This site is about Caribbean hurricanes, and while Rita is now in the Gulf and all Caribbean islands are safe, we will monitor the progress of Rita until landfall since it has become one the strongest hurricanes ever reported:
REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER INDICATE THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 175 MPH...280 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS A POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY ARE LIKELY DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 70 MILES...110 KM... FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 185 MILES...295 KM. THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE JUST REPORTED BY THE HURRICANE HUNTER IS 898 MB...26.52 INCHES. THIS MEANS RITA IS THE THIRD MOST INTENSE HURRICANE IN TERMS OF PRESSURE IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN.