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earlier burfling | later burfling

Urk.

While I'm happily out of now-Hurricane Rita's range, I have been following her progress, and in particular keeping an eye on the National Hurricane Center's advisories. And holy COW but did that storm intensify in a hurry!

The 8 AM advisory had Rita still as a tropical storm:
...RECONNAISSANCE PLANE ABOUT TO REACH RITA...WILL DETERMINE IF IT
IS A HURRICANE...
AT 8 AM EDT...1200Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.8 NORTH... LONGITUDE 80.4 WEST OR ABOUT 100 MILES ...160 KM...EAST-SOUTHEAST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA.

RITA IS MOVING BETWEEN WEST AND WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 15 MPH...24 KM/HR...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF RITA WILL BE PASSING NEAR THE LOWER FLORIDA KEYS AROUND MIDDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 70 MPH...110 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE LATER TODAY.

The next advisory, released at 11:00 AM, confirmed that Rita had graduated to hurricane status:
...RITA BECOMES THE NINTH HURRICANE OF THE SEASON...
AT 11 AM EDT...1500Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE 81.0 WEST OR ABOUT 75 MILES...120 KM...SOUTHEAST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT 100 MILES...160 KM... EAST-NORTHEAST OF THE CITY OF HAVANA CUBA.

RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH ...24 KM/HR...AND THIS GENERAL TRACK IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF THE HURRICANE WILL BE MOVING OVER THE FLORIDA STRAITS BETWEEN THE CITY OF HAVANA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS TODAY. HOWEVER...THE STRONGEST WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NORTHERN EYEWALL ARE EXPECTED TO IMPACT PORTIONS OF THE FLORIDA KEYS DIRECTLY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 85 MPH...140 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

And the very next advisory, at 2:00 PM, raised her to Category 2:
...RITA REACHES 100 MPH WINDS...
AT 2 PM EDT...1800Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 81.7 WEST OR ABOUT 50 MILES... 80 KM...SOUTH OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT 65 MILES...105 KM... NORTHEAST OF HAVANA CUBA.

RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH ...24 KM/HR...AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF THE HURRICANE WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE OVER THE FLORIDA STRAITS BETWEEN THE CITY OF HAVANA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS TODAY. HOWEVER...STRONG WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NORTHERN EYEWALL ARE EXPECTED TO IMPACT PORTIONS OF THE FLORIDA KEYS DIRECTLY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE REACHED 100 MPH...160 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS NOW A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

Fortunately, the trend of gaining one level per advisory has stopped; the 5:00PM advisory still has her as a Category 2 storm:
...RITA PASSING SOUTH OF KEY WEST...MOVING INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN
GULF OF MEXICO...
AT 5 PM EDT...2100Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 24.0 NORTH...LONGITUDE 82.2 WEST OR ABOUT 50 MILES...80 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT 55 MILES...90 KM...NORTH-NORTHEAST OF HAVANA CUBA.

RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH...24 KM/HR...AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. THIS TRACK WILL BRING RITA INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 100 MPH...160 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
But, still. That's an awful lot of intensification in an awfully short period of time.

(Oh, and an URK is just one letter shy of a URL, BTW and FWIW.)

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