Florida officials are desperately attempting to get individuals to leave the Florida Keys as Rita continues to gain strength and move WNW at 14mph towards the island chain. The NHC is warning individuals that Rita could be a Category 3 hurricane by Tuesday and will grow even stronger in the Gulf of Mexico later this week. The last hurricane to threaten the Keys with this kind of potential was Betsy in 1965 and Georges in 1998. Those who decide to stay in Key West during this storm risk being stranded on the island. The NHC is also starting to voice their concern today on a potential threat to New Orleans later this week. A 20 to 30 foot storm surge is to be expected on the eastern side of Rita as it makes a NW turn towards the Texas and Louisiana coastlines. All I can say is that this is a pretty amazing set of circumstances that needs to be closely watched.
You can watch live coverage of the storm from Miami on WFOR's live stream. Here is a link to a live radio stream out of Key West.