Possible new thread topic: it seems to me that NOAA underestimated both Rita and Katrina. Part of that may be due to how fast they strengthened, though. Paging through the NOAA ARCHIVE for Rita, it was still a tropical storm at 5:00am on 9/20 and the prediction at that time was for a peak of 100kt winds in 72 hours and this was the discussion:dduardo said:Didn't the meteorologists say it would only get up to a Cat 3? What happened there?
At 5:00pm, winds were 85kts and the forecast peak was up to 115kts. With this discussion:RITA IS STILL EXPECTED TO REACH HURRICANE STRENGTH VERY SOON. ...... STEADY...BUT NOT EXPLOSIVE DEVELOPMENT IS LIKELY DURING
THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.... RITA IS STILL FORECAST TO BECOME A MAJOR
HURRICANE. THE MOST RECENT SHIPS GUIDANCE...HOWEVER...DOES NOT
QUITE GET RITA THERE...AND I WOULD NOT BE SHOCKED IF RITA ENDS UP
FALLING JUST SHORT OF THAT THRESHOLD.
At 5:00 am on the 21st, the winds were 105kts and the predicted peak was up to 125kts with this discussion:THE INTENSITY FORECAST IS IN BETWEEN THE GFDL AND SHIPS MODELS BUT
NOT AS AGGRESSIVE AS THE LATTER WHICH BRINGS RITA TO 125 KNOTS.
HOWEVER SUCH INTENSIFICATION IS POSSIBLE.
By 5:00 pm on the 21st (yesterday), it had blasted past the predictions and was a cat5 with 145kt winds and with no further intensification predicted. At 5:00am today, winds were at 150kt, still with no further intensification predicted. (edit: 150kts was the peak. At 11:00 today, it was down to 145kts).THE SATELLITE SIGNATURE OF RITA GIVES EVERY IMPRESSION THAT RAPID
INTENSIFICATION IS CONTINUING... THE GFDL MODEL
PEAKS RITA AT ABOUT 120 KT IN 12-18 HR...THE SHIPS MODEL PEAKS IT
AT 122 KT IN 48 HR...AND THE SUPERENSEMBLE PEAKS IT AT 131 KT IN 48
HR. THE INTENSITY FORECAST WILL BRING THE SYSTEM TO 125 KT IN 24
HR AS A BLEND OF THESE FORECASTS. HOWEVER...IT WOULD NOT BE A
SURPRISE IF RITA BECAME A CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE IN THE NEXT 24 HR
Bottom line: 36 hours after it was at 85knots with a predicted peak of 100kts, it hit 150kts. That seems like a swing and a miss to me.