Rita Old Comment Thread 2

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George Bush got called up to heaven. Presently he was ushered into the Almighty's presence.

Without waiting George asked "God, why are you sending all these hurricanes against America. Katrina could be understandable but another one named Rita that is even stronger? Oh Lord, what have we done to deserve this?"

The Almighty looked down on George Bush and said " First George, you have to address me by my proper name."

"Start by calling me Allah."

haha.  you guys are doing a great job, as usual, covering Rita.

it really is starting to look like Rita's headed towards western LA/eastern TX.  i noticed the 3 day projection on NHC has shifted eastward.  

i got in trouble at work for laughing loud enough to bother other people
The 6am UTC models are almost all heading smack over Galveston/Houston.

The odds of two cat 5s in the gulf in a month seem not completely unbelievable given the overall trend in hurricane intensity.  But the odds of a direct hit on New Orleans followed by a direct hit on Houston?

Yes, the odds seem slim of that happening, or at least they did a few weeks ago.  

I'm sure you're aware of the saying that the laws of probability don't just allow for coincidences, they insist on them.  

We probably won't know for a few years if 2005 is just a meteorological fluke or the beginning of a deadly pattern.  Kind of like identifying PO in our rear view mirror, coincidentally.

While you're looking at hurricane coincidences, don't forget the nearly-identical landfall points of Frances and Jeanne (2004), and Ivan (2004) and Dennis (2005).

I haven't seen anyone calculate the chance of hurricanes hitting that close together in time and space, but it's got to be pretty low.

Not necessarily.

Some hurricane guru was on CNN last month, and a caller asked him about this.  He said they don't fully understand it, but there's a tendency for hurricanes to follow "trends."  For several years, Atlantic hurricanes would tend to go up the east coast, and whack North Carolina.  But they've been gradually shifting west.  Florida got socked last year, and this year, it looks like it's the Gulf's turn.

It could mean the Oil Patch should expect a lot more hurricanes for a few years.

Not really the time for jokes, but the first thing that came to mind when I saw the updated infrared scan:

"Houston, we've got a problem."

this also contributed to me getting in trouble at work for laughing to loud (my carma is very low)
here a color composite of the last two forecasts.
Don't depsair yet.  Rita's forward motion has slowed considerably.  The official track is very conservative with respect to change.  Most of the models actually have Rita further east.

This is bad for the oil patch but good for Houston.  We will have to wait for data from NHC but my prediction from tracking past hurricanes is that Rita will weaken significantly over the next 24 hours and also move more to the north of the current track.

There is a lot of shear forcast to weaken Rita before it hits land.  It is a race now between shear forces causing weakening and warm water maintaining strength.  Cat 5 hurricanes rarely maintain that strength for more than 36 hours.  If Rita is weakening AND it turns further east of Houston the outlook will be much better than forecast from this morning.

I took a walk with my dog this AM up to I10 to look at the traffic going out of Houston (near Katy).  The road is a parking lot (and that is not hyperbole).  There is no gas.  I suspect that a lot of people are running out of gas on the freeway just idling, which is slowing up the traffic even more.  I also suspect that a lot of people are going to have to leave their cars and find shelter somewhere near the road, as they won't be able to drive to the destination they intended. Many, many, many people are leaving town.  The fear in many people, especially those who have never experienced a hurricane, is palpable.

Even if Houston is completely spared, it is going to take a week from Saturday until the city will be funtioning normally again.  Everything is shut down.  If the refineries, petroleum storage facilties, and batch plants are damaged it will take a long time to resupply fuel to the gasoline stations.  Not only that, but the tankers have to use the same roads everyone else will be using to try to get back home.

I will try to keep posting here (or at my blog http://beastsbelly.blogspot.com ) over the next few days to keep people informed of life on the ground.  

I heard on the weather channel that 100,000 cars could run out of gas on I10 headed for Dallas . What a disaster that would be!!
"There is no gas.  I suspect that a lot of people are running out of gas on the freeway just idling,"

I guess that the people who drive a Prius (or most hybrids, actually) are happy about their purchase now since the car shuts off the engine when the car is stop and it can move along slowly in traffic on electric power alone (saving TONS of gas in situations like bumper to bumper traffic).

I've owned a Prius since they were first released in the US. 46 mpg in Los Angeles traffic. And yes, the gas engine shuts off automatically when the car stops.

It hold slightly less than 12 gallons, thus I can go 550 miles on a tank.

Toyota has said they expect all their cars will be hybrids within the next several years.

I've got an Audi A2 1.2 Diesel who also stopps automatically the engine when pressing the brake and standing.  With me it consumes about 70 (british) MPG inner-city and 80-85 MPG combined (65 to 70 US-MPG)

Who is offering more?

One fill are slightly more than 9 gallons and it will power the car for about 600 miles.

With the aluminium alloy space frame the car is quite light-weighted and it has a world-record CW-value.

This car it's some real cool stuff :o)

There's no doubt that Europe and Asia have some greats cars, but they are simply not available (yet) in North-America (and that's a damn shame). I don't own a car and might have to get one next spring. I might go for the new Toyota Yaris or the Honda Fit/Jazz (I'm in Canada, btw).
re idling the car.  The high in Houston today is 99 degrees F.  So I suspect folks are running the engine to keep the air conditioning going.

I suspect there is an optimal speed for getting the most people out of town/hour; that they should be blocking traffic and letting bursts of cars move thru to assure the highway runs at that speed.  I wonder what the math/simulations have to say about that.

You are correct.  There is an optimal "level of service" (car density).  Too few cars on the road, and you have some people speeding, changing lanes, etc., which actually slows down traffic overall.  Too many, and it's the bumper to bumper mess we have now.  The optimal number allows traffic to flow well, but does not allow people to change lanes easily, nor to drive too fast.  As a result, everyone stays in their lane, everyone keeps up, and everyone keeps moving.

In some cities, they actually close off the on-ramps in order to maintain this optimal level of service (during rush hour, say).  After a certain point, more cars on the highway actually means less people getting out, so they don't allow anyone else on.  

this whole caper is another feather in kunstler's hat.

i can't wait to see his inevitable rant about the stupidity of the use of automobiles when fleeing disasters.

Me neither.
Oh crap Bubba...wow.  Be safe, man.
Don't forget that they'll most likely shut the refineries down completely before the storm hits and that it (apparently) takes about a week to get back up to full capacity after that. So, even if the storm turns into a Cat 1 wimp by the time it hits, there will still be a brief interruption in production.
i said it last night ... i'll say it again. this thing is turning just like katrina did ... it could hit NO a lot harder than was expected 24 hrs ago
is it me or does it look like the latest animated gif is showing Rita moving west more than northwest?
A question on natural gas:

How does our capacity to store natural gas compare to other refined products?  If our storage capacity is limited, it seems that a disruption in gas rig production and refining would have an even greater effect on supply.  It just seems that storing large volumes of gas would be costly since it is...a gas.  

Well, natural gas has more than quadrupled in price in the past 3-4 years AFAIK, so the winter will indeed be very hard if what you say is correct.
If you have a liquefier lying around you can store it as a liquid in an insulated tank.  There aren't too many liquefiers in the U.S. however; and it would be impossible in a power outage anyway.
It just seems that it would be expensive to store in liquid form in large volumes given the added energy costs.  Just speculating...
That's why you have regasifying terminals, where it's converted back into gas and a lot of the energy is recovered.  Any LNG imports go thru one of those.
Mostly, natural gas is stored in place, at least in the US.  Although there are large gas storage facilities around the country, mostly in salt caverns or in depleted natural gas reservoirs, this is mostly for advanced positioning of gas close to markets in times of high demand.  

Gas flows into pipelines from underground reservoirs mostly from its own energy of expansion.  In line compressors help some, but in many places the gas that you burn in your furnace just came out of the ground from it's original state (with minor treatment to get rid of NGL's [propane, butane etc.] -  and water) a few days before.

LNG is not very prevalent yet in the US and is only a small part of the US market.

Thanks, Bubba.  
...and stay safe.
did anyone see this 12-hour animated gif of rita?


Maybe this isn't the best place to ask this question but I really do want to know the answer to something someone said when KAC/UCF GOMEX shut in numbers first started coming out for Rita. Are those numbers exclusive of Katrina? Because they don't make much sense if htey arn't (as Katrina had something like 40-50% offline due to onshore trouble and rig damage right before Rita started tracking into the gulf).

Any help here would be great.

Nevermind... I just looked at the header for the MMS page and it said "Hurricane Katrina/Hurricane Rita Shut-in Statistics" Tadah!
but the KAC/UCF prediction numbers are independent of Katrina...
Very nice graph back at calculated risk:

I'm posting it at the new comments thread:

I astounished!

I just read this thread at Daily Kos http://dailykos.com/story/2005/9/22/12327/2685

People are stuck at the lanes to get out Houston. The cars are going out gas. These people are going be hit by the HURRICANE while they are stuck at the Highway system. That is NOT possible!

What are you doing? Where are the police? The governemnt? The Army? Are you americans crazy? Are you stupid? That people will die if they get hit by the hurricane while at the Freeway!

Before the hurricane hit the coast you will have strong winds and rain, it will be impossible to escape using the Freeway. You don't have two days to evacuate that people, you have maybe 20-30 hours. WHY YOUR POLICE DON'T OPEN THE INBOUND LANES FOR THAT PEOPLE ESCAPE? For God Sake, what is happening with USA?


the inbound lanes have opened in houston.
Never underestimate a large mass of stupid people.

Seen on a t-shirt in the subway this morning.

Look, I don't mean to be rude hear but you are an F*&%ING ASSHOLE.  

From the ground, the Houston City and Texas State governments seem to be doing a pretty good job.  The hurricane is 36 or more hours from landfall.  There are over 5 million people in the Greater Houston area.  Probably 2 million people are on the move.  They are all moving away from the coast.  It takes time to move these people.  

The inbound lanes have been converted to outbound on the biggest northbound freeway - I45.  That will happen for the other major freeways this afternoon.  There are gasoline tankers moving along the highway gassing people up that have run out.  People, in general, are showing a lot of patience.  

Looking at the traffic cameras everything still appears to be "normal" with only northbound lanes carrying traffic.


But the gulf freeway looks clear, so that's a good thing.  

For those of us not from/in Houston, which are the cameras that we should look at to see the evacuations?
I'm not from Houston, but I just saw the evac. on I-10 - Bingle.
Try I-10 Katy at TC JESTER (which if I remember is out by the airport) it looks solid as do some of the other I-10 shots, the rest seem to be running fee.


Not a resident, but frequent visitor:

I-10 Katy runs west from Downtown Houston to San Antonio and beyond.

I-45 North is heading to Dallas.

These are both key exit points.

I-45 Gulf connects downtown with Galveston (you can click on 'Causeway' and see the only bridge connecting Galveston at this end)

US-290 Northwest is the highway that heads from Houston to Austin.  You can split off of this and take another highway to Waco, College Station, etc.

Here is a google map of downtown.

If you click I-45 North at Little York, for example, you can see what I mean about the traffic.  this is the google map for that location (where the addresses are is W. Little York road) and you can see it is on the north side of town.

Hope this helps.

Bubba-We really appreciate your informed and mildly sardonic voice here on TOD. Our prayers are with you. Be safe.
Bubba -- I would not be too hard on Joao Carlos. Those of us that are not US citizens have been stunned by what we have seen of the US inability to react competently to Katrina. It is natural that we are doubtful about the success of current efforts to evacuate ahead of Rita.

It is almost impossible for us to understand how Cuba can evacuate over a million people from a whole swath of coastline for Hurricane Ivan with minimal casualties, while the US, with all your resources, was not capable of doing the same for New Orleans.

Do you understand the magnitude of what we saw?

You could not save your elderly. You could not save your sick. You could not save your poor. You did save some property -- by turning refugees back into the flood at gunpoint. You were not even capable of picking up your dead.

Is it a surprise that we anticipate the worst?

Hm. In reply to my own post: apologies, Bubba. By 'you' I did not mean 'you', or the many individual US-ians who acted selflessly to help others during the Katrina disaster.

I know that a deeply individualistic and atomized society like the US cannot be changed overnight into a cooperative one. That is too much to expect.

It is clear that lessons have been learned from Katrina, and are being applied as well as they can within your system. I hope that the current efforts to evacuate the Texas coast are fully successful, and that recent history does not repeat.

Good luck.

we are witnessing evidence of a structural flaw deliberately built into the american system. the basic motivation of america is greed, and the system was set up to individualize and isolate people so they would each have to buy their own house, car, refrigerator and crapper, which enables manufacturers of the system to sell more of what is basically--- shit.

isolating them from one another also makes them more susceptible to mass communications, and thus easier to herd around. i'm talking about advertising and politics here, which have become one and the same.

i have no illusions at all about americans retaining enough common sense to figure out how bad of a pickle they're in and doing something about it, even as evidence from katrina and soon, rita, stares them in the face in rotting stinking mile after square mile.

Can we please stop generalizing so broadly?  If America was the mess you guys describe, my wife and I would have moved to Canada a long time ago.  

Or put another way, if you want to make such sweeping statements about Americans, then please let us know where you live, if you're outside the US.  That way we isolated, atomized, easily herded, common-sense-challenged, greedy Americans can respond in kind.  If you can paint with such a broad brush, then certainly you can't object to being treated the same way, right?

As for the debacle that Katrina started, I won't begin to defend the people responsible.  If you think it's hard to believe your eyes when watching those horrors unfold from outside the US, just try to imagine what it was like for someone born and raised here.  I would like to see the people who caused this to be sent away to prison for life, preferably in an institution that was as grotesquely underfunded as were the levies and the aid to impacted people.  (There are other things I would like to see done to them, but I won't mention them in polite company.)

One last thing: I am very deeply offended by your comment that "the basic motivation of america is greed".  When you know how much money my wife and I have given over the years to help victims of various disasters, help fund research to cure disease, and help friends in time of need, then you should feel free to provide the details here (along with a very good explanation of how you got that information), and then tell us all why we didn't do enough.  Until then, this is one American who respectfully but adamantly refuses to be cast in that light.

you can be offended to the degree of your choice. i stand by my analysis.
But you don't say where you are standing.
i am an viet vet ex-marine helicopter pilot living in las vegas. in february of 1975, i was on the sea ice off mackenzie king island, north of the magnetic north pole, seismicing for natural gas so your fat ass will be safe and warm this winter.
As an American, was your motivation for "seismicing" greed or altruism?
greed, naturly
For a variety of reasons, I've never worked strictly for a paycheck.  There are times I would have been willing to work just to make some money, but all the jobs I've had were to do what I enjoy doing anyway.  
Viewing these things from the UK does bring home that,
although there is a broad range of political and social
attitudes across America, the centre of gravity certainly
more individualist and less collectivist than in Europe
and many other parts of the world. This is not a euphemism
for greed, for individually I have found Americans to be as
generous as in any country I have visited but there is
little expectation of responsibility by government (at all
levels) for implementing the policy it decrees.

In ordering the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans no one
seemed to think that it was their duty in willing the ends
to will the means. Not only was this so, but no one on this
blog, at least initially, seemed to think this surprising.
This from a blog where most contributors would, I expect,
class themselves as progressive if not leaning out the
boat a little to the port side.

I would be amazed if a European city were to be evacuated
there would not be an attempt to organise transport. I
know that the contingency plans for the flooding of
London involve the large scale commandeering of transport
of all types.

This reluctance to consider collectivist approaches
perhaps explains why, when I have brought up passenger
train travel, there has only been a muted reponse.
Passenger rail transport in Europe is booming. In the
UK it is up 40% in ten years with over a billion
passenger journeys per year. I wonder how many Americans
have tried the French TGV or the Japanese Shinkansen
and found what civilised transport can be like. Both
these systems come of course from very collectivist
countries and both from countries where much (all in the
case of France) of the electricity for them comes from
non-fossil fuel.

I realise that it would take a massive change in approch
to have huge state funded investment in a high quality
passenger train service that would attract all people
and not just those who cannot manage any alternative.
However this blog has discussed some very radical
ideas from oil wars to mass die-offs. Is the idea
so very outrageous.

Instead many contributors seem to limit their ideas to
things like hybrid cars that support the present system
with little change.

I hope this is viewed as a constructive contribution
and not an opportunity to knock Americans as it is the
restrained approach of nearly all contributors to this
blog that makes it so valuable  

Nick - I grew up in the UK but have lived in the US most of my adult life.  My perspective is that there are some not-easy-to-change things about the geography of the US that make rail travel significantly less viable here (not impossible obviously , but definitely less attractive as a transport option).  The first is the sheer size of the country - in European countries, all journey's within the country are possible within the same day and major cities are typically .  This cannot be the case in the US, so air travel is much more attractive.

Also, urban/suburban densities are much lower here (by a factor of 2-5 IIRC).  That makes rail transport less viable too, because there aren't enough people close to the stations, and/or you need a lot more rails and stations to cover a given number of people, so the finances of trains tend to be poorer (with the exception of certain older cities that are more dense and European in flavor).

American society would probably be a lot better off in the future with a more European pattern, but it's not something that can be fixed in a hurry.

greed rears its ugly head, again, in the development of american cities. the real estate people, allied with the media people, allied with the water people, allied with a coaltion of auto, rubber and construction companies, all those dictated that los angeles would become the uninhabitable jumble of freeways it has become.

it's a pattern that repeats itself in city after city, and the motivation is..... a deeply sincere and altruistic concern for the quality of human life and the environment.

One auto company, GM, started buying streetcar companies back in the 30s. They pulled up the rails and then held a big party at the edge of town in which a bonfire was made from the now useless street cars. This created a sustained a demand for GMC buses. The buses were noisier than then street cars and smelled a lot worse. This increased demand for cars among those who could afford them. Those with cars were no longer bound to living near a streetcar line and they certaintly didn't want to live on streets which had those noisy, smelly buses driving by every ten minutes. So after WWII suburban sprawl as we know it erupted.

Yes, there is a lot of room for improvement.  Those of us who would like to see constructive changes effectively have to wait until prices of the car culture raise to the point where it simply isn't viable any longer.

The country is huge - make no mistake about it.  I live on the east coast, and cities here do have less sprawl, especially in the older parts of town.  For people to take medium length trips of < ~200 miles or so, trains probably should be able to help with much of the transit.  Unfortunately as things stand now people use air travel for even these shorter trips.

To take a longer trip from NY to LA, a train trip would involve nearly 3 days of travel.  In the current economy it isn't uncommon for people to make this trip for business or whatnot.  My thinking is that in the future travel of these sorts of distances will become less common.

Rural areas are in a particular bind however as most small towns wouldn't be on a rail line (historically most rural towns did have rail service - today it is most rare).

I was not suggesting that present American passenger rail
services are going to provide much competition for road or
air traffic. It would take massive investment to bring into
being a network of high speed trains to match the standard
of France or Japan. The latest version of the TGV goes has
a service speed of 200mph. A 10 hour journey will take you
2000 miles city centre to city centre in superb style and ease. Although a plane may be quicker the difference isn't
so great after all the fuss getting to and from the airport,
checking in and getting through security.

The investment for such a network could only realistically
be expected from central government. That such ideas would
be resisted from the right and from those who do not accept
peak oil ideas is no surprise but it is sad that those who
do see the crisis coming seem so resistant to the idea of
rail transport. So many of those who preach about the
dangers of peak oil point out that transport is the
greatest problem for replacing hydrocarbon fuels and air
transport the greatest problem within that. They advocate
tinkering with the edge of the problem with hybrid cars
and hope for all the problems of hydrogen to suddenly  
be cured and grudgingly agree that this cannot be the long
term solution and resign themselves to eventual mass
starvation wars and return to a semi-feudal life

Yes, America is a big country but not that much bigger than the whole of Europe. Yes, it cannot replace all transport.
Yes, it will need local transport in diffuse towns. In
Europe streetcar like systems that use centrally generated
electricity are being preserved where they exist and
are being built anew in some places.

There are lots of problems and it requires higher taxes to
pay for them, substantial subsidies until the cost of
oil based travel becomes very much costlier and trains
become competitive, more power to central authorities
and the acceptance of travelling to time tables and in the
company of others not of your own choosing

All of which my look like mountainous difficulties and
and a direct assault on the individualistic ethos of
so much of American society but is there any easier alternative. High speed, high quality electric rail transport is a proven technology. It can be powered
from coal generated electricity in the short term and
any sustainable means of electrical generation in the

It will still need enormous changed in the way
we live and reductions in the amount of travel
but it is not a return to medieval mud and it needs
installing now when it is uneconomic and not left
until it is economic before starting or it will never be built

louGrinzo - I was born a US citizen, have lived in SE Asia, Central America, and in several places in the continental US, emigrated and took Canadian citizenship in the 1980's. As for my generalization about the individualistic nature of US society: on the Hofstede cultural traits index the US has an individualism score of 91 - the highest on the planet - with Australia the only close contender at 90. We Canucks clock in at 80. Some other highly successful capitalist countries score as low as 20.

Culture does make a difference to behavior, and I believe that the high degree of individualism cultivated in the US makes a collective response to crisis more difficult...

... and none of this analysis helps Bubba get out of Dodge.

So I'll end with:

"To all of you in the danger zone. Good luck, and take care -- and don't forget to take both Granny and Fido with you when you go!"

Right on target... But to be more fair I'd suggest that you differentiate more clearly between the people and the system. The system is built by a quite ruthless and corrupt oligarhy and is built in such way as to reproduce itself by "implanting" its core value (greed) in the minds of the people. This does not mean that it succeeds in that 100% or the people in this country are bad or something - it just means that this is what the environment is. How much an individual succeeds in resisting and defending his own set of values is up to him or her. I am personally an optimist for the USA. I think there are a lot of smart and highly moralled people here, but unfotunately the critical thinking of many of them is under deep anesthesia due to the long years of prosperity and easy living. Only a severe amount of pain can wake up this country and my hopes are that the coming peak oil (bringing at least a severe depression as a best case scenario) will do the job. God forgives but never forgets.

(sorry if I have typos, English is not my native language)

to fit into the comfortably into america's corporate system, a person must be greedy and ambitious, and any thoughts or concerns for the well-being of anything but career and company must be repressed. this is the kind of person corporate america wants, for one simple reason: their behavior and performance are quantifiable and predictable.

corporate leaders would much rather have a predictably greedy, ambitious work force than a moral, principled one, especially as stress levels mount from peak oil, the oil wars, govt failures, and the general lowering of american standard of living. the greedy ambitious people will cut any corner, tell any lie, stab anyone in the back, to get ahead. in other words, they can be relied upon to follow orders without moral qualms.

the last thing a corporate boss once is second-guessing, hand-wringing and pondering about the morality of his policies.

Isn't it obvious?  Cuba is a police state, and can relocate people as it pleases for any reason at all.

I'd like to see how a European country that's mostly dependent upon mass transit copes with something like this.

What's your definition of "police state"?
It is more that Cuba has a workable civil defense plan. People know what to do and where to go when crisis hits. That's because Cuba had a plan and told the people what the plan was - and this was done during calm times, and not announced for the first time in the middle of an impeding disaster.

Sri Lanka, a poor country, declared a cease fire in their civil war to help tsunami victims. And help them they did, quickly too.

FEMA, by contrast, seems clueless.

Enough about the traffic jams, how are these folks getting out?
It's the same story as New Orleans.  Nobody cares about the people who are too poor to afford a car or a last-minute plane ticket.  Those people are seen as expendable.

I have to say, I think that that is a red-state or Sunbelt thing.  I really think  that in the Northeast, there would be some provision made for people without cars:  trains, buses, whatever.

Actually, even in Texas, there have been buses leaving for days and there is a hotline to call for help if you aren't able to leave on your own. Nursing homes and hospitals were evacuating early, with helicopters transporting the critical patients first. The folks having problems are the ones with cars who have run out of gas on the highways. I had heard about gas trucks going to fuel up the stranded, but I'm not sure how accurate that is.
I stand corrected.  I'm glad to hear Houston is taking care of its poor and otherwise needy.
Well, we'll see just how many poor and needy people were left behind on saturday. Right now it's good to hear that they are doing more than in New Orleans, but the population figures are much bigger than in NOLA too, so even if a smaller % is left behind, it could still be a lot of people.
Trust me, Rick Perry is pulling out all the stops to improve on his 38% approval rating going into the elections next year.  If there are people left in Houston, it won't be for his lack of trying. I am thankful he is doing the right thing, but the thought of him salvaging his reelection chances is a bit distressing.
They're seen as people who don't vote.
Here's the city of Houston's category 5 storm surge map:


has there been any new forecasts of where this will land?  looks to me it gonna go between galveston and NOLA, so is that beaumont?
The NHC's most likely track is now just east of Galveston, but west of Port Arthur and Beaumont.

That would be too far east for a big storm surge into the Houston Ship Channel and the refineries there, but potentially bad news for Port Arthur, where I think there are more refineries.

Either way, it goes through a swath of offshore rigs.

Wow thanks for the map I wish I would have seen this  before I move in here I didn't know I was in the 100yr flood plane?? Well live and learn.
Anybody know whether this thing is going to hit during high tide or low tide and what impact that might have on storm surge?
Galveston (Galveston Channel), Texas
29.3100° N, 94.7933° W

2005-09-23 7:08 AM CDT Sunrise
2005-09-23 12:59 PM CDT Moonset
2005-09-23 2:57 PM CDT 0.13 feet Low Tide
2005-09-23 7:14 PM CDT Sunset
2005-09-23 11:07 PM CDT Moonrise
2005-09-24 1:57 AM CDT 1.80 feet High Tide
2005-09-24 7:08 AM CDT Sunrise
2005-09-24 1:57 PM CDT Moonset
2005-09-24 4:07 PM CDT 0.19 feet Low Tide
2005-09-24 7:12 PM CDT Sunset
2005-09-24 11:58 PM CDT Moonrise

Looks like pretty close to high tide.

O.K. -- so on Saturday morning, high tide is at 1:57 a.m. and low tide is at 4:07 p.m. That means that the longer the monster stays out to sea, the lower the storm surge.
i think the best case scenario right now is Rita stays east of Refinery-ville in texas but west of NOLA, and only damage offshore oil rigs (which Rita is gonna hit anyways).  that would be east of beaumont and west of baton rouge...
Yes, in terms of loss of life and property, which matters most.  But that would take it into the sweet spot for offshore rigs according to the Rigzone map linked in the post below.  
I haven't seen any reference to NCAR's hurricane tracking model (perhaps I missed it).
Once or twice daily the Advanced Research WRF model at the National Center for Atmospheric Research calculates a possible track over the next three days for hurricanes near the southeastern United States.
Look at Model Predicts Hurricane Rita's Path. There you will see the most astonishingly accurate picture of Rita's path that I have seen so far.
Wow, Dave.  That's a bit to the west of where they've been saying all afternoon.  

Open question: is there anywhere that compares a predicted / actual path of the various models?  Since it is almost as much art as science (it seems) to predicting where and when a storm will hit, I was wondering if they have a place to look in the rear view mirror and see which predictions were more accurate for each storm.

Thanks for the link, Dave.

NPR just reported a story saying that Max Mayfield (head of the NHC) says Rita is going to strengthen again back up to a Category 5 tomorrow.

I can't find a source link on this and the next NHC update is some hours away. Does anybody have any new information?
Look at the following discussion on the NHC site http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT3+shtml/222049.shtml
That's old news, I'm afraid. I'm looking for something fresher.
Dave here from the latest discussion from NHC http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT3+shtml/230304.shtml



I saw a brief interview with him earlier this evening.  He said that they had expected to see pressure rise within the eye, but it was instead dropping.  
there's a lot of disagreement on this notion over at the easternuswx.com, it's about half and half on the strengthening to a lower cat 5, and about half and half on a little more of a turn to the left, as the high over TX is not moving as fast as thought.

plus, Rita's being really wobbly if you watch her...apparently, that's normal for a storm of her size.

she is an amazing storm.

Truly amazing. I felt too overwhelmed all day to post. Anyway, my interest is that Rita may be a 5 tomorrow just as she's plowing through some Prime GOMEX Oil & Gas real estate. That's what Katrina did.
Peak Oil comes to Houston! Yes we seem to be
out of gas? Kind of strange for a city that was once the energy captial? Most stations empty and closed both
Shell and Texaco have shut their refinaries.
My wifes Murphy USA station sold over 44thousend
gal tuesday. Her and every other station in our area
is sold out!!
Yes the freeways are a mess but TXDOT and the Mayor of Houston are working on getting fuel and water to those stuck on the roads. The poor sick and old had been removed buy bus or plane it is those who are addicted to their cars that are having the problems. Some were ordered out others are leaving on their own and some are running out of gas on the freeway.
Helping my wife last night control traffic at the station you could see many people hording fuel.
I watched as 3 guys with diesal 4X4 trucks
bought almost 100gal of regular. One had a 55gal drum strapped in the bed. Some of the freeway are moving a about 1 mile an hour?
Me I am just going to ride it out here at the house or maybe a the shop where I work. I just hope they can get the people off the roads before it gets real bad. I have no idea when I will be able to buy gas again but it is not a problem as I really don't have anywhere to go most stores
are closed and the shop is shut down so I get a long weekend and I don't think I will be going to the beach ;-)    
Maybe they aren't hoarding.  Maybe they're expecting to ride out the storm, and they're getting fuel for their generators and chainsaws while it's still available.
I think we have a big problem coming.

I just looked at the visible storm floater loop at NOAA (http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/DATA/RT/float-vis-loop.html)
and it looks like the eye wall replacement cycle is completed and Rita has jogged well to the west of previous track in the process.  

There is again a well defined eye which probably means decrease in pressure and increase in strength.  I would not be surprised to see the official forecast track at 11:00 be centered back on Houston.  Have to wait and see and I hope I'm wrong.

To all the people posting on TOD from southeast Texas and Lousiana, I have appreciated the information but please get yourself and loved ones to someplace safe and take care over the next few days.  

I think help will be arriving faster on the backside of the storm this time.  I know my company is loading trailers to truck in repair supplies directly to our facility in Houston and were starting from more than 1000 miles away.

NC:  from an oil rig/refinery standpoint, are we better off having Rita head at Houston or at Beaumont?
sadly, I think the answer to that is yes.

there's more stationary rigs to the west, there's more floaters to the east.  if a 5 hits those concreted bastards...they're screwed right?

just to make sure i understand correctly.  more stationary rigs closer to Houston, more floaters cloaser to beaumont.  If Rita hits Houston, the stationary rigs are screwed, right?

but what about the refineries, arn't they more concentrated at Beaumont?

I don't know enough about rig location to know for sure.

But, a track to Beaumont will leave everything to the west of the eye with significantly lower wind and storm surge.


note that Rita is just about to hit some more warm water.

I'm concerned about general shape of the coastline.  A direct hit on Houston will tend to concentrate the storm surge from below Lake Charles, LA all the way to where the eye crosses.

The further east the eye goes to the east, the more east west the coast becomes, rather than southwest to northeast from Houston.

from WX Larry Cosgrove over at easternuswx.com

Some pointers I would like to mention about Rita:

  1. Dry air intrusion is not an issue with this storm. Had the hurricane taken a southward track toward the Rio Grande Valley, it might have drawn in a downsloped Mexican cTw regime that would have weakened it. But the cyclone is enclosed in its own envelope of mT values, and entrainment of lower dewpoints is not likely until the center gets into TX on Saturday.

  2. The satellite thunderstorm presentation is strengthening, but eyewall reformation is still going on. This deep monster should drop below 910MB and could get into 900MB territory before landfall.

  3. I watch with concern how some exaggerate wobbles and NWP depictions. Viewed by rotation around the subtropical high moving into the Carolinas, the landfall option (IMO) is now down to a Freeport to Port Arthur corridor. A case can be made for a left shore of Galveston Bay, but such a call would not be wise until we see ERC finished and the pace of reformation of the heat ridge in NM (which ultimately will slow or stall Rita).

  4. Calls for weakening, at least those marking degradation of the hurricane, are invalid if one considers the lack of a shearing mechanism and the very warm SSTs in the path of Rita. I am afraid that some do not want another dangerous, high impact storm affecting a highly populated area. Be it the Golden Triangle (Beaumont-Port Arthur-Lake Charles) or the Houston/Galveston metro, Rita is going to put somebody in a world of pain early Saturday morning. And I think she will be slowed by the ridge expansion to her west, implying more misery through flooding and tornadoes for E TX, SE OK, SW AR, and far W LA.

Just my two dollars...

Best Regards
Larry Cosgrove

On the satellite, she seemed to jog west again just around nightfall.  Now Galveston/Houston looks back in range again (just eyeballing the track).  She's messing with our heads.
i just saw on Fox News that members of congress wrote a letter to Bush and asked him to do something/look into Gas Stations and Oil Companies price gouging.  they interviewed a congressman and he said something to the effect that there's no  reason gasoline should be selling at $3.00/gal when price of oil is $65/barrel, oil should be at $90/barrel before gas reaches $3.00/gal...

which is frustrating to me, enrages me and baffles me.  how can our leadership be so ignorant!  so incompetent!  so stubbornly stupid!

i did some simple arithmetic.  a barrel of crude sold on the NYMEX contains 42 gallons of oil which is selling at $66.00.  this amounts to $1.57/gal of oil.  we know that a 50% of gasoline prices is contributed to price of oil.  $1.57 * 2 is about $3.00  wtf!!!

Refinery margins are much better since the refining situation is so tight (and presumably about to get tighter again).  So the refiners are getting a bigger chunk of the price of a gallon.  

Click on the "Oil Production" tab at the page above to see a good map from the NYT showing rig locations and refinery capacity and locations with Rita's path.

NEW COMMENT THREAD COMING...this will remain if you wish to use it, but the graphic will be moved to the top with a new thread...