Wednesday, September 21

RITA MAKES TURN TOWARDS FREEPORT, TEXAS

KPRC Local 2 News is reporting in its 10:00pm CDT edition this evening that Hurricane Rita is presently generating Category 5 sustained winds of 175 miles per hour and with 897 mb pressure, making it right now the 3rd strongest hurricane in U.S. history.

Worse for the heavily-populated Galveston-Houston area, the track of the hurricane has just jogged north-northwest towards Freeport, Texas, from the original landfall projection of Matagorda, Texas. This, of course, can change again.

A storm surge of 20' to 25' is predicted and landfall is expected by midnight Friday night. If the hurricane strikes at or near Galveston-Houston, Galveston Island will be completely submerged. Winds of around 120 miles per hour could sweep through downtown Houston.

The hurricane now has a radius of 70 miles from its eye.

FOLLOW-UP: "SciGuy" has a sobering update consistent with what I have reported above.