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Hurricane Rita:
A Comparison of Winds and Storm Surge


SW Louisiana Tide & Wind data graphic for Rita
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SW Louisiana reference map for Rita data
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The Southwest Louisiana graphic shows the chronology of 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 mid afternoon Friday, September 23rd. At this time, strong northerly winds resulted in gradually falling river levels. About 6 PM, hurricane force winds (74 mph or greater)  began pounding the immediate coastline and continued through the night. Storm surge waters reached the tide gage at the mouth of the Calcasieu River around 7 PM with a steady increase until the gage failed around midnight. The rest of the inland river gages began rising after midnight and continued until early afternoon on Saturday. Storm surge waters 10-15 feet MSL impacted the Southwest Louisiana coastline. Actual flood levels can be obtained by subtracting property elevations above sea level.