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Thread: Hurricane Rita

  1. #1

    Default Hurricane Rita

    Rita strengthens and moves into US Gulf

    By Jim Loney

    Rapidly strengthening Hurricane Rita lashed the low-lying islands of the Florida Keys with squalls on Tuesday and threatened Gulf Coast communities to the west with a possible encore to devastating Hurricane Katrina.

    Rita grew from a tropical storm to a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph (160 kph) winds in a matter of hours as it battered the fragile Keys and was expected to strengthen further as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, where Katrina wreaked havoc three weeks ago.

    The hurricane was headed west toward Texas, raising fears it could bring more heavy rains to an already flooded New Orleans and threaten recovery of oil production facilities.

    All 80,000 residents had been ordered out of the Florida Keys island chain, but many stayed behind in boarded-up homes. The eye of the hurricane stayed offshore while its winds pushed seawater up over the only highway linking the islands to the Florida mainland and flooded some low-lying buildings.

    "The storm is not living up to its potential right now and that's a great thing," said Key West Police spokesman Steve Torrence. "We're not seeing a lot of flooding, we're not seeing a lot of damage, we're seeing a great inconvenience really."

    Rita's center was about 50 miles south-southwest of Key West, Florida, at 5 p.m. The hurricane was headed west into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico at about 15 mph (24 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

    The center's deputy director, Ed Rappaport, told President George W. Bush in a videoconference that Rita was expected to become a major hurricane with sustained winds of at least 111 mph (178 kph) and could send a 20-foot (6-meter) storm surge over the Texas coast by Saturday. One computer model foresaw it revving up into a monster Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 131-mph (210-kph) plus winds.

    The president received the briefing aboard the helicopter assault landing ship Iwo Jima, which is docked in New Orleans and has served as the military's Katrina relief headquarters. It was Bush's fifth trip to areas mauled by Katrina.

    "I've been in touch with the governor of Texas. I've been briefed on the planning for what we pray is not a devastating storm. But there's one coming," said Bush, who was criticized as being caught off guard by the severity of Katrina.

    The president also signed an emergency declaration making federal assistance available to Florida, at the request of his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

    Military cargo planes evacuated the Keys' hospitals and nursing homes before Rita hit and helicopters were on standby to carry in water, food and other supplies, officials said.

    About 1,000 Florida emergency workers were still in Mississippi helping with Katrina recovery efforts, but there were enough left to handle Rita, Florida emergency management chief Craig Fugate said. Some 2,400 Florida National Guard troops were mobilized and another 2,000 were on alert.

    Florida had ample supplies of fuel, with 52 million gallons of gasoline stored at Port Everglades, state officials said. But that port was closed as Rita passed and the governor urged Floridians to conserve fuel.

    Gales also whipped the Miami area, home to 2.3 million people. At least 24,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Miami area and the Keys.

    Rita was the seventh hurricane to hit Florida in 13 months.

    Oil companies only starting to recover from Katrina evacuated Gulf oil rigs as Rita moved toward major energy production areas.

    And the Navy began moving its remaining fleet of Katrina relief vessels, including the Iwo Jima, away from the Gulf Coast to ride out any potential battering from Rita.



    Around 1,100 Hurricane Katrina evacuees still in Houston's two mass shelters faced another evacuation as the city found itself in the possible path of Rita. They were being sent to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas.

    Hurricane Rita also caused minor flooding in northwest Cuba, where 60,000 people were evacuated from flood-prone areas. Most of Havana's 2.2 million residents stayed home, leaving the capital's streets nearly deserted, though some were evacuated as rain and wind taxed buildings that local authorities feared might collapse.

    (Additional reporting by Michael Peltier in Tallahassee, Jane Sutton and Michael Christie in Miami, Adam Entous in New Orleans, Mark Babineck in Houston and Marc Frank in Havana)

    Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. .

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    PLEASE let it hit Crawford...

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    ^ Based on the track map above you might get your wish.

    Here's a link to Crawford ... if it were bigger you'd find it just west of Waco: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=crawfo...4.757935&hl=en

  5. #5

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    Hurricane Rita is now a category 3 storm, moving west through the Gulf. A hurricane expert stated that it would strengthen into a 4 or 5,and weaken slightly as it made landfall. If a high-pressure system in the middle of the country stays put, the storm will track toward the west and probably hit Texas If the high-pressure moves east, the storm could turn north and hit Louisiana.

    A historic model for the storm is Hurricane Carla in 1961.
    http://www.srh.noaa.gov/crp/docs/res...rla/carla.html
    http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/at196103.asp

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Ray Nagin:

    "OK, everyone can come back home for some Red Beans, Rice and Gumbo cookin' in the pot!"


    "Um......On second thought........"

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    Quote Originally Posted by TLOZ Link5
    PLEASE let it hit Crawford...
    Somebody say "Amen!" I wonder if God is punishing the south for giving us slavery or giving us George W. Bush. Then again, it just might be because of Jeff Foxworthy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
    Somebody say "Amen!" I wonder if God is punishing the south for giving us slavery or giving us George W. Bush. Then again, it just might be because of Jeff Foxworthy.
    I'm aware of at least some neocons who are itching for Rita to hit, because apparently then the media spotlight will be off Cindy Sheehan for a while.

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Too bad Cindy is not down there now?


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    The oil companies are already itching to raise prices.

    Seems there a higher power not too pleased with the red states.

    I know 9/11 was caused by abortion and homosexuality. What's causing these storms that are wiping out the south?

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    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Intelligent design.

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    *golfclap* * * * * * *

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    Too bad Cindy is not down there now?

    Meaning that the antiwar campaign will lose media attention because of Rita.

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    A thought occurs, though. If the damage from this hurricane is as catastrophic as was Katrina, then will there be a second highly-publicized relief effort?

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TLOZ Link5
    Meaning that the antiwar campaign will lose media attention because of Rita.
    I know.

    I was being confused-sarcastic.


    BTW, Rita went "5".

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