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Wednesday, September 21, 2005


As of 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Rita is packing sustained winds of 140 mph with gusts to 165 mph; this is the 2005 seasons fifth major hurricane. Rita is centered near 24.3 north and 85.9 west, or 260 miles west of Key West, Florida. The minimum central pressure has fallen to 944 millibars (27.88 inches of mercury), and movement was to the west at 14 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles from the center of circulation.

Rita will continue to track westward through the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday with further strengthening possible as it crosses the same warm waters that helped Katrina strengthen into a category 5 storm. It is not out of the question that Rita could also become a Category 5 hurricane Thursday into Friday.

Update: She's a catagory 5 and 300 miles wide. Pressure is 898mb, making her the 3rd strongest hurricane in history.

Update 9/22 @3:20 PM EST: She weakened to a Catagory 4. 150 mph winds with a pressure of 914mb.

Update 9/23: She's barely a Catagory 3 now. Dangerous yes, but not catastrophic. The Levees didn't hold up, that was a no brainer.