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Hurricane Rita: A Comparison of Winds and Storm Surge


SE Texas Tide & Wind data graphic for Rita
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SE Texas reference map for Rita data
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The Southeast Texas graphic shows the chronology of the storm surge and surface winds as depicted by surface observations and river levels. Northeast winds prevailed before landfall with widespread tropical storm force winds (39-73 mph) beginning around mid-afternoon Friday, September 23rd. At this time, strong northerly winds resulted in gradually falling river levels. Around midnight, hurricane force winds (74 mph or greater) began pounding the coast and continued through the night. Storm surge waters reached the tide gage at Sabine Pass around 7 PM with a steady increase until the gage failed around 11 PM. The rest of the inland river gages began rising about midnight and continued until early Saturday afternoon. Pine Island Bayou River Gage continued to rise into Saturday night. Storm surge waters 5-10 feet MSL impacted the southeast Texas coastline. Actual flood levels can be obtained by subtracting property elevations above sea level.