Hurricane Rita

Hurricane Frances was the sixth named storm, the fourth hurricane, the third major hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, and the second official mission of the Cyclone Research Group. The storm's maximum sustained wind speeds were 145 mph, giving it a strength of Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The eye passed over San Salvador Island and very close to Cat Island in the Bahamas, and its outer bands also affected Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands. Frances then passed over the central sections of the state of Florida in the U.S., moved briefly over the Gulf of Mexico on the other side of Florida, and made a second U.S. landfall at the Florida Panhandle. Frances affected the central regions of Florida just three weeks after Hurricane Charley, before it moved northward into Georgia as a tropical depression.

Early on the morning of Sept 1, preparations began to assemble a team of professionals in anticipation of an intercept between the cities of Port St. Lucie and Vero Beach. This region would later be narrowed as the storm approached and the forecast track became more accurate. By that evening Tim Millar, Ryan Keelan, Trey Menefe, and Matthew Smith were enroute in "CR 1" to begin setting up for their second official mission of the 2004 hurricane season.

After a 24 hour "stall period" due to the slow track of the storm, Fort Peirce was selected as the initial intercept point with Jensen Beach and Jupiter Inlet as secondary locations for instruments to archive meteorlogical data. At 1:05 AM September 5th, the nearly 80 mile wide center of circulation was directly over "CR 1" in Ft. Peirce. To date, no other mission has experienced the eye of a storm for a duration of this extent. Total time within the eye of Frances was 6hrs 42min. As the eastern eyewall began to move ashore shortly after sunrise, the team began preparations to retrieve the remote equipment and return to Hollywood, FL

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Team Members: Tim Millar, Ryan Keelan, Trey Menefee, Mathew Smith
Units: CR1
Highest Wind: 119 mph
Highest Gust 131mph
Pressure 961 mb

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