Hurricane Rita 2005

September 16, 2012 By: Meredith Maiken

Basic Information About Hurricanes

A hurricane is a low pressure tropical system that feeds off of warm water. Since it is a water/ocean based storm, it makes the most impact on the coast but can do major damage inland. Hurricane Camille hit Mississippi in 1969 and caused major flooding as far inland as Kentucky. Half of the 256 fatalities caused by this storm were do to the flooding inland. They can be very deadly storms so be aware from August to October which is when these monsters surface.

Image: Picture of Hurricane Rita with very clear eye. This was taken September 21 over the Gulf of Mexico.

Naming Hurricanes

A hurricane is not always called a hurricane. In the Western Pacific they are called Typhoons. There is no physical difference it is just their location. Hurricanes rarely happen on the California coast. This is due to the lack of warm water. This is because the water there is generally from Alaska. In order for a hurricane to form, the surface water temperature must be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That also explains the time of year when hurricanes occur; from the middle of august to the end of October, which is hurricane season.

The method for naming hurricanes is quite interesting. Just like typhoons and hurricanes, there is a different naming system for around the world. The "World Meteorological Organization" names hurricanes in a very organized fashion by using six lists with one list from the series for each year. Once all six lists are used, they just repeat the rotation. So therefore, the list used in 2012 will be used in 2018 and the one used in 2012 will be used in 2019 and so on. Each name is used over and over again unless a certain hurricane is majorly destructive, costly or has an exceptionally fatal impact, it will be removed from the list. In the West indies, they do not use random names. They name hurricanes after saints. This method went on for hundreds of years. On July 25, 1825 hurricane "Santa Ana" hit Puerto Rico with massive force. On September 13, 1876, San Felipe hit Puerto Rico. Then oddly enough on September 13,1925 another hurricane hit, it was named San Felipe the second. Hurricanes weren't always named after saints or names of the both genders. Clement Wremage decide to name hurricanes after females. This all changed in 1978 when men's names were added to the list.

Hurricanes are not just categorized with names, they are also categorized by wind speed. Starting off with a category one which has 75-95 mph winds, that can take the shingles off your roof. Then a more intense hurricane that can uproot trees with wind speeds that can range from 111-129 mph which is a category three hurricane. A category four hurricane can have winds as dangerous as 130-156 mph that takes the roof off your head and knocks down walls. The most deadly hurricane is a category 5 it demolishes everything in its path and leaves nothing in its wake; the wind speeds are 156+ mph.

Hurricane Rita

One category 5 hurricane was hurricane Rita. Hurricane Rita formed on September 17, 2005 as a small tropical depression near the Caicos islands and made its way to the Florida Keys and gained strength it then became a category two hurricane with gusts up to 100 mph. It was the ninth hurricane of the 2005 season. When the eye experienced a 77 millibar drop in pressure in only 39 hours. When it entered the Gulf of Mexico it became a category 5 hurricane, the third one of the season. Rita made landfall on September 21 ,2005 in the Sabine Pass near the Texas/Louisiana border. It was a category three once it made landfall.

During the massive storm 2.7 million people were evacuated. During an evacuation, a bus transporting civilians to safer grounds exploded and 24 people were killed. This happened south of Dallas, Texas. Meanwhile, in the southeast, 90 tornadoes spawned from Rita. One man lost his life due to one of these tornadoes in Mississippi. Fifty-four were killed directly by Rita, including five fatalities in a Beaumont, Texas apartment complex. One hundred-seven people were killed trying to flee the storm. So the total number of fatalities is a devastating amount of 161. In the end this costed roughly 6 million dollars.

Hurricanes are quite interesting but also quite deadly. Either a category one or five they are not something to joke about. Be prepared for hurricanes especially if you live in warm watered coastal areas. Also remember hurricane Camille that flooded Kentucky. So don't let your guard down, wherever you are.

Image:The track of hurricane Rita impacted the Dominican Republic to Indiana. It went through drastic categorizing changes.