NOW: Hurricane Rita

Dec 14, 2003
Those are the Chinese mobile scalar weapons platforms that are controlling the storm. They were there for Katrina also, but the experimental shielding they were using back then has apparently failed, thus rendering them visible for the first time to IR satellites.


Actually I'd guess some kind of artifact.
Jun 21, 2004
Kearney, NE
Should be a new VORTEX soon... looks like the NOAA plane just popped into the eye again. 91 kts max flightlevel in SW quad.

URNT40 KWBC 232030


202400 2744 09255 10019 -0724 305074 +148 +108 304075 048 003
202430 2746 09253 10013 -0778 303077 +148 +097 302077 052 004
202500 2747 09252 10014 -0825 300077 +154 +102 301078 055 003
202530 2748 09250 10027 -0878 298076 +158 +102 296077 057 003
202600 2750 09248 10028 -0942 295081 +144 +127 294082 061 003
202630 2752 09246 10022 -1026 292084 +159 +110 293084 065 004
202700 2753 09244 10015 -1121 288087 +167 +144 288088 069 004
202730 2755 09243 10038 -1231 291089 +175 +147 288091 074 001
202800 2756 09241 10003 -1373 288087 +189 +148 293089 071 001
202830 2758 09239 10021 -1497 276072 +197 +154 281078 062 003
202900 2800 09238 10033 -1575 277053 +197 +148 274066 041 004
202930 2802 09237 10019 -1621 282036 +202 +145 287040 028 003
203000 2804 09237 10018 -1656 274023 +192 +143 278028 011 001
Jun 21, 2004
Kearney, NE
Dropsonde indicates 931mb. Also, 121kts flightlevel in NW quad:

203630 2821 09221 10023 -1385 148115 +150 +150 148117 088 025
203700 2822 09219 10042 -1256 141117 +139 +139 141118 085 028
203730 2823 09218 9997 -1155 142119 +139 +139 143121 064 056
203800 2825 09216 9984 -1059 139117 +131 +131 139118 077 042
203830 2826 09215 9974 -0971 138110 +133 +133 137115 076 024

*edit* and here is the VORTEX:

URNT12 KNHC 232100Z
A. 23/2031Z
B. 28 DEG 09 MIN N
92 DEG 37 MIN W
C. 700 MB 2493 MA
F. 289 DEG 91 KT
G. 197 DEG 15 NM
H. 931 MB
I. 14 C/ 3055 M
J. 20 C/ 3056 M
K. 15 C/ NA
M. C25
N. 12345/7
O. 1/1 NM
P. NOAA3 2318A RITA OB 20
Dec 9, 2003
Slidell (KLIX) radar still indicates at least 2 eyewalls, perhaps three. The reflectivities in the inner eyewall do seem to be coming up, from about 40 to 55dbz. The Houston radar does should the 'outer' eyewall expanding a bit.. .I don't know if there are times when the outer eyewall dissipates and the inner eyewall takes over (in ERCs, it's the opposite of that -- inner dies, outer contracts). I guess only time will tell. The window for strengthening is closing as land interaction increase. I still think we can get to 920mb if the inner eyewall every decides to close. Otherwise, if it remains opens, I anticipate high-end Cat 3 at landfall... If the inner eyewall does manage to close off, and the concentric outer eyewall (as seen on radar) dissipates, I think she could very well be cat 4 at landfall. Time's a tickin'
Analysis of WSR-88D sure shows a nice eye wall moving on a heading of 310 degrees (toward the Northwest). I agree that Rita will be a Category 3 or 4 storm as it moves inland early tomorrow morning, but my feeling is that landfall will be right in between Galveston and Port Arthur, TX. This will probably save Galveston and Houston from the worst part of the storm as it will be on the typically weaker left side of the storm, but Port Arthur and areas near to it will get slammed. Galveston will still have its share of the problems but not as bad as it could have been.

At this point the models are of little help in determining the future track of Rita. The best thing to use is satellite and radar observations. This is why I am adjusting my landfall eastward by about 25 miles. Barring any last minute jogs to the left, I think this will be the deal.
Originally posted by Sam Sagnella+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Sam Sagnella)</div>
New lightning strikes being detected in the eyewall now.
It's interesting how perfectly that longgggg ERC was timed so that shes going to be doing nothing but strengthening as she approaches the coast.[/b]
It appears she is a VERY dangerous hurricane this evening.
I personally would be very surprised to see Rita regain CAT4 status. She's been fighting what looks like a losing battle with dry air to the N and W, along with lower heat content waters. The CDO is lopsided, with occasional flares of convection on the west side. Bands of dry air keep manifesting themselves on the north side, and each one results in a significant erosion of the CDO on that side...just look at some longer-range WV loops like those on UCAR and you'll see what I mean.

Plus, she keeps meandering to the right of the NHC track, even with the number of wobbles she's gone through. I have a gut feeling she'll plant herself in the vast swamplands of extreme SW LA, maybe slightly east of Port Arthur. For now my landfall guesstimate is about on top of Port Arthur, around 5am local time, 110kts or less.
Look how C O L D these cloudtops are in the western eyewall; if she continues to generate intense convection all the way to the coast, not only will she likely be strengthening, but movement will likely be erratic (near constant 'wobbles').

IMO, there's no way she comes ashore under 140mph.

Originally posted by Sam Sagnella
Look how C O L D these cloudtops are in the western eyewall; if she continues to generate intense convection all the way to the coast, not only will she likely be strengthening, but movement will likely be erratic (near constant 'wobbles').

IMO, there's no way she comes ashore under 140mph.
Sure it's C O L D. But it's nothing like the persistet, symmetric, < -74°C CDO we saw even up to yesterday. Also, the eye looks like crap on IR. It's wobbly looking, doesn't look symmetric. If the eye looks crisp and resembles a golf hole that you could putt into, then you got one hell of a Cat 4+ storm. Andrew looked like this when it slammed south Dade County in 1992. Rita will come in similar to Katrina, a larger Strong Cat 3 hurricane with max winds probably 115-120mph but 75mph winds spread out quite a ways.

Mike U
Dec 18, 2003
Lubbock, TX
Myself and Jay McCoy have been here in Beaumont since about 6 am. We are holed up in one of the hospital parking garages where the police are also taking shelter.

The drive down was say the least.

We tried earlier to go down to Port Author to get some early surf shots but the water in the ship channel was already up to the side of the road and we didn't want to chance it covering the road and cutting us off out there so we headed back. The whole area is pretty much deserted when you drive around.

It's been relatively calm here and only started raining a couple hours ago. A few strong gusts but nothing serious sustained yet.

We have enough food and water for 5 days and about 50 gallons of gas so we are good for a while. Gonna be a long, wet night!
Dec 9, 2003
I don't know what to make of the situation... I had been expecting strengthening was the previous ERC finally ended this mornign, but the eye has not stabilized since then. It appears that it may be in another ERC... Latest VORTEX has 930mb with three eyewalls -- at 80, 30, and 20mi. If the 20mi eye is dissipating now, there may be a chance at strengthening, but we'll still have two concentric eyewalls. The window for stregnthening is beginning to close I believe, given the storm's proximity to land. If the eye can stabilize, I think she can still make it down to 920mb. That's an IF, however.
Mar 21, 2005
Norman, OK
Visit site
Here's the latest recon vortex msg:
URNT12 KNHC 232322Z
A. 23/2303Z
B. 28 DEG 28 MIN N
92 DEG 54 MIN W
C. 700 MB 2492 MA
F. 151 DEG 121 KT
G. 061 DEG 17 NM
H. 930 MB
I. 12 C/ 3050 M
J. 20 C/ 3061 M
K. 15 C/ NA
M. E 080-30-20
N. 12345/7
O. 1/1 NM
P. NOAA3 2318A RITA OB 31

Note the 3 concentric eyewalls at 80, 30, and 20 nm, which is consistent with the radar presentation. I think what we have been seeing on radar in the last couple of hours is a collapse of the inner eyewall and replacement by the next outer one. From what I can tell, this is the second eyewall replacement (the first one more or less completed earlier this morning). It remains to be seen if the storm can stabilize the new eye before landfall, or if the next outer one begins to encroach on it.
Some really nice storm surge inundation maps are available for the Port Arthur and Beaumont areas:

Looks like the northeast part of town is the best place to be, but nowhere in that town is safe in a CAT5 surge.

BTW, anyone else noticing the big push of the eye almost due north on the Lake Charles radar? If that keeps up, everyone in Beaumont/Port Arthur will be on the weaker west side. Safe from surge I guess!
Apr 13, 2005
Jackson, Ms
I don't see the strengthening that some of you are talking about. It looks to me like this storm is slowly collapsing. It will be interesting to see if it will make it down to a cat 2 and hit south of Lake Charles like I have been saying the past few days. That poor little town of Cameron, La is as good as gone. I can't say that I have ever been in that area, but I can't imagine it being more than a little fishing town in the swamps. We could quite possibly see some surge make it up into southern parts of Lake Charles and the Port Arthur area could still see significant surge from the bay.

I'm very glad that this will not be affecting the more populated areas of Galveston and Houston and that the storm weakened 50 mph since Wed. Katrina might have been the second worse catastrophy in history had Rita maintained her strong cat 5 and made a direct landfall in Galveston Bay. looks like I will be up late watching this one roll in. I would think landfall would be around midnight since the eyewall usually comes ashore a bit quicker than expected when less than 100 mile from land. Good luck to those of you chasing and be careful.

Jay Cazel

Jul 5, 2004
Wichita, Ks
Visit site
Originally posted by Dan Dawson
It appears it's back, or maybe it never did go down. I was just going off what the blog said, and what looked like a couple missing volume scans
It just updated again, might have gone down for a few but seems to be okay now.