STRONG WAVE WITH CLOSED CIRCULATION SOUTH OF JAMAICA BUT TIME MAY BE RUNNING OUT
Latest imagery shows that the strong wave in the Caribbean south of Jamaica does have a low level circulation,
but the convection associated with it has diminished -- more than the typical diurnal cycle would produce.
The intense convection of earlier today has weakened, but this is a typical diurnal variation.
REMNANTS OF RITA HEAD FOR GULF COAST
TROPICAL WAVE CARIBBEAN MAY BECOME DEPRESSION WITHIN NEXT 24 HOURS
AND STORM INTO GULF OF MEXICO BY END OF WEEK
Though still showing only a weak reflection in the mandatory level charts, the remnants of RITA, currently
embedded within a much larger upper level TROF are clearly moving southeast towards the Florida Panhandle
as evidenced on Radar. (see Below)
The GFS shows the system moving into the Gulf and developing some -- but there does not yet seem to be the
type of upper level support it would need to truly re-generate into a tropical storm. However, what isn't in Rita's favor
is quickly becoming in favor for a strong Tropical wave moving fairly quickly through the central Caribbean now,
and is showing some signs of better organization, with some slight but significant surface pressure falls in the
VERY DANGEROUS CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE TO HIT PORT ARTHUR
CATASTROPHIC DAMAGE LIKELY NEAR AND UP TO 30 MILES EAST OF LANDFALL POINT
STORM WINDS EXPAND WHILE INNER MAX WINDS EASE OFF - FOR NOW
GALE FORCE WIND GUSTS ALREADY ALONG SOUTH COAST OF LOUISIANA
AND THE STORM AFTER THE STORM....
RITA EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE
MAJOR THREAT TO COASTAL TEXAS FROM NEAR
PORT O'CONNOR NORTHWARD TO PORT ARTHUR - LANDFALL IN 68 HOURS
The latest RECON reports confirm RITA is now a CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY 5 Hurricane.
Center Pressure is down to 923mb, and MAX sustained winds of 142KTs at Flight level --
implying 155mph surface winds. with gusts to 175mph.
HURRICANE RITA TO REACH CATEGORY 3 WITHIN 6 HOURS
MAJOR THREAT TO UPPER TEXAS COAST INCREASING
CAT 3 AT LANDFALL - POTENTIAL CAT 4 'STORM SURGE'
The latest RECON and Satellite data indicates that Hurricane Rita continues to intensify,
and the eyewall is now closed off.
The following was just recently posted in RIGZONE - an industry oil industry service & information center. The estimate of damage - some 3 times hat of Ivan is exactly what I told my clients was coming last week. Normally, this would have led to $80/bbl oil. But through the magic of having 2 very influential oilmen in the Whitehouse -- about the only really smart thing they did was listen and act immediately to what Oil industry execs told them to do. Had they not waived a number of legal restrictions immediately -- many U.S. cities east of the Rockies would be running out of gasoline completely this week.
The list of completely off-line refineries is Staggering. Another 'moderate storm' could easily push us into a major energy crisis unlike anything seen in our history -- with the economic impact to the national too obvious.
I followed this storm from day one and knew since the Friday before Katrina struck we were facing a monumental storm of historic proportions -- as did most EVERY other Professional forecaster in the country!
DarkSyde helped me post my 'rant' on the extremely poor emergency response to what was the ultimate Disaster in U.S. history - something I try to avoid since it is the 'political' side of my field. But I couldn't NOT say something. DarkSyde's original thread on my behalf speaks for itself.
I will be posting more on the 'science side' of this storm later this week, but for my first DKos Diary entry, I've chosen to discuss what I believe is wrong with the current 'Warning System' which rates the intensity of a storm using the all to familiar 'CAT 1 to CAT 5' designation.