Cat 4 Rita
The NHC/NOAA has updated its information. Rita is a Cat 4, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph. That’s good news. However, the projected track is fundamentally unchanged, and it hasn’t weakened much further than it had a couple of hours ago.
For everybody watching in fear for New Orleans, though, I found this statement (from NHC/NOAA Discussion #21 heartening:
THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN EXTENDED EASTWARD AND NORTHWARD ALONG THE LOUISIANA COAST. ANY TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS IN THE NEW ORLEANS AREA ARE EXPECTED TO BE CONFINED TO A FEW SQUALLS ASSOCIATED WITH QUICKLY MOVING
For those of you who have family and/or friends attempting to travel the evacuation routes – my sympathy. The evacuation system in Texas has proven to be a total embarrassment.
I've pulled up some forecasts from the National Weather Service, just to satisfy my own curiousity. The latest outlook for Katy (my location) is linked here. This is what they say about Friday night for us:
Periods of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1am. Some of the storms could be severe, with heavy rain. Low around 76. Windy, with a north wind between 40 and 50 mph, with gusts as high as 70 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.