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On the morning of October 20, cloudiness and showers associated with a low pressure area began increasing in the western Caribbean Sea, although the system did not have falling pressure at the time. By that evening the storm had begun to show more organization; however, the upper-level winds were only described as "marginally favorable" for development, and relatively dry air in the region was acting as a hindrance to development. Throughout the day on October 21, pressures began falling more and the system became more organized, while the center of the system shifted to the southwestern Caribbean Sea near the San Andrés Island. On October 22 the pressure in the system continued to fall, while the system remained nearly stationary. Since the upper-level wind had not yet become conducive for tropical cyclone development, the system remained disorganized throughout the day.
In the early morning hours of October 23 the system saw increased thunderstorm activity, and by early that evening, the system strengthened into Tropical Depression Eighteen, with winds of 35 mph (55 km/h). By late that evening the depression had already strengthened to a tropical storm and was given the name Rina. Rina slowly strengthened over warmer waters through the morning of October 24, and a few hours later reports from a Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance flight showed that Rina had rapidly intensified to a hurricane, with sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h). Satellite imagery began to show the presence of convective bands and reconnaissance flights showed that the hurricane had slowed down in its movement to the west-northwest. The hurricane continued to strengthen over warm waters with low wind shear, and by the early morning of October 25, the hurricane had become a Category 2 hurricane. Rina continued to intensify as the day progressed, as winds increased and a small eye began to develop, due to the hurricane's location over very warm ocean waters and well established upper-level outflow. The hurricane continued its west-northwestern track around a mid-level ridge to its north. Due to the favorable environment, Rina continued to strengthen through the early evening, becoming a powerful Category 2 with sustained winds of 110 mph.
However, by October 26, Rina significantly weakened, and was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane at 1645 UTC. The system was soon downgraded to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 70 mph as it began to batter the Yucatan Peninsula. Rina was later downgraded to a tropical depression just northeast of Cancun on October 28, 2011, and later that day was downgraded to a post-tropical remnant low over the Yucatan Channel, as of the final advisory at 2100 UTC.
Preparations and impact
Upon formation, a tropical storm watch was issued by the Government of Honduras from Punta Castilla to the international border with Nicaragua on October 23. On the following day, that tropical storm watch was discontinued. Although Rina moved away from the coast of Honduras, a tropical storm watch was issued for the Bay Islands of Roatán and Guanaja.
Early on October 25, the Government of Mexico issued a hurricane watch from Punta Gruesa in the municipality of Othón P. Blanco, Quintana Roo, northward to Cancún. In addition, a tropical storm watch was put into effect from Chetumal to Punta Gruesa. Later that day, the former hurricane watch was upgraded to a hurricane warning, while the latter tropical storm watch was upgraded to a tropical storm warning. In Cancún city authorities began preparing 50 shelters, and over 20 dolphins from the local marine parks were moved further inland. While crossing over the Yucatan Peninsula, Rina produced wind gusts up to 41 mph (66 km/h) and rainfall totaling to 18.90 inches (480 mm) in Cancún on October 27. In addition, wind gusts reached 43 mph (69 km/h) and precipitation amounted to 8.20 inches (208 mm) in Cozumel on the same day.
By 1800 UTC on October 25, the Government of Belize issued a tropical storm watch, which was in effect from Belize City northward to the border with Mexico. Early on October 27, the tropical storm watch was cancelled, after Rina bypassed to the east. Overall, minimal affects were reported in Belize, with Belize City recording 0.08 inches (2.0 mm) of rain on October 26.
Carnival Cruise Lines changed eight of their ships' itineraries in order to avoid the hurricane.
While weakening inland over the Yucatan Peninsula, a cold front drew moisture from Rina, which resulted rainfall over central and south Florida. Early on October 29, a flood flood warning was issued for southern Palm Beach and northern Broward County. Shortly thereafter, a flood watch was issued for the remainder of Palm Beach and Broward County, and also included Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Miami-Dade Counties. Significant amounts rainfall were reported on the west coast of Florida, with 3.92 inches (100 mm) of precipitation recorded in Naples. Further north in the Fort Myers area, approximately 2.49 inches (63 mm) of rain fell at the Southwest Florida International Airport. Widespread street flooding was reported from Delray Beach southward to Parkland and Coral Springs. Police reported overflowing canals in Coral Springs. In West Palm Beach, rainfall totaled to 2.93 inches (74 mm) of precipitation at the Palm Beach International Airport. A tornado reportedly touched-down in Hobe Sound, which damaged several houses. In addition, downed power poles and trees were reported in that area.