Hurricane Rita is finally moving past Florida and taking aim at the western Gulf Coast. The 8:00 pm EDT advisory listed Rita a little stronger at 969 mb with sustained winds of 105 mph. Since then recon has reported a central pressure of 967 mb. Below is the latest image from the Key West radar (KEYW).
The hurricane can also be tracked using radars in Cuba.
Visible satellite shots show that the outflow from Rita has increased drastically and looks extremely healthy. Just check out that outflow to the west side. Absolutely beautiful.
Evacuation orders have begun in Texas. As listed from NWS in Houston / Galveston,
.EVACUATION INFORMATION... FOR GALVESTON AND BRAZORIA COUNTIES...VOLUNTARY EVACUATION IS IN PROGRESS. MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NURSING HOMES AND ASSISTED-LIVING FACILITIES WILL BEGIN AT 6 AM WEDNESDAY MORNING. ON GALVESTON ISLAND... BUSSES WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE ISLAND COMMUNITY CENTER ON BROADWAY WEDNESDAY MORNING AFTER 10 AM FOR PERSONS WITH NO OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. IF THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE OF RITA'S TRACK IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS...A MANDATORY EVACUATION OF GALVESTON AND BRAZORIA COUNTIES IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN AT 6 PM WEDNESDAY EVENING.
VOLUNTARY EVACUATIONS ARE ALSO IN PROGRESS THIS EVENING FOR LOW LYING AREAS OF CHAMBERS COUNTY... HARRIS COUNTY... AND THE CITIES OF HOUSTON...SEABROOK AND BAYTOWN
For those of you unsure of whether you need to evacuate, I assembled some information from the Texas Department of Safety, Division of Emergency Management. In the case that evacuation orders are issued in your area, below are maps of the evacuation zones based on the anticipated strength of the hurricane.