We are thankful for the help and comments from Stacy Brodzik, Deanna Hence, Wen-Chau Lee, Angeline Pendergrass, and Michael Bell. Dr. Bell provided valuable guidance with radar data processing and interpretation. Beth Tully assisted with graphics and editing. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants ATM-0432623 and ATM-0743180 and the Department of Defense through the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program.
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We caution the reader against overvaluing the breadth of radial outflow in Fig. 10a as there is possibly a small error in the vortex center used for leg 3. During this time frame, Rita's eyewall exhibited convection spiraling into the eye, making the exact circulation center difficult to ascertain from radar reflectivity. Wind center fixes and Doppler radar data spanning the eyewall were also briefly unavailable at this time.
At the time of the observations, the 850–200-hPa wind shear vector was pointing east (89.5°) with a magnitude of 10 m s−1. Following the method of Hence and Houze (2011, 2012a,b), the shear was calculated from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) reanalysis winds in a radial ring of 500–750 km from the storm center.