CHASING RITA

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MClarkson

EF5
Sep 2, 2004
891
27
11
Blacksburg, VA
Originally posted by David Dildine
To buy myself so'more time, I'm now on a flight which arrives in Houston around 11am. Anyone think this is cutting it too close?
I think you might be. Look at it from an airlines perspective. TS strength winds could be starting about that time in houston. What if they put the plane in, the weather gets bad, and its stuck there. Would you put a 50-100 million dollar plane into that for a few 10s of thousands in revenue?
 

Jay Cazel

EF4
Jul 5, 2004
311
0
5
52
Wichita, Ks
Visit site
Originally posted by David Dildine
Bah, I meant Dallas, not Houston. What... it's only a 4 hour drive from DFW to Houston, right?

Houston is officially CLOSED, the last two Southwest flights were cancelled at 8 PM.
Well they opened up I-45 both ways north up by the Woodlands, so it might take longer to get to Houston. My bro-in-law said he has never seen the roads so empty in Houston. Just make sure you get gas in Dallas, there is really no gas left in Houston.
 

timmarshall

NEW TARGET: Beaumont-Port Arthur

UPDATED TARGET: Beaumont, TX Time of Departure: FRIDAY 7 a.m. What a change in 24 hours, eh. Now it looks like Houston is spared. The high is moving off quicker than I thought. But, as expected, the water vapor loop on satellite shows killer dry air is being drawn southward over the western Gulf and being ingested into the west side of the circulation. The latest satellite loop (IR) shows definite erosion of the west side of this hurricane. If this continues, it will eat away through the southwest eyewall before landfall and kill the winds again -just like in Katrina and Ivan. Just got the latest NHC update, and winds dropped 25 KTS. Yikes.

NWS HOU, sent me an inundation map of the southeast Texas coast. It basically shows that almost all of the area in Jefferson County, south of I-10 goes underwater in a CAT 4 hurricane including the city of Port Arthur. So, I may stay away from that town. According to another colleague, there are parking garages in Beaumont. So, I'll scout them out tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I am thinking of taking Rt. 175 SE down to Rt. 69 south. Please let me know of any traffic snarls or contraflow. I've 25 gallons of extra fuel. Thanks TM
 
Tim,

The latest jog to the West and even West-Southwest keeps Galveston/Houston, TX as a landfall favorite for me. Maybe it's that I like to be consistent until some convincing evidence/modeling comes along. But given the jog...I am not sure the models have a good handle yet. The 00z ETA just arrived and brings it onshore exactly at this location. At least the ETA has come back to earth on a track. Of interest is that the model stalls Rita along the coast or slightly inland for like 36-48 + hours. Imagine how devastating that would be if it did that in the place I think landfall will be (or anywhere else on the coast)!!!
 

Rob_Davis

Originally posted by David Dildine
I'm going to bring an extra 6-gallon can on the plane with me too. You get two carry-ons.
Haha! I have five bucks that says TSA won't allow it. :lol:
 
Dec 6, 2003
709
0
0
Brookshire, TX
Originally posted by HAltschule
Tim,

The latest jog to the West and even West-Southwest keeps Galveston/Houston, TX as a landfall favorite for me. Maybe it's that I like to be consistent until some convincing evidence/modeling comes along. But given the jog...I am not sure the models have a good handle yet. The 00z ETA just arrived and brings it onshore exactly at this location. At least the ETA has come back to earth on a track. Of interest is that the model stalls Rita along the coast or slightly inland for like 36-48 + hours. Imagine how devastating that would be if it did that in the place I think landfall will be (or anywhere else on the coast)!!!
I am thinking like you, Howie. Watching the radar(s), seems to me that the wobble is more than just a wobble. Time will tell, but I still think Galveston seawall may have met its match. Many down here went to say goodbye to the island city yesterday. No Mardi Gras at Galveston this year either, possibly.
Crystal Beach is my favorite place to to camp (Bolivar peninsula) and I am sure my favorite spot at the Holiday beach access will no longer be there. :cry:

On TV, they showed an eddy of warm water that Rita is about to enter. Should help her get some strength back before hitting the shallower waters off the coast. Kind of like a shot of espresso give her some momentum. :wink:
 
Just a tidbit about Galveston: During the great 1900 storm the city was on the *west* side of the storm.

Before dawn September 8, the water crept ashore and kept rising, despite strengthening north winds that should have repelled the storm.

By now, Cline was worried. \"Unusually heavy swells from the southeast. ... Such high water with opposing winds never observed previously,\" he wrote in a telegram to the bureau's headquarters in Washington....

Water continued to rise until the whole island was submerged by 3 p.m. and by midnight waves 15 high tore buildings apart with contemptuous ease. Cline's own home, battered by the waves and heavy debris, eventually collapsed.

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WEATHER/09/07...nder/index.html
 

Anonymous

Is it just me or does the latest IR it look like the central core is loosing it's
punch?

Mike
 

MClarkson

EF5
Sep 2, 2004
891
27
11
Blacksburg, VA
heights have increased about 30m since the last reading of 919, so perhaps the pressure is up another mb or 2. Also the eye still shows a low temperature and saturation. Not very organized in there.

EDIT: dropsonde 921.
 

Anonymous

The 5:00 GMT IR image is up now and Rita looks like she's pulling in some dry air. Looks a bit disorganized now
 
Dec 9, 2003
4,840
119
11
Oklahoma
I would wait until the ERC cycle entirely complete before drawing too many conclusions on strength. Hurricanes really tend to weaken through the cycle, which is what we've seen most of today. The past few VORTEX messages have noted that the inner eyewall is becoming ragged, and the last few satellite images support this, as the inner eye is becoming elongated and cloud tops are warming significantly between in and the outer eyewall. Just as a note, I've never seen new GOES images during the scheduled eclipse. The resolution has been signficantly degraded, but I assume this is a reduced bandwidth issue. I still expect reintensification of Rita to <910mb when the inner eyewall completely erodes and the outer eyewall begins to contract. We're going into hour 18 I think for the current ERC, which seems to be relatively normal. The warming of the inner-core cloud tops in the western part of the storm is interesting however. I'd think that if it were cause by the dry air, we would see that strong band now nearing Houston begin to evaporate. However, this isn't happening, and latest IR indicates that cloud tops in this band are actually cooling. Then again, water vapor is only an indicator of mid and upper level moisture, though surface maps indicate low-70 Tds in southern LA currently (less in TX).
 

Anonymous

check out the soundings around texas and Lake Charles, LA. Lots of dry air at 700.
 
Dec 9, 2003
4,840
119
11
Oklahoma
Originally posted by Anonymous
check out the soundings around texas and Lake Charles, LA. Lots of dry air at 700.
Yes, but remember that the storm itself is causing subsidence on the periphery of the circulation. This happens with almost every hurricane. But yes, I agree that there the mid levels are quite dry over TX.
 
Dec 6, 2003
709
0
0
Brookshire, TX
They are saying that Rita is too big to be too affected by the dry air, she will simply over ride it and saturate the area. No link, said on TV (Anthony Yanez, KPRC met).

Interesting enough, those mets I have seen on TV are fast to show the projected path, and say it can easily go ashore farther west again, but no mention of Rita going more east. Hmmm....

Now, they are talking about it stalling or retrograding down the coast (ala Allison). I have seen that potential for hours, they are just admitting to this scenario. :roll:
 

cdcollura

EF5
Jun 12, 2004
1,392
141
11
49
Sunrise, Florida
www.sky-chaser.com
Weakening Factors and Chasing Rita

Happy Friday everyone,

I will not be chasing this one as I already intercepted her as she side-swiped the lower FL keys and I am rather burned out right not chasing so many hurricanes in one year!

Remember when we would chase one hurricane every other YEAR or so?

Now its chasing a hurricane every other WEEK or so!

One thing to consider about the intensity, since I see this happen in MANY landfalling Gulf storms. They almost always weaken just prior to landfall, especially the upper category storms (Cat3 and higher). Hurricanes Lili, Ivan, Dennis, even Katrina all did this to some extent.

What usually happens is that the west side of the storm pulls in dry air from the "continental" air mass, and causes evaporative cooling which erodes the western eyewall of the system. This allows weakening to occur, even when vertical wind shear is no where to be found.

Also, the Gulf coast has a long and sloping continental shelf, go 30 miles offshore, and the water is only 20 feet deep in some places! The bedrock and sand BELOW the water column does not contribute much heat to the water above it since it is on average 50 to 60 degrees (like in a cavern). Only the shallow water has the heat content to fuel the storm.

In practice, a 78.8 degree F SST with a depth of at LEAST 100-200 feet is necessary to fuel a hurricane. Shallow water easily has its heat content "used up" and weakening may ensue.

Eyewall replacement is where an outer eyewall develops around the original "inner" eyewall and chokes off its inflow causing the inner eyewall to dissapate and the outer eyewall becoming the dominant main eyewall there after. The main final eyewall is wider, and like a spinning skater slowing down putting her arms out, has a lower windspeed. Excessive eyewall replacement can weaken a hurricane from Cat4 to Cat2 (remember Lili in October 2002)?

Lastly, there is usually more vertical wind shear over the central USA (that's why we chase there in the spring)! "Shear" is a favorite word for supercells and tornado formation - But NOT for tropical systems. A measly 30 knot wind at 500 mb can destroy a hurricane. The thunderstorms in a hurricane MUST remain OVER the surface low (called a CONVECTIVE VORTEX) to allow the thermal updraft processes to "remove" air from the low and make it stronger (pressure drop). Shear will move the convection away from the low, and weaken it.

Right now, there is little shear on Rita, but some models are bringing shear over the system in 12 hours or so (from time of this writing). The storm HAS been replacing its eyewalls too, and such internal dynamics of a hurricane are the most difficult to ascertain since they are governed by mesoscale fluid dynamics, and as we all know, are very complicated. My judgement is the dry air at low and mid levels issuing into the storm from the west, so I expect a cat3 at landfall.

Remember, a Cat3 is still EXTREMELY DANGEROUS - Complacency kills! This can have 111 to 130 MPH sustained winds, and most likely with Rita, will lean towards the upper end of this range. Also, if the eyewall does erode, it will be on the LEFT side of the eye. The RIGHT side will still have its full marine boundary layer air driving directly on shore (examples: Ivan and Katrina). I also noticed that even a weakening system, that was formerly a Cat5, may have less winds, but the surge, created WHILE it WAS Cat5, takes more time to dissapate (it's a dome or wave of water, and once created, it continues for a while). This is why Katrina had Cat3 winds but a 30 foot surge like that of a strong Cat5! This is why Ivan last year had a 20 foot surge (also like a Cat5) but was Cat3 at landfall. Just something to consider while in that parking garage on the waterfront.

Good luck to all out there and be safe as possible.
 

AlDanks

EF0
Apr 21, 2004
38
0
0
Grand Rapids, MI
Gotcha. My group's got something like 36 gallons of gas ready to go in DFW atm. I'm going to bring an extra 6-gallon can on the plane with me too. You get two carry-ons.
You should definitely check on whether it is legal to carry gas on a plane. My understanding is that it is not. You really don't want to cause a plane crash.

Al
 
TSA screener
I'm sorry, sir, but I'll have to take your cigarette lighter. And you'll have to carry that gas can on using the shoulder strap because FAA regulations only allow one carry-on plus one bag for a laptop, handbag, camera, emergency gasoline, or similar provided it has a shoulder strap....
:shock: :)

Sorry! Couldn't resist....
 

timmarshall

RITA CHASE SUMMARY

SHORT: Rode out Hurricane Rita in a parking garage in Beaumont, TX. Encountered the west eyewall and wind gusts 80-100 mph lasting several hours. Unfortunately, the hurricane arrived at night. But, I still got some nice video of transformer explosions before the electric power went out. Arrived back home safely after driving through flooded and debris filled roads.

LONG: Left Dallas at 7 a.m. with Beaumont, TX being target. Bill Read, NWS MIC, called to say -stay away from Port Arthur as it will flood. Took Rt. 175 southeast bound after hearing about the I-45 was contraflow. Good thing too, since I would have been in stuck in traffic especially given that bus explosion in southern Dallas County. First and only snag of the day was in Lufkin, TX. Rt. 69 was contraflow for a few miles southeast of town. So, I zigged and zagged on back roads (thanks to Delorme) and got back on Rt. 69. Got lucky in Kountze finding a gas station with gas. I topped off the gas tank although I had plenty of spare fuel. Found a five story poured-in-place concrete parking garage at the ChristUS Hospital one block east of I-10 in Beaumont. It provided excellent views of the city to the south and west. Met up with numerous chasers including Roger Hill and his group, Rich, Casie, Brian, and Jason. Couldn't believe there were electric power outlets in the garage to charge up the camcorder and laptop!

Encountered the west eyewall and wind gusts 80-100 mph over several hours like between 1 and 5 am. Typical damage included downed trees, power lines, roof and sign damage. Unfortunately, the hurricane arrived at night. However, I still got some nice video of transformer explosions before the electric power went out -and chasers cheering each explosion like at a July 4th fireworks event. Best part of the night was a semi-pro skateboarder using an inside-out umbrella zipping by the road in front of the parking garage.

At dawn, I noticed (ugh) that the roads in front of the parking garage were flooded (just like in Slidell with Katrina). The west exit was flooded with more than two feet of water (impassable), but the east exit was flooded with about 14-16 inches of water. In addition, the frontage road only one block away was too deep to traverse. So, once again, I spent about a half hour, zig-zagging around downed power lines on secondary roads trying to find an escape route. Why is it that these streets are so low? Do they use them as flood canals? Well, I finally made it one block to the interstate by heading up an exit ramp the wrong way and doing a U-turn. I-10 west was an obstacle course back to Houston with lots of signs, power lines, and other debris on the road. But, at least it wasn't flooded. Saw structural damage south of town to metal buildings -mainly end wall failures. Got to Houston and it was a ghost town. Nothing was open but didn't need anything. But, I did stop off at a shelter in Spring to freshen up, then headed up vacant I-45 to Dallas (amazing what 24 hours can do). Saw, dozens of vacant cars (out of gas?) along side the road. Stopped at Bubba's BBQ in Ennis for a feast. All-in-all a relatively easy chase close to home for your average hurricane. Now back to surveying Katrina damage.

TIM MARSHALL
Hurricane #15
 

cdcollura

EF5
Jun 12, 2004
1,392
141
11
49
Sunrise, Florida
www.sky-chaser.com
To Share Or Not To Share

Good day everyone,

Hope all had success with chasing Rita. My chase with Rita as in the FL Keys (I did not do the landfall in TX).

Today was a very sad day for me ... Posting it here since it is related to chasing Rita in some way. I was dating someone in the OKC area as a long distance fashion since June. She was really into my storm stuff and quite interested. I visited her a few times and she was even planning to go to FL for school.

After seeing my video of Rita in the FL keys, she saw the seawall and tropical cyclone wave shots. Something happened, and we got into it as she said I am too "foolish" to get that close (not as close as Jeff P though). She told me flat out she did not know she could handle "worrying" about me when I go out. She changed her ming about FL, and will be going to NY instead.

I was EXTREMELY sad and down ALL day today because of this. I kicked myself so many times for showing her the footage (You wanna see it, check below)...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/rit05vid.htm

Today was my birthday too ... Nearly in tears on it, and I am now 36, and alone, thanks to storm chasing (actually sea walls and hurricane chasing). The "downs" of storm chasing = singularity. Again.

Well, gotta go, get a drink, and go to sleep.

Chris C - KG4PJN
 

Shane Adams

Chris,

Sorry to hear about your break-up. Yes, chasing can be a lonely business. However, consider the opposite scenario; you inherit a good woman, but lose the ability to ever chase again. Sure, this might not sound so bad during long, cold winters....but imagine how this would feel come Spring or (as in your case) Summer/Fall? Never being able to chase again would be a far more torturous existence (for me anyway) than growing old alone.

Besides...any person who thinks you're a fool for doing what you love doesn't really "get you" anyway.
 
Sorry, man. I've been single for as long as I haven't seen any SHREAD of a decent storm. At least you're getting some action.

BTW, I was entirely joking about the gas can post in this thread... didn't really think anyone would take me seriously. I didn't make it to Houston. The arpt closed as my connection was coming into DFW.

Ok time to get the tornado-in-a-jar out again, to pacify myself to sleep.