Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's a Five

Hurricane Rita is officially a category 5. Washington Post reports that over a million people have been evacuated along the Gulf Coast region after 165 mph sustained winds were clocked inside the storm. Forecasters are already saying that Rita could be the most intense storm ever to hit the Texas coastline. And how is our leadership responding? Checkout this gem from Homeland Security Director Chertoff:

"You can't play around with this storm," Chertoff said on ABC's "Good Morning America." He added: "The lesson is that when the storm hits, the best place to be is to be out of the path of the storm."

You don't say. Glad to see leadership is stepping up with such a precise warning. We've already had one Cat-4 storm hit New Orleans and two weeks later a cat-5 storm is bearing down on Texas and all you can say is, "get out of the way?" How about explaining what the hell we're doing to be sure we don't have a second Katrina fallout? Checking out the satellite imagery, you can't say anything but "Wow." The intensity of this hurricane is astounding. Rita could be only the fourth Cat-5 storm ever to make landfall along U.S. coastlines, joining the Florida Keys storm ('35),Camille ('69) and Andrew ('92) in an exclusive but deadly club.

Rita is moving at approximately 5 mph across the Gulf of Mexico. Why does it matter? The warm waters of the Gulf are like steroids for 'canes. The longer time it spends hovering over the warm water the more powerful it becomes. The good news is that wind speed cannot exceed 190 mph. The bad news is, if they do, it would be the strongest storm ever to hit the United States coastline and will have the strength to slam cities hundreds of miles inland as well. The other bad news? Warmer oceans make for incredibly ferocious storms. Why are oceans warming? Climate change and escalation of global warming.

Also, see the loop that Unisys has setup showing the evolution of the storm. If you look carefully, you can already see another tropical depression forming about 500 miles east of the Dominican Republic. 'Tis the season....

UPDATE: And wouldn't you know, crude oil is on the up and up.

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