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    23 September 2005

    Rita watch

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    [UPDATE] Rita has hit land and is now a cat 1 hurricane which is great news that it is deteriorating so quickly. It is also moving north quickly which is good for local rainfall total. There isn't much coming out of groundzero but the surge associated with Rita was large and I'd expect that the damage to whatever was around is severe. In addition, there has been no report on the oil rigs in the affected part of the Gulf.

    This could have been a lot worse, let us hope the remainder of the season fizzles.

    The latest is that the weakening trend that took place today is about over and additionally the water beneath Rita has shallowed giving us a now stable storm with chance minor strengthening. This would make it a cat 3 with at least 115 mph winds, but that's in terms of wind. In terms of storm surge, this is a bad cat 4 maybe even a cat 5; much like Katrina. The reason is that these storms act like a giant vacuum, which creates low pressure. This vacuum sucks the water below it into storm surge that follows the storm. Creating that suction takes a lot of work but sustaining this suction doesn't. Therefore the weakening of a storm in terms of wind has only slight effects on the storm surge levels reached at peak intensity. An 18' storm surge on and east of the TX - LA boarder isn't going to be pretty.

    There is some talk about what course the system will take after the storm hits. There is a possibility that it may stall bringing rainfall totals amounting to a foot or more! Or the highly unlikely case where it would drift ESE and back into the Gulf...

    It's funny seeing all these announcements and preparations being made for Rita. C130's for civilian transport and central FEMA command centers... days before the storm! That shows you what a F up Katrina was, and on a broad scale not just FEMA.

    Lake Charles Radar

    This was posted by Geoff and will be updated throughout the weekend.

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