Hurricane Rita is now impacting the Florida Keys and Cuba,and the front of the eyewall, with sustained winds at or inexcess of 100 miles an hour, is going to strike the Keysdirectly. The storm has been re-designated as a category 2hurricane, and is well organized. It is also on a coursethat will take it into the Gulf of Mexico, and it isunlikely to become disorganized during its passage throughthe Florida Straits. Once in the Gulf, the storm could wellgrow into a monster. While New Orleans is again being evacuated, the most likely landfall is Texas.

Due to the effects of Global Warming, Gulf waters remainjust under two degrees warmer than normal, and a lack oforganized high pressure moving down from the north mean that the hurricane will not only grow stronger in the Gulf, there is nothing to impede its movement. The one possibility for this hurricane weakening or breaking up as it crosses theGulf is its speed. However, it is likely that the presentprocess of crossing land areas will slow it down to about 8to 10 MPH, meaning that it will have ample time tostrengthen once it enters the Gulf.

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