Hurricane Rita - Official NHC Report

The Rita report was just published. Check it out:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/TCR-AL182005_Rita.pdf

I had heard rumors-- and I emphasize rumors-- they there were thinking of downgrading the TX/LA landfall intensity to Cat 2. They kept it at Cat 3, although the final estimate (100 kt) is a little lower than what was believed at the time. Rita's radar presentation at landfall was not impressive-- with the whole S half of the eyewall wide open-- so it doesn't surprise me that the landfall-intensity estimate was reduced.

Key points:

* Maximum intensity: 155 kt/895 mb-- Cat 5. This makes it the 4th-deepest hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic. As pointed out by Jeff Snyder in a related thread, note that this maximum-intensity estimate has been increased slightly (with lower pressure and higher winds) in post-analysis.
* TX/LA landfall intensity: 100 kt/937 mb-- Cat 3.
* Maximum official surface-wind reading on land: 71 kt with a gust to 86 kt at Sabine River, TX. (However, a FCMP tower in Port Arthur, TX, measured 82 kt with a gust to 101 kt.)
* Wind effects: Most of SE TX and SW LA experienced Cat 1 conditions. A few areas experienced Cat 2 conditions. Cat 3 conditions were confined to a very small area E of the eye, along the immediate coast of extreme SW LA.
* Storm surge: As with Katrina, storm surge flooding was more impressive than the winds-- with large areas of SW LA flooded well inland. The surge in Cameron, LA, apparently reached 15 ft.
 
* Maximum intensity: 155 kt/895 mb-- Cat 5. This makes it the 4th-deepest hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic.[/b]

that makes sense. Remember how it was at 897mb and still intensifying when the plane left... then the satellite eclipsed and when we got the satellite back it was degraded somewhat, and the next plane in still recorded 897mb. Stands to reason that she peaked a little higher.
 
Floss and I were on site on the coast doing DA for the Red Cross just a couple days after Rita. Wish we coulda helped with the data.

Bob
 
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