Scarcely a month after Hurricane Katrina, now we have a new Monster from the Gulf: Hurricane Rita. (Well, from the Atlantic, actually, via the Gulf, but it’s the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico this time of year that feeds these beasts so they grow monstrous.) Texas and Louisiana are at risk, but having seen the havoc wreaked by Katrina, millions have evacuated. (What’s being done for the NOLA evacuees at the Astrodome, I wonder?)
Houston, which is right on the coast, and Galveston, a shield island jutting out into the Gulf, are going to be hit hard by this storm; but a direct hit may now be avoided as the storm veers east, and Rita is weakening from Category 5 to Category 3. Sad to say, New Orleans is getting pounded once more: weakened, patched-together levees are breached again, and parts of the city are re-flooding. The only reason New Orleans will be spared massive destruction this time is because the city already lies in ruins from Katrina.
Satellite and radar imagery:
- NEXRAD radar loop centered on Lake Charles, LA, near the border of TX and LA where Rita is expected to make landfall.
- NEXRAD radar loop centered on Houston and Galveston, TX
- GOES Satellite Floater loop of Rita, with weather info layer toggles.
- GOES Northwest Atlantic visible loop.
- NOAA NEXRAD Radar Composite.
More news and links:
- Bus fire kills elderly evacuees fleeing the hurricane. Very, very tragic.
- Johnson Space Center shutters up for Rita. The Russians are taking care of the ISS for the time being.
- Refineries evacuate, oil prices go up. I wonder if gas will hit $5/gallon before October?
- Interdictor reports on news of levee breaches in NOLA.
- Capital Weather has Rita Resources, along with an update on the DC area’s all-too-slow shift to Autumn.
- Rita page on NOAA Stormtracker.
- Weather Underground blogs: Jeff Masters and Steve Gregory.
- The Hurricane Cycle. The string of stronger hurricanes is part of a 30 year cycle which is now reaching its peak, and is not necessarily a function of global warming.
Update: Rita came and went, and the impact was not quite as bad as Katrina’s, probably because it didn’t hit as flood-prone an area as New Orleans. There was damage, still, however, but oil seems to have dodged the bullet.