Thursday, September 22

RITA MAY MAKE LANDFALL AT SABINE PASS

The latest National Hurricane Center update has been issued and the current forecast continues to be up the southeast Texas Gulf Coast from Galveston in the Port Arthur-Sabine Pass area, which is approximately 30 miles southeast of Beaumont, TX. Rita's expected landfall is now 5:00am CDT Saturday morning and current thinking is that it will strike the coastline as a Category 4 hurricane. Current sustained winds are 138 mph.

There was some concern in the greater Houston area earlier this evening that Rita's eye had wobbled westward. But the forecast cited above is consistent with earlier models which had Rita tracking in the direction of the Texas-Louisiana border.

FOLLOW-UP (10:15pm CDT): Max Mayfield, Director, National Hurricane Center, has confirmed in a television interview that "consensus modeling" has the present storm track heading towards the "extreme, upper Texas coast." That said, he emphasized that it's still much too early to know definitively where "the core of the hurricane will hit."