going to nail someone. First of all I feel this storm will get to 940 mb in the gulf, or lower, so lets get that out of the way. While being guilty of overdoing Irene and Ophelia pressure ideas, I have not missed yet in the gulf with Dennis, Emily, Katrina as to what they became. That this is heading for the gulf hot spot, perhaps even the virgin water north of 25, west of 92.5, should be a very very disturbing fact.

main points about Rita: The initial recon was not where the storm was developing and it is forming some 40-50 miles north in the main rotation. A very common practice in embryonic storms, one we see with Pacific typhoons often. 2) I think this is going to be a hurricane by the time it reaches 85 west and probably before, so hurricane conditions are a good bet in the Florida Keys, and perhaps into southeast Florida should the storm come more north or intensify more, both pretty likely events. I think it runs between 23 north and 24 north as it passes Florida, 3) The speed of the storm in the gulf will be crucial. The slower it goes the further north the threat on the Texas coast. Right now my "analog window" has the track of Celia on the north ( Corpus, 1970) and Inez on the south (Tampico 1966) But its still 5-6 days away. Recall with Emily we used Gilbert on the south and Allen on the north and it got there, but that was 3 days out.

The problem we have here is this. If the storm is in a certain position and movement given the powerful ridge in front of it, what happens when the ridge breaks down and migrates northeast. Well you see what is going on with Phillippe at 15 north. Well the same thing can happen with Rita in the end game, that it is moving northwest when it finally hits. Now if it heads so far southwest it can turn enough, then it hits Mexico. But I cant disagree with the TPC idea now on position, though I am much stronger with the storm than them, at least 115kts at the last step, and so that position with a northwest move hits Texas.

The implications of even slower and more north are even worse. For its one thing to hit Kenedy the cow pasture county in south Texas or Laguna Madre in northeast Mexico, another to hit the valley, or with the refugee situation, further up the coast toward Houston. But again barring any touch of land, I think this storm will get as strong as Emily and Dennis did ( 4s). Lets remember in 2002, one of the analogs I used for September, two sub 940 mb storms did get into the gulf, Isadore and Lili.
Can't remember Audrey...way before my time. But my mother describes the stinch of the bodies they brought up to Lake Charles from Cameron. That made an impression on me.

My wife just asked an interesting question. What happens to the thousands of evacuees we are housing here in LC if and when they order an evac here?
GetReal, where did you get that info?
Well the same question can be posed for Ophelia, it was barely a Cat1 and had 12ft surge in some areas of the bays..

Where was the highest sustained wind recorded in Katrina?
hawk thats what i believe i told my wife might be a treat to our area ater katrina i should have known better now shes upset
by the way hawk god bless all the folks from midwest down here helping us along with everybody else and for us older folks who have seen camille freddy betsy elena george and that hussy katrina wish this thing sw to mexico sorry for them but fla to se la enough is enough.
ccf where you located south broward?
billsfan, first of all, sorry about your game outcome, I was at that game today, hottest day I have spent outside in a while. Second, you can expect tropical storm force winds with soemdecent squally weather. That can change of course with a change in track, but with the scenario that seems to be unfolding, hope for the best for the folks to your South.
I just have to put my 2 cents in about New Orleans. Of course, NO will be rebuilt but the question is...who will move back? Of course there will be plenty of people to move back in but THEN who's fault will it be if another hurricane knocks on their door?

I don't have a problem with spending money to rebuild this city because YOU GOTTA LOVE IT! It was a great place BUT I cannot stand to hear people complaining about the GOVERNMENT not protecting them. EVERYBODY that lives/lived in N.O. KNEW the threat just like all the people in California know about the quakes! So...live there at your own risk and quit whining about protection. We can only rely on ourselves so "wear your own protection" if you know what I mean.
Well said LAlady
Slidell mayor, Ben Morris, reported this reading to the local media. I believe the local NWS office for NOLA, located in Slidell also confirmed this wind speed.
I think Bastardi is the last person on the planet still calling the hurricane victims refugees.
Wunderground is now calling Philippe a Hurricane
What kills me is FEMA putting people in trailer park cities--I mean come on trailers fly apart even with strong cat 1 winds. They gotta put people in better housing than trailers!

If Rita decided to do a double whammy to New Orleans the way Frances and Jeanne did to Sebastian inlet FL, I wonder how many New Orleans residents would say to hell with it and just relocate elsewhere. If you believe the news, quite a few feel that way already.
st simons i live 8miles north of biloxi went through camille freddy elena georges and katrina was worse than camille the day of the storm the hurricane was 90 miles north of coast at hattiesburg with 125mph winds stiill a cat 3please central ms has worse damage than all the 2 and 3"s that hit nc coast. been to wilminton to see niece after several of them every body that has came here to help that went through hugo andrew ivan and charly and us with camille said this was far worse. and this rita could be its twin gulf is 90 degrees at the biloxi harbor or whats left of it.

I'm in Lake Charles...when should I make my Home Depot run for plywood? We're only about 18 miles from the coast near the Tx border. We're only 13 feet above sea level and there's nothing between us and the coast but a bayou...and it runs north and south!

With a storm surge...I wonder if plywood would even matter? My friend's house in Waveland,MS had a 30 foot surge and believe me..."ain't" no plywood strong enough to stand up to that. It twisted metal beams like taffy!
robb casue it is. i posted the recon from philippe an hour ago and it made it a hurricane. so itwill be one in 15 mins
As a tax payer, we all should be concerned about another NO hit, especially when it will take time to rebuild, and that is something that we may not have.
nice sat. to see steering currents...Link
Sainthurricanefan, I think that Katrina was still a 4 when it hit Mississippi. If Rita hit y'all with similar force to Katrina, how many people in your area do you think would say to hell with it and permenantly leave?
URNT12 KNHC 190228
A. 19/02:13:30Z
B. 16 deg 26 min N
055 deg 50 min W
C. 700 mb 3055 m
D. NA kt
E. NA deg nm
F. 066 deg 058 kt
G. 313 deg 009 nm
H. EXTRAP 995 mb
I. 10 C/ 3042 m
J. 16 C/ 3047 m
K. 7 C/ NA
M. C20
N. 12345/ 7
O. 0.02 / 2 nm
P. AF309 0317A PHILIPPE OB 09
MAX FL WIND 83 KT NE QUAD 00:28:00 Z
sounds logical Ftlauderdalepunk

Hurricane Philippe : Tracking map | 5-day forecast map | Historical map | Computer model map | Public advisory | Marine advisory | Discussion | Satellite map | Strike probability map | Wind map | Coordinates

Hurricane Philippe Advisory Number 7

Statement as of 11:00 PM EDT on September 18, 2005
...Philippe strengthens into a hurricane...

At 11 PM EDT...0300z...the center of Hurricane Philippe was located near latitude 16.5 north... longitude 55.9 west or about 390 miles... 630 km... east of the Leeward Islands.

Philippe is moving toward the north-northwest near 8 mph ...13 km/hr...and this motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.

Reports from an Air Force Reserve unit reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph...120 km/hr...with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 15 miles... 30 km... from the center...and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 80 miles...130 km.

Estimated minimum central pressure is 987 mb...29.15 inches.

Repeating the 11 PM EDT position...16.5 N... 55.9 W. Movement toward...north-northwest near 8 mph. Maximum sustained winds... 75 mph. Minimum central pressure... 987 mb.

The next advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 5 am EDT.

Forecaster Pasch

well it had to be a cane. pressure of 988 temp differenc of 7 degres in and out of the eye. closed eye wall, flight level winds of 67kts on ther forst pass.

Tropical Storm Rita : Tracking map | 5-day forecast map | Historical map | Computer model map | Public advisory | Marine advisory | Discussion | Satellite map | Strike probability map | Wind map | Coordinates

Tropical Storm Rita Advisory Number 5

Statement as of 11:00 PM EDT on September 18, 2005
...Rita moving closer to the southeastern Bahamas... ...New watches and warnings issued for southern Florida...

at 11 PM EDT...0300z... the Hurricane Watch for the Florida Keys has been upgraded to a Hurricane Warning. A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for all of the Florida Keys and Florida Bay from Ocean Reef southward and westward to Dry Tortugas.

At 11 PM EDT... the tropical storm watch for the extreme southeastern Florida Peninsula has been upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning and a Hurricane Watch. A Tropical Storm Warning and a Hurricane Watch are now in effect from Deerfield Beach southward to Florida City and continuing westward to East Cape Sable.

A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for the provinces of Villa Clara...Matanzas...Ciudad de Habana...la Habana...and Pinar del Rio...and a tropical storm watch for the provinces of Ciego de Avila...Sancti Spiritus...and Cienfuegos.

A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for the northwest Bahamas. A Hurricane Warning is recommended for the northwest Bahamas... excluding Grand Bahama and Abaco Island.

A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands...and for the southeast and central Bahamas.

At 11 PM EDT... a tropical storm watch has been issued for the extreme southwestern Florida Peninsula from west of East Cape Sable westward to Chokoloskee.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area...generally within 36 hours. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area...generally within 36 hours.

For storm information specific to your area...including possible inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.

At 11 PM EDT...0300z...the center of Tropical Storm Rita was located near latitude 22.9 north... longitude 73.3 west or about 295 miles... 480 km... east-southeast of Nassau.

Rita is moving toward the west-northwest near 10 mph...17 km/hr. A general west-northwest to westward motion is expected to occur for the next a 24 hours. On this track...Rita will be moving over the southeast and central Bahamas tonight and Monday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph... 85 km/hr...with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours... and Rita could become a category one hurricane by late Monday.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 70 miles ...110 km... mainly north through east of the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1002 mb...29.59 inches.

Rita is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 6 inches over much of the turks and caicos and the southeast and central Bahamas...with possible isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches. Storm totals of 6 to 10 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches will be possible in the Florida Keys...with 3 to 5 inches possible across the southern Florida Peninsula.

Storm surge flooding of 6 to 8 feet above normal tide levels along with large and dangerous battering waves...can be expected near in the Florida Keys. Coastal storm surge flooding of 3 to 5 feet will be possible along the extreme southeastern Florida coast...and in the northwest Bahamas.

Repeating the 11 PM EDT position...22.9 N... 73.3 W. Movement toward...west-northwest near 10 mph. Maximum sustained winds... 50 mph. Minimum central pressure...1002 mb.

An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 2 am EDT followed by the next complete advisory at 5 am EDT.

Forecaster Stewart


Keeywester said:

I live in Key West.....my condo is on the water. I can't leave anytime before late tomorrow when I get my business shuttered up. By that time I would be driving east into deteriorating conditions on a road that is more of a bridge over water at many points.....what is safer.....staying here or being on a highway going 10mph with all kinds of people stuck in cars possible and rising water? My Codo is new...post Andrew construction codes.....and I have lots of Vodka.

If you are determined to stay until tomorrow afternoon, it's probably a good idea to stay off the roads. Ride it out at home in a reasonable shelter. The dice are in your favor, the odds of your particular location getting a storm surge or winds bad enough to kill you are probably in the 1% range. Just keep your life jacket handy next to your vodka bottle.

Jeff Masters
In case anyone is interested in trivia,
the name Rita is Greek & means 'pearl'...
Remember Rita Hayworth & Rita Moreno! HOT
cosmic for us that are here in katrina ville victims refugees thats what we call him does not bother us think joes right on gave 24hrs to prepare for katrina with his adjusted path before
njokec switched 180 reversal looks like thier up to thier same old tricks not being mean but before you comment on somebody walk in thier shoes.
Pressure went up 7mb since last vortex message.
Dr. Masters, it is an honor..
cane that was an etrapulation, meaning estimated and not accurate by any long shot
Sorry, Sebastian. I stepped away for a bit.

Coconut Creek is at 26.25n and 80.18 w. I live on the north end of the city -- 7 miles due west of Hillsboro Beach. I'm about 1 mile south of the palm beach county line.
Dr. Masters, What is the likely time frame for Rita?
Hawk.......appreciate your insightful posts.....you won't find ANYHING on WFOR's website...I sent them an email on 8/18 about the "possibilty of td 10 remnants reforming into Katrina".... they blew it off......if you want, I the saved email send me a private email if you want a copy...just my opinion they just parrot what NHC says............ Bryan Norcross is one of the only ones who will beg to differ....we'll see at 11 PM
simon they rebuilt after camille thier at it again now and would do it agan the new folks i cant tell you, but the life long residents want give up but beachfront might be history due to whats going to happen with flood insurance.
Dr Masters,
What are the chances of Corpus getting Rita?
Well, Billsfan. Looks like we have a hurricane watch.
and ftl remebr the erro is 20kts or a full category
CCF seems like you are ok, from anything major unless it really goes north of what they're saying, probably less than you got from Katrina, whatever that was for you, we just got a little wind and showers
Steve Gregory in his blog says he doesn't think that the water in the Gulf could sustain a Cat 4 for a long period of time. He seems quite bullish on Rita becoming a 3 however.
Dr Masters, do you have any insight on what a storm surge would do to SWLA. Lake Charles is approx 20 miles inland, and 13 above sea level.
wunderground moved the track farther to the north now going over nassau and key west
Obviously Rita is the primary storm to be worried about. This storm is going into some very juicy conditions and is already near susceptible areas. Still, I can't just disgard Phillipe yet. Looking at the water vaporloop, it looks like the high ridge over the US is expanding out to sea. It may expand enough out to take Phillipe into Eastern US. It looks like timing will be a big issue. It also appears that Phillipe is moving moving closer to NW then NNW. This going to be a big storm. This not really a forecast but a warning, it could be possible for the US to be hit in two different regions by major hurricanes at nearly the same time about 5-7 days from now.
Seems to me that the atmospheric conditions right now are very similar to the conditions that were in place when Katrina was in this very similar position. Scary, isn't it? I live in Hattiesburg, MS and I can assure you that it's scary.
Where would Cantore go?
LOL Weatherwannabe hopefully not here!

sainthurrifan....if you're a US citizen and you don't mind being called a refugee, that's fine. It would bother me. I think it's insulting, derogatory, and prejudiced.
Cantore? First real arguement agains't human cloning. : ) Seems like people are doomed if he is near a cane. They always make land fall near his presence. I'm surprised he is not banned from coastal cities.
Thanks Jeff for your comments. This is certainly kind of a scarry situation and it is all happening way too fast. My Condo appears to be really well built and I am on the third (top floor)floor. My car probably won't do too well as the parking deck on the ground level is 15 feet from the water and only 2 feet above sea level. My Condo also faces northwest so the brunt of the wind will be from the southeast to south. I will keep my life jacket handy however.
Man, I just checked the tropics....I hate to see all of this. Is anyone talking about a LA/MS track in the near future?
Headline "Cantore makes hotel reservations in New Orleans--city panics!"
philippe is rapidly intensifying. thats why there is so much lightning. he will be a cat 3 by tomm afternoon for sure.

i amnot sure if they are sending buit should be sending a recon to rita. if not a 2 am it would not be till 6am
I can tell you from 3 week old experience! Get Out! I will never stay again!
I'm a citizen...but I guess I'm not PC. I always thought refugee meant somebody seeking refuge.
Pasc, almost all the guidance takes Rita well to the west of MS and Nola--but......you never know!
Refugee \Ref`u*gee"\ (r?f`?*j?"), n. [F. r['e]fugi['e], fr. se
r['e]fugier to take refuge. See Refuge, n.]
1. One who flees to a shelter, or place of safety.
[1913 Webster]
I know we could not take another storm!
136. OBXER
Sorry Wannabe i was just pissed off and lol yeah my degree and a dollar wont get me a cup of coffee
Well shoot its looking like I might need to find shelter again. Living in Mobile home in Dania Beach. Already have roof and ceiling damage from her big sis Kat.
Now my mothers name is Rita and she always said to me whenever Rita forms she'll be a nasty bi+ch. She also said it will be a Florida storm, and this was 3 monthes ago before the season started. LoL! Mom I love you... Please models stop forming a more northward movement......
We are still in shock from Katrina.
sub, Yeah this age of political correctness. It amazing we can convey our feeling or even have functioanal conversations.
prejudice??? so class prejudice or race prejudice.. come on...
Hooked, well said. Prejudice is what it is.
this is not a katrina blog...the new advisory just came out...lefty any thoughts?
CHAT ROOM is up and running...take a look! (enter under tropics)
This quit being a blog a long time ago--it is a community now.
Was it just me or was that 11 Pm Discussion Harder to figure out than usual, seems like thay are trying to cover all their bases without really saying anything difinitive.
same thing as befor. cat3 over the keys
The models are spreading out again. GFDL and UK take Rita to Texas, BAMD and BAMM take her to NO, and A98E and LBAR to the east coast of Florida. Obviously, the entire gulf coast from Texas to Florida needs to watch Rita closely.

miami I hope you appreciate that feelings are running high in issues right now. These will pan out, it is a learning experience for just about everyone. Considering where your at, I hope that these feeling won't be heading your way next.

We have been steadily blogging on Rita and keeping Phillipe in mind.
UFGA- I agree
I just watched both the cbs (norcross) and the nbc 6 coverage. I found it interesting that the nbc coverage just mentioned the TS warning for dade/broward while our buddy norcross said hurricane watch.
To Keewester (wants to wait until late tomorrow so the business can be boarded up) and others considering leaving:

Pilots, who are often faced with go/no go weather decisions, have a saying:

It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than to be in the air wishing you were on the ground.

Picture the following 3 scenarios:

1. You are in a motel inland somewhere and a) the storm went around and didn't hit the keys, or b) it hit the keys and you have sustained some business losses because you didn't board up.

2. You stayed, the storm surge has collapsed your condo and you are being swept out to sea with 120 mph blowing debris into your head and you know you are dead.

But your business is boarded up.

3. You boarded up the business and on the drive out your car has just been washed over the bridge and you are upside down underwater with maybe 3 minutes of air remaining.

But your business is boarded up.
Prayers for all - I'm sure no one needs this storm. Hopefully it will not strengthen greatly.
hey pascagoula vancleave here coast is a mess these guys on here just dont know unless they are here do they. pascagoula i dont know about you but all these folks homeless down here are refugees fromm somebody down here what you think.
I know they say that you have higher winds the higher in a building you are. Does keywesters 3rd floor condo fall under this?
califonia. Wow. Very nicely said.
California your right, anybody in the keys SHOULD GET OUT. Material goods are only good if you are alive.
Keywester. That's what insurance is for. On the news they said the roads were pretty empty tonight. I suspect they are going to be a mess tomorrow.
weatherwonderer, the 11pm discussion on phillipe was pretty boring, read like they werent to sure about the ridge after the next 3 days or so. Maybe its just me, but I think we have to keep our eyes on it as well.
miami you ought to know better people that went through katrina and are fascinated by tropis are going to talk about it kind of like when andrew hitsfla dont think hey forgot after 3wks?
Exactly, Phillipe doesn't look like it is completely behaving the way it should. It looks like it moving more NW than NNW. Check out the RAMDIS water vapor loop. The ridge may move far enough East to bring it into the Eastern seaboard.

pretty cool website. take a look at all models on rita...
From what I have been seeing and from what the NHC stated in its discussion about Rita, there will be some important model tracks coming out in the next 2 hours....GFA at midnight, and GFDL at 1:45AM
sorry, GFS
weatherwonderer , I think your right , looks like the track will probably shift more wnw as it gets closer to 20n if the ridge build east, which it looks like it is doing. Iam however an amateur and rely on others like Lefty,79, and others for their experience.
the models have really spread out over the dayand the track has shifted north...with the current trend i do not know why they have not cancelled schools yet in miami...the weather is going to go downhill in the afternoon tomorrow and kids will be in school...lefty have you shifted your track further north and do u think that schools should be cancelled?
I too am an amatuer, I had a couple of meterology classes in college but that was a while ago.
Hurricaner4me, I would like to see that map once the 00Z runs come out on the GFDL, GFS and UKMET. Either we are seeing a Northward trend, or just a fluke. Those new models will help clear up the uncertainty
what are the thoughts about the high over the gulf coast? will it hold or move out?
no schools should not be cancelled and i have not shifted my track. once again the track shifted due to the cenetr reforming nothing else. the model spreads are not with the major modles thru 72 hrs. she will move thru the keys as a cat3
I'm in Destin. Our local paper this am had an article about the flooding here should an 18 ft. storm surge hit us (kat was 25?) My house, one mile inland, would be flooded. I am now taking inventory of all of the contents in my home, and yesterday started pulling together all the precious items I'de like to take as well as the papers necessary should a storm like that hit us. This is a very sobering time. I have never felt this vunerable. But, life goes on and you have to be prepared and go when the time comes. It's a fact when you live on the coast. The people to my west are in devastation and I feel for them. It could have been me and it still could be me. Well, having said that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
As we approach the blackout period, the blob of convection near/over the surface center of Rita is withering fast. Maybe this is just something that will last for only a couple hours and another blob will blow up overnight, or maybe that intense blob well east of the center is sucking up all the juice from the southeasterly inflow and it will take a bit longer for more deep convection to blow up over the center.

billsfan, thanks for the offer
Listen I was not going to wait untill it got to close for me to get ready for another one here so I already fueled up both trucks got my gas in cans and batteries...

Now I'm not saying it is going to hit here but you never know what they will do untill they hit land... on that note I say I'm ready...
i do not want to be up and down but could this be a cat 5
Good for you Taco...hope everyone who is a possible landfall area is ready or leaving.
You are wise Taco.
hey with all do respect I will not stay for any more...
When everyone gets a chance they need to check out the new Tropics Chat room it is much more User Freindly than this blog.
New GFS is about the same at 48 hours out as it was earlier. However, the GFS is also taking Rita close to the Cuba Coast before moving WNW near Key West. So I am not sure to completely trust the GFS in the short term (<48 hours). The long term track with the GFS seems okay though.
8888888 Steve Gregory said in his blog that the water temps and heat content in the Gulf of Mexico will have a hard time supporting a Cat 4, let alone a 5. And he really *IS* an expert in these things.
Man what a day...and what a season. I just got home from work and while there read a wire. If the season were to end today. It would be the 4th busiest on record! And we still officially have > 2 months left. Holy ****
182. iyou
New blog folks! Conditions are somewhat altered...
how do I get to the chat room? I don't wee it anywhere
Is it just me or does it look like the center is reforming to the southeast of where it was?
Can you say consensus...
Dr.Jeff Masters posted again....more elaborate...take a look....
So TVwxman, what's your take on the final destination of Rita?
To get to the new chat room, click on blogs at the top of this page then click on the box that says new feature Community Chat rooms on the upper right hand side of the next page then select tropics chat.
Ultimately? It's so hard to tell. But if I were in Houston and anywhere south, I would be preparing for a major hurricane in 5 days.
I gotta believe that the high pressure will keep it away from from the n gulf coast.
hurricane79.......I tried to send you an email don't know if you received.....gotta run now....maybe a LONG day tomorrow..not that today wasn't
..............Hello All.............

I'm trying to get a location where all of our blogers live want to then make a directory that I will post on my blog
just looking for city (and maybe location in that city if it is large) and state..no other info needed or wanted..Thanks to all who will participate in this endevor..
tks...please make post on the first thread of my blog.
would like to include all that live outside of the states
also..will be interesting to see how wide spread our blogers are in the world..

please, if you can give the gift of life (blood),please contact your local Red Cross and make an appointment..the pint of blood you give my save 3 lives..and blood is really needed in the gulf coast..they lost their supply
of blood because of Katrina..and donors due to displacement..
Coconut..they finally woke up, I think they delay us so the Keys visitors can get out first....any problems with gas shortages your way? dang, my Publix just got restocked
whitewabit - i am in Lafayette, LA, last hurricane to hit here was Lili in 2002. So BAMM is not accurate unless the storm is shallow? How do you determine if a storm is shallow? By the shallow water it travels in? or the deepness of the storm? I wish I understood more how they determine where these storms go, i know that the ridges and the fronts affect it. I looked at the Katrina models and they were way off until the storm was clear in the gulf. So I guess SWLA is still not in the clear.

Why isn't "We don't know where it's going in 5 days, just stayed tuned" a more refined, acceptable response instead of knee-jerking to "OMFG it's going to hit NOLA!@#$!@#"
Is it just me or are we now blocked from saving the animated gifs from the radar images at Wunderground? I used to be able to right click them and save them. Sure wish I could do that with the Key West loops.