Hurricane Rita formed as a tropical depression on September 17, 2005, east of Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It moved west-northwest and became a tropical storm over the Bahamas the next day. Rita became a hurricane on September 20 as it passed westward through the Florida Straits and into the Gulf of Mexico. Rita strengthened rapidly to a Category 5 hurricane the next day, and reached its peak intensity (178 mph wind speed, 895 millibars central pressure) late on September 21 while located about 300 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Hurricane Rita turned northwest and weakened to a Category 3 storm (115 mph) as it made landfall near Sabine Pass on the Louisiana/Texas border at 2:40 A.M. on September ...

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