WeatherRita Tops Katrina
By Brian H. Tang
Late Wednesday evening, Hurricane Rita’s pressure dropped to an ear popping 897 millibars! Only two hurricanes, Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and the unnamed Florida Keys Labor Day hurricane in 1935 had lower pressures. For reference, Hurricane Katrina got down to 902 mb and the pressure in Boston is about 1015 mb. The forecast track from the National Hurricane Center takes Rita toward the upper Texas Gulf Coast somewhere near Galveston/Houston early Saturday morning which agrees with the mean track of the forecast models. Rita may weaken slightly before landfall much like Katrina did. A combination of drier air, lower oceanic heat content, and increasing wind shear may be enough to disrupt the storm. However, as was seen with Katrina, any major hurricane can still cause extreme destruction. To make matters worse, Rita may stall over the ArkLaTex region producing a major flooding event well inland.
As for our weather in New England, a cold front will move through during the day today. Despite the increase in clouds, there is only a very slight chance of a passing shower. Both Saturday and Sunday look like very nice days. It will feel like autumn on Saturday behind the front, so bring a jacket with you if you plan to be out at night. Clouds will increase late Sunday ahead of another front and will lead to a chance of rain on Monday.
Today: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of sprinkles or a light shower. High 84 F (29 C).
Tonight: Clearing skies. Low 53 F (12 C).
Saturday: Sunny and much cooler. High 66 F (19 C).
Sunday: Sunny and chilly in the morning then increase clouds late. Low 48 F (9 C). High 73 F (23 C).
Monday: Cloudy and breezy with a chance of rain. Low 59 F (15 C). High 71 F (22 C).