09/20/05: FCST Hurricane Rita

I've looked at the latest SAT images as well as data from the GFS..two new tropical cyclones are imminent, one that will likely brush the Lesser Antilles and the one that Stuart eluded to will likely form into a depression tomorrow and into a tropical storm by Monday..all of the Tropical models increase this to a minimal hurricane by Tuesday...I seriously doubt that it will reach Cat 4 strength by this time..however SST's are near 31C in the gulf stream off the Key's...shear should be at a minimum too...this could be a high end Cat 1 at most as it passes thru extreme southern Fl. a bit similar to Katrina...high pressure to the north should spare the gulf coast around the ravaged areas from Katrina but areas in Texas, especially Corpus to Brownsville may have a full blown Cat 3 or even a 4 by the end of this upcoming week.
It's good to know I'm not losing my mind. I noticed today when I was working in our forecast lab that ETA (or NAM... whatever you want to call it) had a tropical something coming into the general area of the Keys Tuesday or Wednesday. Aren't there two or three more disturbances behind it? Or am I thinking of the Pacific? The high that's going to keep us hot and dry this coming week should help to keep it away.
Just as long as it stays away from the Gulf Coast.
Originally posted by MClarkson
assuming this becomes rita...

then there are 4 names left on the 2005 list.

Pretty good model agreement that TD18 (!!) will develop into a hurricane and move into the Gulf by early part of the upcoming work week. As noted by others, the past few runs of the GFDL have brought TD18 into the central Gulf after smacking the FL Keys as a Cat 4 storm. The only real significant hindrance I see to rather rapid strengthening over the next few days is the huge area of very dry air in the mid/upper levels across most of the eastern 1/2 of the US.

As a note, I don't remember NHC ever having 6 active storms at one time (3 in the Atlantic and 3 in the Pacific). In fact, there could an another system in the Pacific for which they will issue advisories, so they may have 7 storms to deal with tomorrow (before they lose Ophelia to the HPC).

EDIT: NHC just issued its final adv on Ophelia, which future advisories being issued by the Canadian Hurricane Centra (didn't know they had one!) and NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center. Just had to mention that given the previous paragraph.
theres also a well defined low level circulation in an easterly wave way out in the atlantic, based on quickscat.

It could develop too, the satellite derived shear ahead of that system isnt too bad.
Could you post a link to where quikscat data is available at?

Oh...TD 18...Rita...keys...blah blah...j/k.

Yeah, I'm reminded of a song..."The ants go marching one by one...". Instead of that..."The storms go marching one, by one..."


Was waiting for the 00Z models to come in to confirm my earlier impressions. As I suspected they continue to lift the upper air speed max eastward through the Maritimes allowing heights to build somewhat through FL and the southeast US. This reflects at mid-levels as a gradual weakening through the western Gulf coast. It's not so much a question of if but when a future Rita will track more northerly. This model run now moves the storm northwest about into Corpus Christi in about six days :roll: rather than more westerly into Mexico. If Rita develops it (and Phillipe) should give the experts many headaches as they mosey around. Oh yeah, and then there's Joba in the Pacific looking to come uncomfortably close to the Big Island about the same time. One PITA storm for each of the Atlantic, GoM, and Pacific....
Originally posted by Rocky Rascovich
Sort of a risky undertaking on this FCST but what the heck. TD 18 should be upgraded to Tropical storm status by 0Z this Sunday evening 18Sept.
With the shear going on from the upper level low to its west, don't count on it being any more than a low end Cat 2 as it passes close to Key West by Tuesday AM...then with the projected area of high pressure from almost all models...the system should continue west, even a little southwest..increase to a maximum wind speed of 115kts...as it passes northwest of the Yucatan on late Wednesday or Thursday, steering currents may relax some...its very unclear of the track after then but I think Brownsville, maybe as far north as Corpus Christie should watch this close. If this high to the north in the gulf states strengthens more than currently predicted...the Yucatan will be affected and the sorm will stay well south of the US border, also with all the dry air associated with the high, projected wind maxes may stay within the Cat 2 or low end Cat 3...thank God for this high...otherwise LA and MS. would be finished off.

To avoid redundancy, I've moved Rocky's forecast regarding this system here and have removed the original forecast thread that was posted.

Jason Politte
I like how the 06z GFDL is performing. I think a westerly course with gradual strengthening is likely although over the Gulf I wouldn't rule out periods of rapid intensification following an ERC or something. However I think that as the trough over the Central US on Thu/Fri begins to break down the eastern ridge this thing will begin curving a bit more wnw or nw. Bottom line is that I see a landfall anywhere between Corpus Christi and the Texas/Louisiana border and unfortunately for Katrina refugees, most likely near Houston.

HOPEFULLY I'm wrong since everyone knows they've been through too much already...but I can just see it happening and causing even more complications. At least Houston is a bit inland.

...Alex Lamers...
I agree with everything Alex said in the above post.

Satellite presentation has been improving all morning and banding features are becoming better defined, mainly in the northeastern semicircle. SSTs are more than favorable for strengthening (>29C thru 120h) and though some southwesterly shear is present, many of the models show that it should begin to relax after 24h or so. 12z SHIPS model intensity forecast brings TD18 to 82kts in four days, whereas the 06z GFDL brings it to 67kts by the same time (but then up to 106kts 24hrs later). Anyway, the bottom line is that we will be looking at at least a moderate hurricane in the central Gulf by mid-week, which means that, by late week, we will have a moderate hurricane approaching land.

As Alex noted, its looking more and more likely that this will be a Texas landfall...way too early to pinpoint but Corpus Christi - Galveston Bay looks good to me attm.

EDIT: I would be pretty surprised if this doesn't get upgraded at 21z; this system is looking very healthy on visible satellite as of 1845z...however recon data only indicates 17kts at 1500' so i'm not sure.
The 12z GFDL really scales down the intensity forecast...now peaks eighteen at 75kts. The 18z SHIPS is similar to the last run with a peak intensity at 82kts. With the GFDL being most accurate this season, the lowered intensity is certainly good news.
There have been several bursts of deep convection north of the NHCs 21z initial position and it appears as though there has been a redevelopment of the LLC to the north. I am extremely worried about potential impacts on S FL from Rita; if the center has reformed underneath these deep convective bursts and nocturnal intensification commences this evening, it seems reasonable that we could be looking at a 55-60 kts TS by 19/1500z. I expect that the TS watches will be extended N to Jupiter Inlet at the 03z update, with hurricane watches by this time tomorrow.
There is no doubt the storm re-developed to the north under that burst of convection. I always say that small changes in the current position have significant effects on the future storm track.

Edit: My original comment about the track has been deleted as the model guidance has changed. I'll leave up the graphic though.

S FL - Local Coverage

Folks here in SW FL are just starting to notice this one.

Outer spiral bands starting to show up on the local cable channel's satellite view.

Not liking where BAM takes the track.
Ignore the BAM

Well the models are all shifting north... the 06Z GFDL plasters key west at 933mb... and then tracks the storm up towards louisiana. The ECMWF shows a very good upper level outflow pattern in the late term, but also stays further south and the other intensity models indicate slight weakening long term. The GFS progs some really dry 500mb level air around texas in ~5 days, but intensity estimates are pretty erroneous in such an extended timeframe. Regardless, the threat to kew west and the western gulf is significant.

The keys may not be chaseable if route 1 becames all lanes north, but potential in the vicinity of houston might be shaping up.
Unfortunately the eastward migration of the gulf coast anticyclone is verifying -- oy. And, oy, R looks like it's really cranking up this morning with deep, persistent, expanding convection circling the core. And... in the latest hi-res just in... the ole' radial gravity waves topping what's becoming the CDO signalling what I believe to be rapid intensification.

Hopefully God smiles and R is "only" a Cat 1 when it crosses the Keys, but all the signs point to something more like the GLD 1935 storm than a little blow. If I were anywhere in the Keys, I'd be boarding up and moving out right now, which is what I have a hunch the experts will be saying in a few hours.

The longer-term model tracks are probably IMO now flipping a bit too far toward tracking R north. A little faster and a little straighter toward some place like Freeport (hopefully far enough south of Houston/Galveston) looks like the spot this morning -- oy. Can we say $4/gallon gasoline? :( FWIW.
19/0000z Model Solutions
19/1200z Model Solutions
(images from http://euler.atmos.colostate.edu/~vigh/gui...dance/index.htm)

There has been a significant northward shift in many of the model tracks for Rita, unfortunately, which puts a number of large population areas at risk. The satellite presentation continues to improve and 'rapid intensification' (>30kt increase in 24hrs), beginning later today, is quite possible. I definitely agree that the FL Keys are not the place to be for the next several days. What is up with this hurricane season?!?

EDIT: Pressure has continued to drop all day and is currently down to 994mb.
The northward trend with each model run should be on everyone's mind. I started noticing this trend last night, but thought it was a little pre-mature. BTW...Houston is the 4th largest city in the country.

Historically speaking the Florida Straits have seen some explosive development in storms past. The Labor Day storm bombed out from a Cat 1 to a 5 in 36 hours, on a similar storm track to Rita.
Rita is looking more impressive on the space pics. Latest IR is hinting at eye development with warmer tops in the center of the CDO. Key West looks to be close to the path of the cyclone. If an eye develops soon then the intesnsity near Key West could be stronger than the TPC forecast. I couldn't help but notice the 12z GFS takes the eye of Rita right over Galveston and downtown Houston (of course the models are perfect 5 days out... no) .

Aside: I'll start a B&G threat about potential Rita impacts. Oil up $3.50/bl today, Gas up 20 cents. Lots of refineries in the path of this potential beast.
To my non-expert eye, R has gone through an interesting phase in the last hour wherein the large burst of convection circling the core got a little ahead of the upper outflow and collapsed on itself a bit in the northern semicircle -- rather like a 100 mile diameter overshooting supercell top. The intense core convection is now reforming in a more compact form.

Mandatory evacuation is now out for the whole Keys. :(
I totally agree with David. Looking at the latest IR sat, convection continues to explode around the center of the Storm. Rita in my opinion looks like it should be at hurricane strength in the next hour or so. The deep convection has become more semetrical over the last few hours or so. I'm really concerned that the TPC is under estimating the forcast of Rita. Looking at forcast models, there will be nothing at all to prohibit more strengthening of the system.

Also, I feel that the trough on the west coast will not pull the system as north as the TPC is forcasting. I really think that the system will stay on a west-northwest track and all the way over the Gulf and put people around Corpus Cristi in the path. I know that it is still a long ways away, But, I think that Rita will make landfall as a Cat 4 or 5.

One thing to note, everybody is blaming 50 years of global warming for the large numbers of hurricanes this year. 1935 season was a lot longer the 50 years ago. :)
1995, 2003 and 2004 weren't so long ago...

Back on topic - pressure's down to 993mb as of 2302z, and, after a brief plateau, it appears that the strengthening trend has recommenced. A deep burst of convection is occurring over the center and I suspect that Rita is already a hurricane. I see no reason why Rita will not exhibit moderate/rapid intensification overnight and reach at least 70kts by 20/0300z and 85kts by 20/1500z. This is definitely a serious situation for Key West and eventually somewhere along the northern or western Gulf Coast.
This really doesn't look good for whereever Rita plops herself after her journey through the Gulf. It is going to head through "the path of least resistance" as far as limiting SST's go. There are cooler waters over the Eastern Gulf but the stretch from the Florida Strait into the Central Gulf is comparatively warm. SHIPS takes this to 117 mph at 72 hours and that is before it interacts with the > 30ºC SST water over the western Gulf.


Secondly shear is just absolutely bottoming out over the Gulf with 700 mb flow generally around 5 knots per most global models. Trends analyzed on overall shear suggest a decreasing trend on already low amounts.

Finally recent convective burst seems favorable for intensification and I would anticipate they would bump this up to a category 1 hurricane in the one of the next two advisories.

What model to go with for intensity? I would actually say SHIPS, the GFDL is unreasonably inflated. After 72 hrs though, I think that this storm could rival Katrina's strength when it was over open water with plenty of fuel and nothing to stop it until it hits land.

...Alex Lamers...