September 21, 2005
This does not look good at all


If today began with a glimmer of hope for Houston, it has ended rather poorly.

The evening's last update for Hurricane Rita shows a powerful category-4 hurricane, with 145 mph winds, coming ashore between Matagorda and Freeport. If anything, the official track has nudged closer to the Houston metro area tonight.

As I wrote several months ago, this is very nearly a worst-case scenario for Houston.

If there is a reason to hope for those of us living in the greater Houston area, it's the fact that Rita still lies more than three full days away from land. Wide uncertainty remains in the forecast, and, if anything, some of the models are yet diverging.

Considerable uncertainty also remains in the intensity forecast, as Rita could still come ashore as a weaker storm.

However, it should now be abundantly clear to everyone along the middle and upper coasts of Texas that a very powerful hurricane is headed our way. The time for drinking a margarita to Rita has ended. It's time to be serious.

Storm Track:

While I am not ready to forecast a Category 5 storm yet, I definitely expect to see a Category 4. Considering that Rita is a Category 3 already, 5 seems to be very possible.


New Orleans to Brownsville remains threatened here, but I am starting to look more towards the northern part of that area. Consider yourselves warned, especially in the Galveston area and to the north into Louisiana.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty damn nervous right about now.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 21, 2005 to Hurricane Katrina | TrackBack

Charles, if you need to leave, don't wait too long. Rita's a 4 this morning and she'll keep growing before this is over.

Posted by: elgato on September 21, 2005 7:35 AM

It's a four now.


Posted by: Laurence Simon on September 21, 2005 8:09 AM

If there's one lesson from Katrina its get out early, take a few days out in the big city and get your family, staff and colleagues to do same. Evacuate voluntarily and help others evacuate.

Posted by: 100 on September 21, 2005 8:26 AM

You guys stay safe down there. If you feel like making a trip up to the Hudson Valley, our door is always open.

Posted by: Rob Humenik on September 21, 2005 9:58 AM

I'm pretty nervous for my brother and his family who live in Bay City. I'll call later today and see if he's going to evacuate and where he'll go.

Posted by: wanderingoutlaw on September 21, 2005 10:18 AM

I'm out, Kuff. Reasons are explained here.

Posted by: TP on September 21, 2005 11:18 AM

The most up-to-date information I have still has Houston being affected but still 100-150 miles away from the landfall point, which would produce effects like a Category 1 hurricane instead of a Category 4 hurricane.

If it does hit Port Lavaca/thereabouts, I would worry more about 2-3 Harris County residents deciding to hit the road at the last minute, many heading in directions that might put them in greater danger in a vehicle instead of a residence.

Posted by: norbizness on September 21, 2005 1:55 PM

Better safe than sorry, guy. Bail. We've seen 'em out here, and it's awful.

Posted by: Linkmeister on September 21, 2005 2:05 PM


I agree, but even a Cat-1 'cane will very likely knock out power in some places. And that in and of itself may be reason to bug out.

Posted by: TP on September 21, 2005 2:17 PM

It's bending more and more away from Houston.

I still get Friday off.


Posted by: Laurence Simon on September 21, 2005 2:50 PM