HurricaneNow and Hurricane Track will be meeting up in Lake Charles to video and report on the Rita. HurricaneNow reports –

we have taken a disaster that could have begun with the arrival of a
hurricane and have found a way to start it two days early. The headline
on this storm is probably the way people (because of Katrina) have
responded to evacuation orders. You’d think that would be a good thing.
But so many people are fleeing the Houston area the roads are swamped!

It is incredibly hot. Some people are
pushing their cars to conserve gas and not using air conditioning. Many
are running out of gas and the stations are closed Texas DOT and
Houston officials are trying to get gas to them but it’s an incredible
mess. Can you imagine people trapped on an expressway in the midst of a
hurricane? The Houston mayor just said that would be a “death
trap.” Yes.

Bubba at Belly of the Beast,
is “A born-again Liberal, commander of a rear-guard insurgency, deep in
the Heart of Darkness (AKA suburban West Houston)” is staying there and
will be blogging about it. (above two items posted 5 PM PDT)

HurricaneTrack is confirming what I blogged below earlier. (posted 4 PM PDT)

official NHC track takes Rita inland near the Louisiana/Texas border.
This will place a great deal of SW Louisiana within the dreaded
right-front quadrant of this hurricane. Storm surge, very strong wind,
flooding rain and even the possibility of tornadoes will plague
portions of the upper Texas coast and into Louisiana.

The latest landfall projection, as noted, now shows NOLA on the east
side of the hurricance warning zone. Hurricanes spin counter-clockwise.
This means the Mississippi Sound, which flanks NOLA on the east could
take the full brunt of the storm from the dangerous upper right
quadrant, with heavy winds aiming eastward towards
the city on top of a massive storm surge. The upper right quadrant is
the most ferocious because the storm surge and wind are traveling in
the same direction. (posted 9:45 AM PDT)


Mark Sudduth of HurricaneTrack.com chases hurricanes. He’s in Freeport,
TX now and plans to have three live video cams recording the storm. Not
sure how the video cam will make it to the Net, maybe he has satellite?
He is one of the few people left in that town, a video report just now
on Weather.com said the town was deserted.

11 AM EDT Thu Sep 22 2005

appears to have reached its peak intensity during the past 12 hours.
Expected to make landfall as a dangerous hurricane of at least a
category three intensity.

10 AM. Landfall projection has shifted further east. NOLA is now in the hurricane warning zone.

NHC. 7 AM CDT Thu Sep 22 2005

Maximum sustained
winds are estimated near 170 mph with higher gusts. This makes Rita a
potentially catastrophic category five hurricane

A slow weakening trend is forecast but Rita is expected to reach the
coast late Friday or early Saturday as a major hurricane…at least
category three.

Landfall is now predicted about 25 miles north of Houston/Galveston.

From the comments on TheOilDrum

One can never prove
it, but I have to believe that human-induced climate change is helping
to strengthen these ferocious storms. Now Rita, by hitting petroleum
infrastructure, is actually going to bite the hand that is feeding it.

John Ruskin would say that treating an inanimate object as though it
has thoughts and feelings is “pathetic fallacy.” I agree that’s unwise,
but it’s certainly tempting.