It’s enough to make me believe in weather warfare: Early forecasts indicated that Hurricane Rita would have getting past Category 3 because of the cooler water churned up by Katrina in the Gulf.
RAPID INTENSIFICATION SHOULD CONTINUE FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER 24 HOURS. A POLEWARD OUTFLOW CHANNEL IS WELL ESTABLISHED WITH OUTFLOW ACCUMULATING INTO A LARGE UPPER-LEVEL LOW...OR MASS SINK...EAST OF THE BAHAMAS. IN ADDITION... AN EQUATORWARD OUTFLOW CHANNEL ALSO APPEARS TO BE DEVELOPING. GIVEN THE DUAL OUTFLOW PATTERN THAT IS EXPECTED TO PERSIST FOR THE NEXT 36-48 HOURS...STRENGTHENING INTO A CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE IS A DISTINCT POSSIBILITY.
As of tonight, Rita packed 110 mile per hour winds. She’ll be a Cat 3 storm by morning and a Cat 4 by tomorrow night.
Forecasters now predict 145 mile per hour sustained winds when Rita makes landfall around midnight Friday.