Katrina Is One SCARY Storm!

August 28th, 2005

Every time I saw Wendy yesterday she’d say “Well, Katrina still hasn’t turned to the north.” I’m still not 100% convinced that she’s going where they say she will, but it’s becoming clear that she’s headed for somewhere along the Louisiana coast.

Most national news sources are covering the Katrina story, so you all probably know about the evacuation of New Orleans and that part of Louisiana. Rogers Cadenhead has a page of interesting links. Summary: New Orleans is below sea level – some parts as much as ten feet below sea level – and a direct strike by a category 4 or 5 storm could overwhelm the pumps and levees that keep the city dry.

When we drove to New Orleans last winter, I got a good look at the pipes along I-10 that carry water away from the city, and they are huge. They drain into Lake Pontchartrain, which will itself be overcome by the storm surge. If the storm strikes the city, New Orleans maybe be under water until the lake can take the overflow, which may be several days. And that assumes the levees aren’t breached. In other words, the worst-case scenario is frightening for the Crescent City.

Only three category 5 storms have made landfall in the United States since the Saffer-Simpson hurricane scale was devised. Those storms were:

  1. An unnamed storm that hit the Florida keys on Labor Day 1935;
  2. Camille, which made landfall along the Mississippi gulf coast in 1969;
  3. Andrew, which struck south Florida in 1992.

Late August, early September seems to be the time of year for these major storms. Andrew was rated at category 4 when it made landfall. Afterward, following analysis of its damage, it was upgraded to a category 5 storm.

We’re just relieved that we’re not having to prepare for a major hurricane. We’ve been very lax here. Since moving into this house four years ago, we have yet to buy any plywood to cover our windows. I’d hate to be trying to stock up on plywood during a pre-hurricane rush. Wendy and I think our next project may be to buy enough plywood and plylocks to cover all these windows. We won’t cut the wood to fit; we’ll save that work for later.

TV station WWL in New Orleans has live storm coverage available on the Internet. Or, if you prefer to view the video directly in Windows Media Player use the “Open URL…” menu command and paste in this URL:


Here are some webcams in the New Orleans area:

Who knows how long these will stay online? That probably depends on when the power fails. They should be online until dark, but probably will be offline by morning.

Update: Ernie the Attorney couldn’t make it out of New Orleans and is hunkering down in “a safe place.” For your sake, Ernie, I hope it’s a high place too. It doesn’t look good for your city. Best wishes, dude. I hope you stay well and are able to post some interesting photos. Good luck!

2 Responses to “Katrina Is One SCARY Storm!”

  1. Joe Stubbs Says:

    My heart and soul goes out to all the people who have and are suffering in this catastrophe. I hate to be a Monday morning quarterback, but I really have a several issues that I do not comprehend. I watched the news conference with Governor Blanco, Senator Landrieu, the National Guard, the FEMA representative(s), and others.

    There were several things I heard the professionals (i.e. FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers, other military-type personnel) responsible for rescuing, preventing flooding, and providing the necessities to those who are now refugees say that astound me.
    1. First, why are they just now bringing swift boats from California to assist in rescuing people and delivering supplies to those isolated. I thought that FEMA had everything positioned in adequate supply to move in as soon as the storm passed. I thought that it was a given that New Orleans might be inundated. Why wouldn’t you expect to need watercraft and have all the potentially needed craft already in position, especially if that was your profession to prepare for these things?
    2. Wasn’t it a given the fear from the beginning and even in all the doomsday scenarios that the levees would be breeched? Why did the Army Corps of Engineers decide to try to figure out how to fix such a breech, only after the fact? Why weren’t there several alternative plans already in the game plan? Didn’t the Army Corps of Engineers build these levees? What were they thinking? Maybe I have answered my own question.
    3. I also heard that they were now developing a plan to grid the area to search for survivors. Why would you wait until after the disaster to create such a plan? It seems to me the storm passed New Orleans over 24 hours ago, and the Federal officials are now making plans for how to help.
    I am truly awed at the Coast Guard rescues and other such immediate and heroic efforts. It seems unfortunate to me the management types in suits and ties had to wait until the storm passed to plan what to do about what seems to me were obviously potentially essential activities 36 hours before the storm hit.

    Posted by: Joe Stubbs at August 30, 2005 07:22 PM

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