AT 7 PM CDT...0000Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 28.6 NORTH...LONGITUDE 92.9 WEST...OR ABOUT 95 MILES SOUTHEAST OF SABINE PASS ALONG THE COAST AT THE BORDER BETWEEN TEXAS AND LOUISIANA.
From the NHC on this Dangerous Category Three storm:
THE WEAKENING TREND APPEARS TO HAVE LEVELED OFF. RITA IS STILL FORECAST TO MAKE LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE.
...CORE OF DANGEROUS HURRICANE RITA EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL NEAR DAYBREAK SATURDAY...
AT 4 PM CDT...2100Z...THE HURRICANE WARNING SOUTH OF SARGENT TEXAS HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED TO TROPICAL STORM WARNING. A HURRICANE WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM SARGENT TEXAS TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN ...AND FROM SOUTH OF SARGENT TO PORT ARKANSAS. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM PORT O'CONNOR TEXAS TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN...AND FROM SOUTH OF PORT O'CONNOR TO PORT ARANSAS.
NOAA Three-day Storm Track.
Round up on latest developments below the fold.
UPDATED: Rita expected to FLOOD PORT ARTHUR.
Dopler Radar shows heavy rains approaching Texas:
Heaviest rains have passed New Orleans:
Weather channel shows heavy rains over Lousiana. Local flooding possible.
Airports Bush Intercontinental (IAH) and Hobby (HOU) are CLOSED.
- Rita causing havoc.
- Traffic jams as people flee Rita. Check oil and gasoline before going. Warnings of 100 mile long traffic jams. IH 10 East closed between Thompson and Wade. Traffic information here. Houston traffic is mostly clear
- Chronicle's blog reports some looting
- Evacuees perish in bus explosion.
- New Orleans Flooding again.
- Warnings on donation scams.
- Wall Street feels relief as worst case scenario seems not to materialize. They said the same thing about the Big K too...
- Metro Houston area at risk.
- Airlines cancel flights because of Rita. Travellers should check with airlines.
- Forecasters warn of strong storm surge.
- State of Texas website tells people to... um nothing.
- Concerns about oil infrastructure continue. Gasoline prices expected to increase in Rita's wake, though not by as much as after Katrina, given the weakening of the storm. Up to 30% of US refining capacity is idle.
Weather Underground: Storm warnings along almost all of Texas, and all of Lousiana's Gulf Coast. Flood warnings all the way through Florida's Gulf Coast. Tornado warnings and watches through the areas being hit by Rita, with local vortexes capable of tornado like damage.
NHC warns that tropical storm winds are possible as far north as the Ozarks, as far east as Mobile, and as far west as central Texas. Locally heavy rains and wind can cause power outages and local disruption of electricity and phone service.