Hurricane Rita went down in the record books as the strongest hurricane ever in the Gulf of Mexico, beating a record that Katrina had set about three weeks earlier.
While churning in the Gulf, the maximum sustained winds of Rita reached 180 mph with the central pressure dropping as low as 895 mb (26.43 inches Hg). Only Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and The Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 have been stronger hurricanes with lower pressures in the Atlantic Ocean.
Besides setting a record for being the strongest Gulf hurricane ever, this was the first time on record that two storms strengthened into Category 5 hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
Rita crashed onshore along the Texas-Louisiana border as a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph on Sept. 24, 2005.
More than 3 million Texas and Louisiana residents were evacuated ahead of Rita, which caused severe flooding in coastal areas of Texas and Louisiana. NOAA reports that storm surge of 15 feet trapped residents who stayed behind in coastal Louisiana parishes of Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Terrebonne and Vermilion.
According to NOAA, more than a million people lost power due to Rita's lashing winds. Many were in the dark for several days and weeks. Meanwhile, dozens of tornadoes touched down across the Deep South from Sept. 24-25, while the storm plowed into the Gulf Coast.
This Oct. 2, 2005 file photo shows Miguel Del-Rosal surveying the remains of his home in Cameron, La. Little was spared in the town located near Hurricane Rita's landfall. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
This NOAA image shows the scope of destruction in Holly Beach, La., in the wake of Hurricane Rita.
The next windstorm to target Europe will narrowly miss the United Kingdom on Saturday before a cold snap settles in for Valentine’s Day and Monday.
A blast of arctic air will be accompanied by flurries and even a localized wall of snow in some communities in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest at the start of the Valentine's Day weekend.
Spring of 2016 could rank in the top 10 warmest on record for Canada.
The coldest air of the winter will plunge southward across much of the eastern United States and will feature single-digit and sub-zero temperatures in the Northeast during Valentine's Day weekend.
A storm will bring snow and ice that will lead to slippery travel along a 1,500-mile swath from northern Arkansas and Georgia to Maine early next week.
Passengers on the latest voyage of Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas faced the complete opposite of a care-free, relaxing experience after an encounter with a ferocious storm in the Atlantic.
Mid Atlantic (1983)
Blizzard of 83 struck hard. Philadelphia, PA picks up 21.3' of snow, the third greatest snowfall ever recorded. 22.8" fell in Baltimore, MD. 25.2" of snow in Allentown, PA with thunder and lightening. Snow in Allentown fell at rate of 5" per hour at height of the storm. 30" bury Harper's Ferry WV. 16.6" of snow blankets the nation's capital. 22" of snow fell at NYC's La Guardia Airport.
Chicago, IL (1999)
70 degrees, new record high for date.
Alpine Meadows, CA (2001)
As much as 75 inches of snow over past 3 days.