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RitaAt 1 p.m. CDT on Sept. 23, Hurricane Rita was within 190 miles of Galveston, Texas, heading across the Gulf of Mexico. Sustained winds had dropped from 175 mph Thursday to 125 mph with higher gusts. The National Hurricane Center called Rita "potentially catastophic."
In addition to the winds, 8 to 12 inches of rain are expected along the storm's path, with 3 to 5 inches of rain predicted for New Orleans. Accumulations could reach 25 inches in some areas. Coastal flooding of 15 to 20 feet above tide level is expected along with dangerous battering waves where the center makes landfall.
This satellite image from 1 p.m. CST on Sept. 23 shows the storm is already over much of Louisiana. Hurricane-force winds extend about 85 miles from the center.