Join 3,430 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Katrina targets New Orleans.
August 27, 2005 6:21 PM   Subscribe

Katrina targets New Orleans. Mandatory evacuations have been declared, and contraflow evacuation routes are in effect near New Orleans, as Hurricane Katrina, a very wet, drenching hurricane, approaches the city from the Gulf of Mexico, where it is gaining in size and strength, with an estimated 45% chance of making landfall as a category 4 or 5 hurricane. The computer models suggest that New Orleans will sustain a direct hit from Katrina, which could be "The Big One" warned about by experts, capable of flooding the city, polluting it with industrial waste, and even flooding the pump stations, leaving it incapable of pumping out the water. The hurricane is predicted to make landfall early Monday near Port Fourchon, which handles approximately 13% of U.S. oil imports, and 27% of U.S. domestic production.
posted by insomnia_lj (272 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bring it, bitch.
posted by ColdChef at 6:24 PM on August 27, 2005 [3 favorites]


Gaia is angry, isn't she?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:28 PM on August 27, 2005


Where are you in Louisiana, ColdChef? Are you riding out the hurricane, or evacuating?
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:37 PM on August 27, 2005


Oh Katrina,
Are we on the final page?


Katrina, why do you hate America?

New Orleans, 1718-2005.
posted by Mikey-San at 6:38 PM on August 27, 2005


Looks like ColfChef is in Baton Rouge. I'm in Lafayette, and we're planning on riding it out here.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:41 PM on August 27, 2005


These "scientists" are just pushing an agenda. Nothing to see here.
posted by iamck at 6:44 PM on August 27, 2005


Mmm, weather...best of the web.

There should be at least a couple more before the season ends, so get read to cut and paste. And the "big one"? Almost every hurricane could be the big one. Pour me a hurricane...
posted by justgary at 6:46 PM on August 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


Who gives a crap what you think ? Not I.
posted by y2karl at 6:55 PM on August 27, 2005


Oli Storm!

(but, seriously, read the plot "synopsis...")
posted by dersins at 6:56 PM on August 27, 2005


Oil. Oil storm. $#@#%!!
posted by dersins at 6:56 PM on August 27, 2005


I'd rather see an Oli storm, actually.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 7:00 PM on August 27, 2005


The American Prospect touched on this lately: "A direct hit from a powerful hurricane on New Orleans could furnish perhaps the largest natural catastrophe ever experienced on U.S. soil."
posted by tew at 7:12 PM on August 27, 2005


Make sure to watch it live.
posted by justgary at 7:15 PM on August 27, 2005


i'm in new orleans. it is as scary as it sounds. i'm getting out soon, i think, but i know several people who are planning on riding this out. please, wish us all luck.
posted by ab3 at 7:19 PM on August 27, 2005


I was down there in 99, and we ran from Georges because it looked the same way. Georges ended up turning and hitting Mississippi instead, but it did put the fear in me. If you can get out, you'd be safer leaving, ab3. Best of luck.
posted by muckster at 7:23 PM on August 27, 2005


I've been through Andrew and now Katrina in Miami, and it is more frightening than most people realize. All of you in New Orleans are in my thoughts.
posted by mkhall at 7:31 PM on August 27, 2005


There's a hurricane heading toward New Orleans?? Why don't people tell me these things? If only there were a device that made breaking news stories easily and widely available! Ah, well, until that blessed day I'll have to rely on MetaFilter.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:34 PM on August 27, 2005


Allow me to be the first (and hopefully last) to make the obligatory "Katrina and the Waves" joke in this thread.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:34 PM on August 27, 2005


You wake up on the wrong side of the bed today, EB? The real story here is not that there's yet another hurricane ready to hit the Gulf Coast, it's that this particular hurricane is the most likely to create the worst case "filling the bowl" scenario, which will result in a lake of industrial waste.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:37 PM on August 27, 2005


I really hope it misses New Orleans. The city is below sea level. A large hurricane hitting it right on would be so devastating.

I'll keep my fingers crossed.
posted by teece at 7:38 PM on August 27, 2005


Some decent pics of Hurricane Camille ('69).

Who gives a crap what you think ? Not I.

Who are you talking to?
posted by dhoyt at 7:40 PM on August 27, 2005


I live in the French Quarter. Which, come Monday morning, might be a 18-foot deep lake of industrial waste and balls of fire ants. Maybe I'll leave town tonight, but first, it's off to Pat O's to drink some hurricanes.

The mayor was just on television giving his one-word advice to the residents of New Orleans: "Leave!"
posted by maxsparber at 7:46 PM on August 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


It'll turn east...it always does. If not, its been fun...
posted by Pacheco at 7:48 PM on August 27, 2005


Good luck to all of you in Katrina's path. Keep us posted.
posted by Space Kitty at 7:52 PM on August 27, 2005


It'll turn east...it always does. If not, its been fun...

No. West...west...west...(though you're probably right).
posted by justgary at 7:53 PM on August 27, 2005


I'm now recovering from Katrina in Fort Lauderdale. It was barely a category 1 storm when it hit us, but it caused more damage than the two much larger storms that hit us last year. Luckily the condo complex I live in never lost power but most of the surrounding neighborhoods did. We did have lots of trees down.
posted by mike3k at 8:06 PM on August 27, 2005


"There's a hurricane heading toward New Orleans?? Why don't people tell me these things? If only there were a device that made breaking news stories easily and widely available! Ah, well, until that blessed day I'll have to rely on MetaFilter."

Prick.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:07 PM on August 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


*crosses fingers, makes wish*
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:11 PM on August 27, 2005


(but, seriously, read the plot "synopsis...")

Holy crap, man, that's scary. It not only sounds mind-numbingly boring ("Watch honest Americans cope in a world with LESS OIL!"), but the resolution is an ad for the oil industry- "It's a world that does not forgo oil as an energy source, but rather creates a more healthy association with it."
posted by mkultra at 8:11 PM on August 27, 2005


"Prick."

I said, tell me something I don't know.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:15 PM on August 27, 2005


I'm strapped down here. I've got a tub of lo mein and a gin I.V.

Don't you kids worry about me. I've danced this song before.

(Still, you know, if you don't hear from me in a few days...send help.)
posted by ColdChef at 8:18 PM on August 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


mkultra:

yeah, it was pretty terrible, and very, very stupid (not the same thing...) but it does start in hurricane season 2005 with a powerful hurricane devastating nawlins and port fourchon...
posted by dersins at 8:19 PM on August 27, 2005


To those who intend to stay: what especially compels you to test your luck this time? Do you normally, say, run out into traffic to get to the other side? Yes, you've had to hear about this before, but the chance seems fairly real this time and the storm is worse than ever. Do you really love the interior of your house so much that you can't find anywhere else you could take a visit, or what?
posted by abcde at 8:34 PM on August 27, 2005


(Well, I guess it makes a little more sense if you're not in New Orleans, which appears to be the most at risk)
posted by abcde at 8:37 PM on August 27, 2005


Not everyone is able to leave. A fireman from my home town is down in Oschner's hospital in New Orleans with his 3 year old son who is suffering from liver failure.

They basically told him to abandon his son at the hospital or hunker down and ride it out.

He's a fucking fireman, what do you think his choice was?
posted by ColdChef at 8:40 PM on August 27, 2005


I was in South Florida last year for the hurricanes, and it wasn't a fun experience. It looks like Katrina was harder on my old neighborhood than either Frances or Jeanne were... a former neighbor reports that the neighborhood will be without power for the foreseeable future, and that a huge tree next door to my old house blew down, narrowly missing the place.

That being said, Fort Lauderdale will look like paradise next to New Orleans should they sustain a direct hit from this thing. If there's anyone from The Big Easy reading this who isn't out of town or bunkered down, may you and your loved ones be safe.
posted by the_bone at 8:45 PM on August 27, 2005


Here's a few notes on the hurricane so far:

My brother is on the FEMA disaster mortuary team (DMORT) and he got activated today. They told him to make sure his family is safe, but plan on being down in New Orleans this week, starting at least Tuesday.

The Superdome has been opened up to homeless people and people who can't afford to flee the city. If the city goes under, so will at least half of the Superdome (a situation my brother refers to as "Stiff Soup").

It took two of my friends four hours to make the one hour trip out of New Orleans, and they consider themselves lucky. Last time, the same trip took 10 hours.
posted by ColdChef at 8:45 PM on August 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


Oh, and also, as far as evacuations go, this is probably the smoothest and most well organized evac that New Orleans has ever seen. So, they've got that going for them...
posted by ColdChef at 8:48 PM on August 27, 2005


Do you really love the interior of your house so much that you can't find anywhere else you could take a visit, or what?

Just to give you a bit of perspective, if you do evacuate New Orleans, and you're looking for a hotel room, you'll probably have to go as far as Houston, Dallas, or Little Rock, all more than six to eight hours away. And with gas over $2.50...well, fleeing can be pretty damned expensive. Not as expensive as death, I'll give you that, but not cheap either.
posted by ColdChef at 8:51 PM on August 27, 2005


I am so sick of activist metrologist. I pray that God replaces them with scientists that follow His law.

[Good luck to all that are down south. We're thinking of you up here in New England :)]
posted by johnj at 8:52 PM on August 27, 2005


Good luck, babies! I was born & raised there and every single storm season brought the fear of the Big One -- there were two pretty damned big ones just after my birth and 4 years later (Betsy & Camille), and that sure made people take this stuff seriously. (Those of you from New Orleans may also have baby pictures taken in a canoe in the aisles of Schwegmann's ....)

If you don't have a canoe or such, look for an air mattress or innertube or anything that floats. It's all fun and games until there's 10 feet of water between you and the ground.
posted by kenlayne at 9:05 PM on August 27, 2005


Ain't got no picture postcards. ain't got no souveniers. My baby, she don't know me when I'm thinkin' bout' those years
posted by smcniven at 9:09 PM on August 27, 2005


I spend a lot of time in Port Fourchon, waiting for helicopters to take me south or for cabs to take me north. One of the things that has changed a lot around there over the last few years is the number of new houses built directly on the ground - the older ones are built up.
The guy who drives the cab (Gerry, I hope you're OK) curses them every time he sees them. If that mess of air hits Fourchon a lot of people are going to be homeless.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:18 PM on August 27, 2005


you'll probably have to go as far as Houston

Y'all can stay at my place!
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:19 PM on August 27, 2005


The mayor of NO is considering the cities' first ever mandatory evacuation.
Nagin said anyone trying to stay in a city hotel or hoping for an opening of the Superdome might want to think again.
According to Nagin, if 18 to 20 feet of water came into the city it could be six or seven weeks to restore power and the Superdome and hotels would grow uncomfortable.
Yikes. I really hope you folks down there make it through this OK.
posted by teece at 9:20 PM on August 27, 2005


A few more details:

We just got put under the "Hurricane Warning" which means that it's almost certainly going to hit right here. Fearing tornados and flying debris, they've asked people to clear their yards of trash and sink all their pool furniture in their pools for safekeeping.

Grand Isle (just off the coast of Louisiana) has about 750 residents who are unable to leave. Plans are being made to evacuate them, but it looks like it may be logistically impossible. This is very bad as they are in the direct path.

Tomorrow they may institute a "Mandatory Evacuation" of New Orleans. This has never been done before, and the drunken, stubborn residents of New Orleans are likely to fight it. (I say this as a stubborn drunk that has weathered many hurricanes in the wrong way). Right now, the evacuation is suggested, but not yet mandatory.

What is almost certain is that something will happen tomorrow that has almost never ever happens: Cafe du Monde will stop serving beignets, at least for a day or two. And that, my friend, is scary.
posted by ColdChef at 9:28 PM on August 27, 2005


I'm on my way, WolfDaddy!
posted by ColdChef at 9:29 PM on August 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


More about the evacuation of New Orleans: they beauty that is Contraflow. (Doesn't that sound like a pre-50's menstrual aid?)
posted by ColdChef at 9:33 PM on August 27, 2005


If God destroys NoLa then the terrorists have won.

Seriously, be safe down there. I was born in Zachary, but haven't been back for a long while--was planning on a visit in January with my Dad.
posted by bardic at 9:36 PM on August 27, 2005


I'm near Zachary. If your dad needs anything, email me. I've got some serious connections with disaster relief agencies. Comes with the job.

Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but i'm drinking heavily right now.
posted by ColdChef at 9:40 PM on August 27, 2005


Everytime a hurricane is near New Orleans, they worry that it's the big one. But it would take a direct hit to flood the city, and that's just not that likely.
posted by smackfu at 9:42 PM on August 27, 2005


Ummm. Check the trajectory map. Dead center.
posted by ColdChef at 9:43 PM on August 27, 2005


Hi there.
posted by ColdChef at 9:44 PM on August 27, 2005


Fuck. Are your wife and daughter out? What about the rest of your family, dammit?
posted by yhbc at 9:46 PM on August 27, 2005


Looks like somebody's gonna have a case of the Mondays.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:47 PM on August 27, 2005


My brother is a trucker driver and was just contracted for FEMA. He is awaiting a phone call to find out where he is needed. He's waiting, (I think) in Atlanta, but there is talk of moving them further West so they can get there faster. He said at least 100 rigs are waiting, plus they are adding another 50-75.

May you all be safe.
posted by 6:1 at 9:48 PM on August 27, 2005


Hurricane tracks with key oil terminals marked.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:50 PM on August 27, 2005


We're all here, but we're all together. My family helps run the local food bank, so we're kind of tied to the area. Plus, my father and my brother are both firemen, my sister-in-law is a nurse and an ambulance driver, so we pretty much thrive on chaos.

We're hopefully far enough inland that we won't get storm surge, and the flooding around us should be minimal.

We are worried about tornadoes and other wind related nastiness, but our funeral home is built like a bunker.
posted by ColdChef at 9:51 PM on August 27, 2005


good luck and get the hell out if you can ... this looks bad ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:54 PM on August 27, 2005


Univeristy assessment of "Worst Case" Scenario

Scary stuff, especially when you get down to this:
If a hurricane of a magnitude similar to Ivan does strike New Orleans, the challenges surrounding rescue efforts for those who have not evacuated will be different from other coastal areas. Rescue teams would have to don special breathing equipment to protect themselves from floodwaters contaminated with chemicals and toxins released from commercial sources within the city and the petrochemical plants that dot the river’s edge. Additionally, tank cars carrying hazardous materials, which constantly pass through the city, would likely be damaged, leaking their contents into the floodwater and adding to the “brew.” The floodwater could become so polluted that the Environmental Protection Agency might consider it to be hazardous waste and prohibit it from being pumped out of the leveed areas into the lake and marshes until treated.
posted by ColdChef at 10:17 PM on August 27, 2005


Good luck, ColdChef, and everyone in NO.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:19 PM on August 27, 2005


You might want to purchase a couple life-preservers, or even a small inflateable raft, CC.

You couldn't pay me to live below sea-level in a hurricane area. Well, again anyway.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:23 PM on August 27, 2005


From that same linked page:
If Ivan had struck New Orleans directly it is estimated that 40-60,000 residents of the area would have perished.
Fuck. That's unimaginable for the developed world in this day and age. Terrifying.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:28 PM on August 27, 2005


You know how I posted that there was a 45% chance of Katrina coming in as a cat-4 or cat-5? Looks like the National Hurricane Center just raised that to 50%.

Meanwhile, Forecaster Avila gives us some straight talk:

"(KATRINA) HAS BEEN CHANGING FROM A COIL TO A RING OF VERY DEEP CONVECTION THROUGHOUT THE EVENING. . . . THIS PATTERN...IN COMBINATION WITH THE HIGH OCEANIC HEAT CONTENT...FANCY WORDS FOR A WARM OCEAN...ALONG THE PATH OF KATRINA...CALLS FOR ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING . . . . THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT KATRINA IS EXPECTED TO BE AN INTENSE AND DANGEROUS HURRICANE HEADING TOWARD THE NORTH CENTRAL GULF COAST...AND THIS HAS TO BE TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY."

"A warm ocean" sounds a bit like global warming climate change, doesn't it?! Fortunately, global warming was eliminated with the Bush administration, which means we can all embrace the bright, sunny future of climate change.

Live in the path of Katrina? Perhaps it's time to talk to your lawyer...
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:41 PM on August 27, 2005


Daily Lush on the hurricane. (Self link)

And now, to make plans to get the fuck outta dodge.
posted by maxsparber at 10:43 PM on August 27, 2005


No, "warm ocean" sounds like "warm ocean" to me.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:44 PM on August 27, 2005


The radio just said that the National Hurricane Center is preparing to upgrade this hurricane to a Category 4. Bad news.
posted by ColdChef at 10:50 PM on August 27, 2005


Very nicely written. (A "to/too" typo, though.)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:51 PM on August 27, 2005


Got it. Thanks.
posted by maxsparber at 10:53 PM on August 27, 2005


i've heard there are nearly 100,000 people here with no mobility - no car, no way to evacuate. which is why we've never had a "mandatory evacuation" - it's pretty much impossible.

the mayor has already put his family on a plane out of town. The head of the NOAA just called him and told him we could have a 25 foot storm surge - and our levees are built for 12-15. They're talking about putting people on buses and trains - anything to get them out of the city - and what may in a few hours be the city's first mandatory evacuation in history.

god.
posted by ab3 at 11:01 PM on August 27, 2005


Additionally, tank cars carrying hazardous materials, which constantly pass through the city, would likely be damaged, leaking their contents into the floodwater and adding to the “brew.”

Don't forget the fire ants all clinging together and floating around in big red balls stinging people.

Last years version of "the one".

Fortunately, global warming was eliminated with the Bush administration, which means we can all embrace the bright, sunny future of climate change.

Must everything be politics with you? Hate to break it to ya, but camille came long before a bush came to d.c.
posted by justgary at 11:03 PM on August 27, 2005


fuck, i never got to see New Orleans.
posted by keswick at 11:05 PM on August 27, 2005


Buy some diving equipment.
posted by maxsparber at 11:06 PM on August 27, 2005


Actually, now that I look at the current map projecting what sort of flooding would happen, most of the areas around downtown, including the French Quarter, are spared. The 9th Ward, on the other hand, and areas around the lake, would be hit really hard.
posted by maxsparber at 11:21 PM on August 27, 2005


Okay, I'm going to bed, because I've read too much of this and I've freaked myself out.

I'll check in when i can.
posted by ColdChef at 11:21 PM on August 27, 2005


Good luck to all of you in New Orleans. Be safe.

Though it might be premature -- the worst case may not actually obtain -- but, how have we made this worse?

First is the issue of the levees. New Orleans is below sealevel because the Mississipi delta continually subsides as the river sediments in the delta dewater and compact. Without regular floods to deposit sediment on the floodplains, the land is cut off from its source of sediment, but continues to subside. Because of this, New Orleans is right now primed for a big storm to create massive damage. If Katerina veers east, we will all breathe a sigh of relief, but eventually the reckoning will happen. Its not nice to fool Mother Nature.

Second: what about climate change? A recent paper by Kerry Emmanuel in Nature showed that while the number of tropical storms hasn't increased in concert with (anthropogenically driven) climate change, the intensity of these has. See this link for a roundup and further links.

This isn't politics or another opportunity to bash BushCo. Its recognition that as a species and a society we have had a major impact on the workings of our planet and yes, there are bad consequences.

Maybe this storm will veer east at the last minute, and the storm surge won't overtop the levees. Those who didn't flee will be spared, and some may even feel a little smug. Eventually, however, sooner or later, this will happen. On the eve of that storm, the drunks will still be having "Hurricane Parties", the reality deniers will be as resolute in their stubborness.

(And: nice writing maxsparber)
posted by bumpkin at 11:49 PM on August 27, 2005


Thanks.
posted by maxsparber at 11:53 PM on August 27, 2005


i've heard there are nearly 100,000 people here with no mobility - no car, no way to evacuate.

Amazing, isn't it? The federal government will probably come up with a couple hundred million dollars for disaster relief after the hurricane hits, but can't send some goddamned busses down there to evacuate everyone too poor to leave before it strikes?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:59 PM on August 27, 2005


Be safe, ColdChef & co. As someone who lives in hurricane country I know the mania that precedes these big storms.

The Weather Channel has wall-to-wall coverage of Katerina, of course. I'm just waiting for them to show Anderson Cooper almost being taken out by another hotel sign in his quest to "report live from the scene."
posted by somethingotherthan at 12:16 AM on August 28, 2005


If Katerina veers east, we will all breathe a sigh of relief

Except for those of us on the east side of new orleans. A cat 5 storm will be devastating no matter where it hits, levee or no levee.

Second: what about climate change? A recent paper by Kerry Emmanuel in Nature showed that while the number of tropical storms hasn't increased in concert with (anthropogenically driven) climate change, the intensity of these has. See this link for a roundup and further links.

I personally have little doubt that climate change over many years is involved. However, after reading your link, along with opposing views, it really only suggest that you might be right.
posted by justgary at 12:17 AM on August 28, 2005


Civil_Disobedient writes "can't send some goddamned busses down there to evacuate everyone too poor to leave before it strikes?"

Some rough numbers: Assume school buses capable of transporting 66 people at a time. Assume shelters are available within 2.5hrs one way your looking at a round trip every 6 hours or so (is it even possible to drive into NO at this time?). Assume 3 drivers are available for each bus so buses can run 4 trips a day. That's 264 evacuees per day. Assume two days for evac. That gives 530 evacuees per bus. You'd need 189 buses and 567 drivers.

But people aren't going to want to leave so your first trips will probably be delayed or ran under capacity. And like ColdChef has indicated that outbound 2.5hrs is completely unrealistic. stretch that to shelters at 7 hours out and 3.5 hours in and your looking at only two trips per day. Those kind of numbers would mean 379 buses and 758 drivers. The NOPS district only has 75 bus routes so they're going to need help from the transit authority and probably charter operators. You also need lots of people organising.

Still I wonder how much saving $10-20 million up front by not transporting those without transportation will cost them down the road, assuming the worst happens.
posted by Mitheral at 12:43 AM on August 28, 2005


Still I wonder how much saving $10-20 million up front by not transporting those without transportation will cost them down the road, assuming the worst happens.

Maybe I'm missing something, but how would evacuating everyone save money? Lives, yes (or is it lives that you were talking about). But money? It's the rebuilding that costs millions, and evacuating does nothing to prevent damage.
posted by justgary at 12:59 AM on August 28, 2005


Amm, medical bills for the injured survivors?
posted by c13 at 1:17 AM on August 28, 2005


Warning, all numbers pulled out of my butt: Let's assume it costs $150 to transport a person to a shelter and then return them after the emergency. Most of those unable to leave on there own are of limited means which will mean a government somewhere will be paying for interment of the bodies and/or medical treatment and/or temporary housing/food in a disaster zone. If the state is ultimately responsible for 50,000 bodies and it costs $500 a piece for internment you've looking at $25 mil for doing nothing vs $15 mil for transport. Plus other costs, lawsuits if nothing else.
posted by Mitheral at 1:23 AM on August 28, 2005


Weather.com is reporting this as a fullscale Category 4 now, winds around 145mph.
posted by adzm at 1:24 AM on August 28, 2005


Ball of fire ants. Intimidating picture!
posted by adzm at 1:35 AM on August 28, 2005


Ok -- flood, oil prices, and fire ant balls. What a grim picture. That fire ant ball is truly something that should not be.
posted by rolypolyman at 1:40 AM on August 28, 2005


ColdChef said FEMA disaster mortuary team (DMORT).

I googled that. I am a little depressed that it means exactly what I think it means. What a fun department. God bless 'im.
posted by cavalier at 1:51 AM on August 28, 2005


And a quick aside -- I know we'll all be refreshing this today -- but hey EB, thanks for coming around!

CC - your case of the monday's line was well needed.
posted by cavalier at 1:53 AM on August 28, 2005


as far as the buses argument goes, what appears to be happening on the ground here - or at least what the local news is reporting live at 3:45am - is that if a mandatory evacuation is declared, they'll be commandeering city RTA buses and heading them out of town filled with those unable to evacuate themselves. also, the superdome will be opened as a shelter of last resort...
posted by ab3 at 1:56 AM on August 28, 2005


also, when i said earlier that
i've heard there are nearly 100,000 people here with no mobility - no car, no way to evacuate.
i was wrong.
according to the news just now, the number is between 150,000 and 200,000.
which is at least 1/3 of the population of the city proper.
posted by ab3 at 2:00 AM on August 28, 2005


oh, and to go with that tragically hip song, there's also the randy newman one.
posted by ab3 at 2:07 AM on August 28, 2005


"but hey EB, thanks for coming around!"

I still don't think this should have been posted, but that's a completely different matter than being concerned about the situation and caring about those affected. Also, I (grudgingly) accept Matt's exception for "big news events", but when this post was made, it wasn't yet. In fact, I think anticipating that it would be is exactly the kind of mindset that should be greatly discouraged.

But again, this is shaping up to be a very serious situation and my best wishes go out to all those in NO tonight.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:26 AM on August 28, 2005


EB, you may have a point about the original post, but IMHO justgary's link to the N'awlins live webcams definitely makes the thread "best of the web," under the circumstances, for the next 24-48 hours. Best wishes to anybody who can't leave.
posted by jfuller at 5:10 AM on August 28, 2005


Category 5 now? Oh dear...
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 5:15 AM on August 28, 2005


Yeah. 160mph sustained winds now and the conditions are good for it to continue growing and strengthening. Nasty.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 5:37 AM on August 28, 2005


000
WTNT42 KNHC 281204
TCDAT2
HURRICANE KATRINA SPECIAL DISCUSSION NUMBER 22
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
8 AM EDT SUN AUG 28 2005
THE PURPOSE OF THIS SPECIAL ADVISORY IS TO REVISE THE INTENSITY OF
KATRINA TO CATEGORY FIVE. AN AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT
REPORTED A PEAK 700 MB FLIGHT-LEVEL WIND OF 153 KNOTS...WHICH
CORRESPONDS TO MAXIMUM SURFACE WINDS OF ABOUT 140 KNOTS.
OBVIOUSLY...THE BIG QUESTION IS HOW STRONG KATRINA WILL BE AT
LANDFALL. WE HAVE VERY LIMITED SKILL IN PREDICTING THIS.
FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY...DUE TO EYEWALL REPLACEMENTS...ARE
LIKELY DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. NEVERTHELESS...KATRINA IS
EXPECTED TO BE A DEVASTING CATEGORY FOUR OR FIVE HURRICANE AT
LANDFALL.

NO CHANGES TO THE TRACK OR WIND RADII FORECASTS HAVE BEEN MADE.
FORECASTER PASCH/KNABB

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 28/1200Z 25.7N 87.7W 140 KT
12HR VT 28/1800Z 26.3N 88.4W 140 KT
24HR VT 29/0600Z 28.0N 89.4W 140 KT
36HR VT 29/1800Z 30.0N 89.8W 135 KT
48HR VT 30/0600Z 32.3N 89.3W 65 KT...INLAND
72HR VT 31/0600Z 37.5N 86.0W 35 KT...INLAND
96HR VT 01/0600Z 42.0N 79.0W 30 KT...EXTRATROPICAL
120HR VT 02/0600Z 47.0N 70.0W 25 KT...EXTRATROPICAL

---------------
140kts=160mph. The bolded line (emphasis mine) is landfall. If you are in New Orleans, get out. Don't fuck around. This storm is acting like it's being plotted by Hollywood.

There's nothing inbetween this storm and the big easy but warm gulf water -- which is gatorade for Hurricanes. The only variations in strength will by eyewall replacement cycles.
posted by eriko at 6:12 AM on August 28, 2005


NOVA Science Now:
See the 12-minute broadcast segment on how the ability to predict a hurricane's path and intensity affects cities like New Orleans.
50,000 dead...a million homeless. Skip over the the Robert Krulwich intro to get right to the graphic demostration of how deep the water will be on the French Quarter.
posted by squink at 6:37 AM on August 28, 2005


Really scary stuff here about the likelihood of Katrina becoming an annular hurricane--the kind that maintains much of its intensity at landfall, instead of weakening. Dr. Jeff Masters of Wunderground says "she could easily be the third or fourth most intense hurricane ever, later today."
posted by Kat Allison at 6:43 AM on August 28, 2005


What happened here? A day ago this was a category 1 with a bunch of rain. I've seen the explanation that this picked up energy from warm water but this storm underwent a dramatic change in a days time. I know that hurricanes are unpredictable but I thought we understood them well enough that we would have had more a days warning. Is it that the time over warm water makes the storm so hard to forecast?
posted by rdr at 6:48 AM on August 28, 2005


Christ! 160mph winds are tornado strength. Big tornado strength. Over about a million times more area.

ColdChef, leave.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:58 AM on August 28, 2005


I think everybody should check out the video which squink posted a couple of posts up....it's damn scary especially as it aired in January and basically describes what is happening now and may do in the next couple of hours. I really hope Katrina moves east or west. I'm writing from the UK and have never experienced a hurricane. I seriously hope you folks in NO ride it out ok. Good luck ColdChef and the others riding this one out.
posted by mikeanegus at 7:00 AM on August 28, 2005


Another NHC update :

000
WTNT62 KNHC 281117
TCUAT2
HURRICANE KATRINA TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
615 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

...KATRINA NOW A CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE WITH 160 MPH WINDS...

...AT ABOUT 605 AM CDT... 1105Z... AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE
AIRCRAFT REPORTED THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS IN HURRICANE KATRINA
HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 160 MPH. KATRINA IS NOW EXTREMELY
DANGEROUS CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE ON THE
SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE
.

FORECASTER KNABB
posted by mikeanegus at 7:06 AM on August 28, 2005


I'm still reading up on this, and I am not a meteorologist, but here's my current understanding :

The strength of Katrina is mostly dependant on three variables - the organization of the circulation around the eye of the system, the height of the system's convection, and where exactly it is in the 'eyewall replacement cycle'. Big words, I know. What happened with Katrina was that it was never well-organized for a storm of its size, up until the eye reappeared at the end of the replacement cycle. (I don't understand what happens during the cycle, except that the storm loses organization, the eye disappears, and the storm weakens... and then the eye reappears, the storm gets huge, etc.) At any rate, when the eye reappeared at night, it was much more well-defined, indicating that the storm was suddenly much more organized. That led to a drop in pressure (down to 910 millibar!) and an increase in strength.

(When you hear people talk about the organization of a storm, imagine a car engine that's made out of smoke. The better organized that engine is - the more that you have cylinders and pistons made of smoke instead of a fuzzy smoky mass - the better the engine runs. In the case of a hurricane, that means that the circulation and convection happens in clearly defined layers.)

Factors such as warm water do count, quite a bit, but they aren't variables - I mean, we know how warm the water is, we know the temperature isn't changing beyond what we expect, and the models handle that well.

The best models currently have Katrina hitting the western Mississippi Gulf Coast, with Grand Isle getting slammed first.

I'm gonna keep on reading what I can, and then I'm off to board up. This was posted from Cafe Envie, Barracks and Decatur, in the French Quarter.
posted by suckerpunch at 7:07 AM on August 28, 2005


"50,000 dead...a million homeless."

I'm tentatively accepting this possibility as valid, but I'm still having trouble with it. If this were to come to pass, it'd be hard to overestimate just how truly momentous this would be.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:08 AM on August 28, 2005


Best wishes to Mefites down there, but please leave!
posted by bardic at 7:18 AM on August 28, 2005


Good luck, suckerpunch.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 7:27 AM on August 28, 2005


An interesting note - with all this talk of the FEMA bodybags being readied, anchorwomen with dialated eyes and massive foreheads panicking on live television, etc., you know what has been the one piece of information that has caused the most terror?

The Wal-Marts shut down yesterday.

Swear to God, you tell anyone that an inescapable wave of death is coming but the Wal-Marts will be open, they'll be a little scared, but they'll get over it. You say that everything will probably be fine but the Wal-Marts have closed just in case, everyone just goes into a panic.
posted by suckerpunch at 7:28 AM on August 28, 2005 [1 favorite]


sorry for the late post. we did this last year, no?
i just wanted to say , good luck new orleans!!
posted by nola at 7:34 AM on August 28, 2005


The Wal-Marts shut down yesterday.

Snakes on a motherfucking plane.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:40 AM on August 28, 2005


Sucker, and all you others--they're keeping the Superdome as a shelter just in case--if it's sturdy, go there.

It's going to be bad. stay safe.
posted by amberglow at 7:42 AM on August 28, 2005


For those who are interested, I'll be collecting the firsthand accounts of LiveJournal users effected by Katrina in my journal (obvious self-link), as I've done in the past for Hurricane Charlie and the massive tsunami in Asia last year.

I strongly encourage everyone in the storm's path to evacuate, but if you are going to ride out the storm, you may be able to reach me via email at insomnia @ livejournal.com while you still have power or phone service, in the event that you'd like to relay news, messages, and information. I'll once more be relaying emergency information, eyewitness reports, and try to get people in touch with friends and family, as needed.

In addition, I encourage those who can to monitor the hurricane watch net, which will be broadcasting on 14.325 MHz as of Sunday at 2:00 pm CDT. They will be collecting firsthand accounts from the affected area, and will be communicating information to and from official agencies such as FEMA and the Red Cross.

Good luck out there...!
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:45 AM on August 28, 2005


Walmart would stay open during the apocalypse.

I read that there are mandatory evacs in place now all along the coast. Godspeed.
posted by strikhedonia at 7:48 AM on August 28, 2005


"14.325 MHz"

Could someone put this on the web, please?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:49 AM on August 28, 2005


CNN just said it's up to 175mph.
posted by amberglow at 7:51 AM on August 28, 2005


I read that there are mandatory evacs in place now all along the coast.

Yep ... just announced: "Mayor Ray Nagin [has] ordered an immediate mandatory evacuation Sunday for all of New Orleans."
posted by ericb at 7:58 AM on August 28, 2005


I've been a MeFi reader for years but I signed on today for a reason - I am now asking for couches to crash on, since I have to plan for an evacuation now. (In every other hurricane scare I've been in - Georges up 'till now - I never even packed a suitcase.) Anyone up Jackson way, drop me a line.
posted by suckerpunch at 8:09 AM on August 28, 2005


(You are now entering the Andrea-is-logical Zone. Warning.)

I am going to post this to be Yet Another Voice - it is time to leave New Orleans. Yes, gas is getting near $3/gallon, but consider the time and money spent to leave a three-day insurance policy, and it is some of the best time and money you've ever spent, right?

And, on a grander scale, consider this my cold-and-calculating statistic: 9-11 happened and it was very bad for the economy. That day, under 3000 people died. Infrastructure was hurt, but it only took six months to get back to basics there. If Katrina hits as hard as it might, right over NO, *poof*.

Ignoring the untold thousands of dead, what happens when the gatemouth to the Mississippi is "out of order"? The economy is going to take another huge, huge hit. The cleanup, the repairs, it goes on and on.

(Please understand that I know death is death, and it sucks all the way around. But before anyone dies from this storm, I want to look at this stuff -- it will be much harder to do so later.)
posted by andreaazure at 8:12 AM on August 28, 2005


And while I was composing, the mayor made it offical.

Mayor's opinion > Andrea's opinion...
posted by andreaazure at 8:15 AM on August 28, 2005


I am now asking for couches to crash on, since I have to plan for an evacuation now.

MeTa.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:22 AM on August 28, 2005


Katrina is a terrorist, that's for sure. Not to sound callous at the almost assured loss of life -- but gas is going to skyrocket. I hope Bush releases some of those petroleum reserves for a month or so until everything hopefully gets back online.
posted by geoff. at 8:32 AM on August 28, 2005


"The economy is going to take another huge, huge hit. The cleanup, the repairs, it goes on and on."

Not to derail, but to what other hit(s) does "another" refer? The US economy is doing extremely well these days. Gas supply? What's the "other"?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:46 AM on August 28, 2005


Worth repeating—find the latest Hurricane Katrina advisories, forecasts, charts, and maps here:

NOAA National Hurricane Center
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

The Discussion is perhaps the best summary.
posted by cenoxo at 8:46 AM on August 28, 2005


Just waiting for Pat Robertson to say that an other city of sin is about to be punished.
posted by NewBornHippy at 8:51 AM on August 28, 2005


Sucker, have they announced buses or anything going north or west for city residents?
posted by amberglow at 8:52 AM on August 28, 2005


This mandatory evac order - does that mean people are going to be hauled bodily out of their houses and shoved onto buses? I hope so, for ColdChef's sake and others.
posted by paperpete at 9:00 AM on August 28, 2005


Amberglow - the only thing I am aware of is that the Superdome has been opened as a last-resort shelter, with busses picking people up from schools scattered throughout the city. There is no mention of anything else.
posted by suckerpunch at 9:00 AM on August 28, 2005


they ought to get every bus in the city comandeered and just get people out of there. even boats and barges up the Mississippi would work.
posted by amberglow at 9:15 AM on August 28, 2005


You can listen to the hurricane watch net's live stream, btw... but for obvious reasons, it's not much more than the occasional bleep right this second.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:16 AM on August 28, 2005


For those trying to get more insight into the forecast, I find
flhurricane.com to be a good resource for this and other storms -- mets often post to the discussion board and a few have blogs. The front page has a running list of related resources to Katrina and NOLA.

Camille was before my time and I've been hoping I wouldn't see anything similar in my lifetime. However, Donna was also before my time, and probability certainly caught up with my central FL town last year. Best wishes to all those in Katrina's path.
posted by Sangre Azul at 9:18 AM on August 28, 2005


The Superdome has been opened for people with special needs and as a shelter of last resort. Residents should call (504) 568-3200 to reserve space in this shelter.
posted by amberglow at 9:23 AM on August 28, 2005


from the NWS in Lake Charles LA:
1045 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005
...THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE 
RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT WAS 903 MB...26.81 INCHES. UNOFFICIALLY... 
KATRINA IS NOW THE FOURTH STRONGEST HURRICANE (BASED ON LOWEST 
PRESSURE) IN ATLANTIC BASIN HISTORY.
For comparison:
GILBERT (1988) 888 mb
ALLEN (1980) 899 mb
CAMILLE (1969) 905 mb
MITCH (1998) 905 mb
ANDREW (1992) 922 mb
posted by QuestionableSwami at 9:25 AM on August 28, 2005


ParisParamus: The "other" hit in this case refers to Q4 2001 and Q1 2002, when the economy took a pretty nasty tumble due to a "perfect storm" (mind the pun): the Enron/Worldcom fallouts, 9-11's direct costs of cleanup and rebuilding and insurance payouts, 9-11's indirect costs with decreased domestic travel and tourism, Bush administration policies, the dramatic increase in domestic and international security spending, and the final gasps of the end of the dotcom bubble popping.)

What I fear is another similar situation: Katrina, the negative effects of the Iraq portion of the War on Terror on the US economy (it ain't cheap, no war is), the likely pop of many of the bubbles (though that has been threatened for YEARS), extremely high gas prices*, highest-ever health insurance prices (with a sixth-consecutive year of 10%+ premium increases nationwide), and so on.

* While the gas prices are higher in raw dollars, they are in-line in real, inflation-adjusted dollars with previous years. If only people's wages grew in line with inflation as well, the "gas prices aren't that bad in real dollars" defense would have more weight.
posted by andreaazure at 9:26 AM on August 28, 2005


andreaazure writes "And, on a grander scale, consider this my cold-and-calculating statistic: 9-11 happened and it was very bad for the economy. That day, under 3000 people died. Infrastructure was hurt, but it only took six months to get back to basics there. If Katrina hits as hard as it might, right over NO, *poof*."

Kinda puts things in perspective doesn't it. If things get bad it's going to be unfortunate so many National Guard are away from home.

ParisParamus writes "Not to derail, but to what other hit(s) does 'another' refer? The US economy is doing extremely well these days. Gas supply? What's the 'other'?"

'I will not take the thing from your hand.'
posted by Mitheral at 9:28 AM on August 28, 2005


I've got five people and three dogs evacuating up to my house in northern MS, cause their casino jobs told them to leave.
posted by nile_red at 9:30 AM on August 28, 2005


10:50AM
Hurricane Katrina is now up to 175MPH Maximum Sustained winds.

If you are near the coast and in the cone for Katrina YOU SHOULD NOT BE LOOKING AT THIS PAGE - prepare and evacuate if necessary


Best of luck and Godspeed to all that are in the affected areas. I wish I lived closer as I would gladly offer my floors/couch and food to those that made it out. Let's just hope that Katrina dies down when she hits land. Although, at all indications up to this point, it doesn't look like that will happen.
posted by purephase at 9:30 AM on August 28, 2005


"This mandatory evac order - does that mean people are going to be hauled bodily out of their houses and shoved onto buses?"

No. Infact, they said pretty plainly that they cannot force people to leave their houses.

As for New Orleans' buses, well... streetcar service has been suspended, and bus service will apparently be discontinued by the afternoon.

The city has opened the Superdome as a special-needs shelter. At about 10 a.m., the RTA will deploy 10 LIFT vehicles to help special-needs residents evacuate to Baton Rouge. Those who are critically ill will be brought by ambulance.

Then, starting at noon, the city will open the Superdome as a shelter of last resort. RTA will shuttle passengers to the Superdome from several locations around the city; see http://www.regionaltransit.org for details.

Don't expect the buses to run past about 3 or 4 today though. The drivers have families too.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:32 AM on August 28, 2005


Thanks, andreaazure. I hope that doesn't happen. If it's any solice, the effects of 9/11 were so extreme because they were psychological--what will happen next. This is not that type of event. Hopefully everyone will evacuate. One of those sites says the gusts are over 200mph!
posted by ParisParamus at 9:33 AM on August 28, 2005


President Bush declares states of emergency in Louisiana and Mississippi.
posted by ericb at 9:38 AM on August 28, 2005


One of those sites says the gusts are over 200mph!

That's absolutely mindboggling.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 9:38 AM on August 28, 2005


I hope Bush releases some of those petroleum reserves for a month or so until everything hopefully gets back online.

At least one of the SPR sites is in the projected path of the storm. Yeesh.
posted by A dead Quaker at 9:39 AM on August 28, 2005


Watching live news conference from wwltv.com right now. Scary stuff.

(Large flash, 30 MB) model of storm surge from cat 3 hurricane.
posted by bumpkin at 9:43 AM on August 28, 2005


sucker, fill your tub with water and stop it up, and fill every container you have with water...even if it's not a catastrophe the water won't be drinkable, i don't think.

what floor are you on?
posted by amberglow at 9:44 AM on August 28, 2005


Check out the last data retrieval from this buoy.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 9:55 AM on August 28, 2005


Good luck, NOLA. Nice knowin ya.
posted by fungible at 10:10 AM on August 28, 2005


.
posted by soiled cowboy at 10:20 AM on August 28, 2005


Christ, it just gets better...

...LOUISIANA COASTAL TIDE DATA FOR...MON AUG 29 2005

CALCASIEU PASS...LIGHTHOUSE WHARF
HI 2 45 AM STAGE 2.4 LO 6 42 PM STAGE 0.0

SHELL ISLAND...ATCHAFALAYA BAY
HI 5 53 AM STAGE 1.8 LO 7 27 PM STAGE 0.0

BARATARIA PASS...GRAND ISLE
HI 6 31 AM STAGE 1.7 LO 6 08 PM STAGE 0.0

RIGOLETS...LAKE BORGNE
HI 8 44 AM STAGE 1.4 LO 8 49 PM STAGE 0.0

SOUTHWEST PASS...MISSISSIPPI RIVER
HI 4 41 AM STAGE 1.8 LO 4 36 PM STAGE 0.0

WINE ISLAND...TERREBONNE BAY
HI 6 39 AM STAGE 1.8 LO 7 20 PM STAGE 0.0


Katrina's going to be making landfall just after high tide. True, tides on the gulf coast aren't huge, the tidal range 1-3 feet, but every extra foot of water is that many more acres underwater, and that much more water in the bowl.

I've never said this before. I lived though Hugo. I've seen the houses across the street erased by tornados twice in my life.

GET OUT. NOW

As I said before, this storm is acting like it is being plotted by a Hollywood scriptwriter. You're looking at a 25 foot storm surge, on top of high tide, meeting 18 foot levees, driven by 170mph winds -- plus, add to all of that, hurricane rainfall. The current forecast discussion for Katrian (#23) has a very chilling sentence. "KATRINA IS COMPARABLE IN INTENSITY TO HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969...ONLY LARGER. "

Run. Don't think, just run. If the Superdome is the best you can do, get into the upper deck, and pray. Otherwise, you need to be north, and you need to be there now, because the winds have already started to come up, and the weather's not getting better before landfall. It's 12:30CDT now. Landfall will be about 7:00CDT tommorow. Given the worsening weather, you really only have three-four hours before it starts to get bad, and maybe ten to twelve before the weather gets bad enough that running won't be possible anymore.

First rainbands are just coming onshore now. (Radars: New Orleans: LIX, Mobile: MOB)
posted by eriko at 10:30 AM on August 28, 2005


I am seriosuly scared right now. Like the fear I felt between the first and second tower collapse at the World Trade Center. (I am near Boston, a timezone away from where this will happen.)
posted by andreaazure at 10:42 AM on August 28, 2005


This is gonna sound crazy, but we're getting into last ditch territory: a controlled release of oil over the water? Has there been any more research on this? I really don't want to see New Orleans wrecked.

Good luck down there. A lot of us have you in our thoughts & prayers.
posted by Toecutter at 10:50 AM on August 28, 2005


toecutter, they barely evacuated everyone on the oil rigs, that's impossible now. I think the only thing they could possibly do at this point is detonate a nuclear device within the eye.
posted by geoff. at 11:01 AM on August 28, 2005


sucker, fill your tub with water and stop it up, and fill every container you have with water...

Unfortunately, unless the tub is more than 25' off the ground, Katrina will be filling it herself, and the water most certainly won't be potable.
posted by squink at 11:02 AM on August 28, 2005


Wait, the tides will be 25'. Isn't NO ten feet below sea level? That makes 35' total water depth. Did I miscalculate?
posted by paleocon at 11:05 AM on August 28, 2005


6 feet below sea level, according to what I've read. Surge is predicted at 25' but that isn't what the water level will be everywhere (one hopes not).
posted by geekgal at 11:17 AM on August 28, 2005


Thinking of you all and hoping for the best. That sounds, and is, particularly feeble, but there it is. Fingers crossed for New Orleans.
posted by jokeefe at 11:17 AM on August 28, 2005


Huh. The webcams appear to have gone offline.
posted by jokeefe at 11:19 AM on August 28, 2005


These cams appear to be still online, but there's very heavy lag - you'll wait for 30 seconds or so.
posted by paperpete at 11:22 AM on August 28, 2005


You're all in my thoughts... I'm sure we're all pretty disturbed about this, so does anyone know what relief agencies need donations the most? There's always the Red Cross, but are there any Gulf Coast agencies that people can support with a little cash?
posted by moonbird at 11:36 AM on August 28, 2005


It's really weird that CNN has no one on the street in New Orleans or Biloxi--they're usually all over this kind of thing with reporters on the ground.
posted by amberglow at 11:36 AM on August 28, 2005


902 milibars now. Good luck everyone. You're in my thoughts.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:38 AM on August 28, 2005


Suckerpunch and anyone else in New Orleans who reads this:

I have started a post on LiveJournal for people to offer up shelter or carpools out of New Orleans for those wishing to evacuate. I'd like to open it up for people on MetaFilter too, so that they can either offer up shelter, carpools, or find the same.

The thread is also being used for people within New Orleans to offer up safer places in the city to ride out the storm. One such person has offered to let others ride it out on the 4th floor of a building in the warehouse district.

That might be a better choice for you, suckerpunch.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:40 AM on August 28, 2005


The first page of the "big one" story linked shows a guy with a 20 foot tall stick standing in NOLA, to show what might happen when the city is submerged by a nightmare scenario.

Right now, this one is looking like the nightmare scenario.

It may not be 35 feet, but experts expected 20 feet easily. And all that water will have no place to go: it'd be dumped into big bowl.

Holy god. ColdChef hasn't posted today, but he was posting last night from NOLA. I really hope him and his have gotten the hell out of there.
posted by teece at 11:41 AM on August 28, 2005


Guys, I'll be prayin'.
posted by konolia at 11:50 AM on August 28, 2005


God, I wish I could do something from here in Brooklyn other than pray. Good luck, everybody.
posted by jennyjenny at 11:57 AM on August 28, 2005


I hope this turns out better than expected, but there doesn't seem much indication that it will. Best wishes to everyone still there. *heart breaks#
posted by maryh at 11:59 AM on August 28, 2005


Wait, the tides will be 25'. Isn't NO ten feet below sea level? That makes 35' total water depth. Did I miscalculate?

Alas, yes.

You forgot to add in the waves on top of the storm surge. The storm surge is the rise in water caused by the very focused low pressure zone created by/creating the hurricane. It's exactly like sucking on a soda straw, but larger -- about a megaSlashdotFlamewar worth of suck.

NO averages only 6' below MSL, but as the topographic map shows, there's variation. But, by and large, vast parts of the city are at or below MSL, and most of the city is surrounded by very high walls holding back Lake Pochintrain and the Mississippi. Thus, the bowl -- and it doesn't help if your walls keep out a 20' flood if you're hit by a 30' flood. Worse, the walls just keep the water in. New Orleans has a huge pumping system to keep things behind the walls dry -- but the pumps can't work if they're underwater.

Topo notes: Elevation curves are every 5', MSL is marked with a double 00. "BM #" is a benchmark, the number is the altitude above MSL. The large building with a ring is the Superdome. North, next to Charity House, is the closes benchmark I could find on the map. It is two feet above Mean Sea Level. Two.

You'll note several double digit elevations near the lake and river. These are the levees. Most of the levees top at 20 feet MSL.
posted by eriko at 12:01 PM on August 28, 2005


At least in NO ppl seem to be taking this seriously. When the little class-1 hit Halifax 2 years ago people didn't believe it was going to happen, almost no one was prepared. We were lucky only one person died due to the storm, but there was a lot of damage that could have been avoided if people had taken it more seriously.
posted by tiamat at 12:03 PM on August 28, 2005


Unbelievable:

THIS IS FROM THE NWS IN NEW ORLEANS..DEVESTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...HURRICANE KATRINA...A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE IN 1969. MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS..PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL LEAVING MOST HOMES DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BE NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAME LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE. HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT. AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS..PETS..AND LIVESTOCK WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK..POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS..AND MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS..THE VAST MAJORITY OF TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT TOTALLY DEFOLIATED..FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN, LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED..


And of course, that's the least of it. There's the 20 + ft. storm surge, 50 - 80 ft. waves on top of that, a pumping system that can't pump, days or weeks of no infrastructure, no services.
posted by bumpkin at 12:09 PM on August 28, 2005


So what else is it going to take before we finally all agree that global warming is real?
posted by muckster at 12:19 PM on August 28, 2005


bumpkin, do you have a link for that?
posted by jokeefe at 12:21 PM on August 28, 2005


Katrina targets New Orleans

how dare "she" "Target" an american city.
posted by clavdivs at 12:22 PM on August 28, 2005


Evacuation has gone on as planned, but now they are starting to urge people to go west instead of north because of Katrina's projected path on land - wind damage is almost assured up to I-20 in AL/MS, and tropical storm warnings have been issued for the Tennessee valley later this week. Needless to say, I really hope people have considered going west instead of north if they had the choice.
posted by somethingotherthan at 12:23 PM on August 28, 2005


It seems to be from the National Weather Service and is quoted here, the Times Picayune breaking news weblog.
posted by mothershock at 12:24 PM on August 28, 2005


bumpkin's bulletin was read on the Weather Channel so I'm going to assume it was a NOAA bulletin. Links have been posted upthread to that site.
posted by somethingotherthan at 12:24 PM on August 28, 2005


bumpkins' quote, that is.
posted by mothershock at 12:24 PM on August 28, 2005


Live streaming news broadcast.
posted by moonbird at 12:28 PM on August 28, 2005


jokeefe - DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:29 PM on August 28, 2005


Can we chill with the trolling for global warming/bush policies/etc? Hurricanes have happened since forever. As a Floridian who's been through several Hurricanes, including south west Miami for Andrew (!), shit happens. For every few years we humans start to think we're so advanced and we have cell phones and TV and Heart surgery and we've got this mother nature thing licked. Then Gaia shows up and hands us our ass.

Praying for all north of the Gulf!
posted by cavalier at 12:37 PM on August 28, 2005


We have a lot of family and friends in NO and we're quite worried about the city. All of our family has evacuated except for my brother-in-law who is a photographer with the Times-Picayune. He's holed up on the 5th floor of a government building with the police and the fire department.

Wish him luck.
posted by turbodog at 12:39 PM on August 28, 2005


I'm not trolling, cavalier, and I didn't mention Bush. Yes, there have always been hurricanes, but this is, what, the largest hurricane ever seen in the Gulf, and the eleventh this year, as opposed to an average of four? They're getting stronger, there are more of them, but oh well shit happens I guess.
posted by muckster at 12:50 PM on August 28, 2005



Holy god. ColdChef hasn't posted today, but he was posting last night from NOLA. I really hope him and his have gotten the hell out of there.


I would think CC has more important matters to attend to right now than Metafilter.

I wish everyone in New Orleans - my favorite of American cities - the safest through this.
posted by item at 12:58 PM on August 28, 2005


I just put our phone number up on my web page (Joesurveyor.com).

We are in Lafayette, La and lots of evacuees are passing through here. Please call if you need a place to stay.

Good luck all!!
posted by MotorNeuron at 1:00 PM on August 28, 2005


"My memory is muddy, what's this river that I'm in
New Orleans is sinkin' man and I don't wanna swim"

Good luck, everyone.

ColdChef posted in MetaChat that he's ok and close to Baton Rouge.
posted by fionab at 3:29 PM on August 28, 2005


I would think CC has more important matters to attend to right now than Metafilter.

You would think, wouldn't you?

Hi, everyone, from the path of destruction. We've spent the day preparing here. We've got water, food, generators, gas. We'll probably lose electricity and internet connections later tonight, but I'll try to check in when I can.

Just to make it clear, I'm not in New Orleans. I'm heading towards my parent's house, north of Baton Rouge. Still in the path of the storm, but not in the floodzone.

We're scared shitless here, but hoping for the best. At this point, though, it seems likely that New Orleans will soon be completely under water.

My wife and I have spent the past few hours crying about all the restaurants and bars and bookstores and art galleries that we're likely to never see again. It's like the death of a friend, both literally and figuratively.

Thanks for all of the well wishes. I promise not to take unnecessary risks. We should weather this storm fine. (by we, I mean my immediate family and friends).

What will happen after the storm is the terrifying unknown. We're hearing about the possibility of millions of homeless people, the deaths of tens of thousands. An unfathomable strike at the heart of our state, and...well...nation.

We knew this day was coming.
posted by ColdChef at 3:34 PM on August 28, 2005 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure what to say, ColdChef, except that you and yours are in our thoughts.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 3:36 PM on August 28, 2005


Thanks for checking in ColdChef - this is terrifying and my thoughts are with you, the rescue workers, and especially the people who can't (or FSM help them, won't) evacuate.

I wish there were more I could offer - I've got plenty of room, but I'm out here in the West Coast.
posted by Space Kitty at 3:40 PM on August 28, 2005


Metafilter: a megaSlashdotFlamewar worth of suck.
posted by Mitheral at 3:55 PM on August 28, 2005


One parrish leader said that approximately 20-30% of the people weren't evacuating. If you spread that across New Orleans, that means about 100,000 people, of which maybe a third are going to stay in the Superdome.

I've been doing searches of LiveJournal, and have found quite a few people in New Orleans who are going to try to ride out the hurricane. I'll be doing searches and updating my journal reguarly with their firsthand accounts, much like I did for last year's tsunami.

It will be a long, long night/morning/afternoon...
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:56 PM on August 28, 2005


insmonia_lj, you might also be interested in the stream of Xanga updates from New Orleans. Lots of people seem to be staying put, too. Hope they have rafts.
posted by brownpau at 4:07 PM on August 28, 2005


Of all the storms to try and ride out, this is not the one. Man, I hope these people make it.

The meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters over on the Weather Underground now says he sees a 70% chance of the levees of New Orleans being breached. Katrina is so big that he doesn't think anything is going to deflect it. (the link for this is on the latest post on my blog).

This is horrible.
posted by teece at 4:18 PM on August 28, 2005


brownpau writes "Hope they have rafts."

Having read that 413 NOAA alert I don't think a raft is going to much use unless they've got a well constructed multi story concrete building to store it in.

That's far and away the worst damage projection I've ever read. Even without the flooding the damage is looking to be almost absolute.
posted by Mitheral at 4:18 PM on August 28, 2005


As a former Texan who went to Louisiana to help with the damage from Andrew...ya'll are in my thoughts. This is worse than that, and I'll never forget Andrew's damage.

I had some of the best meals of my life in NO, and met some of the nicest people. I am worried sick about those lined up to get into the Superdome that they're showing on CNN...lots of kids, the elderly, pregnant women. I can't see how they'll all get in, much less be able to stay above the water. What they'll do for sanitation, and food and drinking water. I wish I could swoop down with a thousand transport planes to get them out. I hope they'll make it, somehow. I hope there'll be something left of NO when this is done, but I'm afraid the city will never come back from it.
posted by emjaybee at 4:19 PM on August 28, 2005


This could be the "Big One" but I'm not sure people know exactly what that means. New Orleans flooding may not be the worst -- only the biggest population center taken by a cascade of failed flooding buffers. It's possible that if the Atchafalaya doesn't sustain the onslaught -- it's the flood basin for the entire Mississippi -- it's possible that the entire delta will become part of the Gulf of Mexico.

The same way coastal communities of Indonesia were destroyed in the tsunami last year by because their wetlands were removed, it's possible the same could happen to New Orleans and southern Louisiana.
posted by raaka at 4:24 PM on August 28, 2005


This is a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-dont kind of situation... Dorothy's storm cellar will be flooded, and the third little pig's brick 4-storey building might just fall over / get its roof torn off.

GTFO, as they say. Good luck New Orleans.
posted by anthill at 4:28 PM on August 28, 2005


it's possible that the entire delta will become part of the Gulf of Mexico.
This really is the kind of storm that redraws maps.

The Louisiana National Guard is on alert, but thousands of guard troops from the state are now serving in Iraq.

Nagin said 1,500 troops are immediately available, however, and another2,500 have been mobilized.

Isn't there a law about always keeping a certain amount of National Guardspeople here at home, for cases like this?
posted by amberglow at 4:47 PM on August 28, 2005


Louisiana National Guard Units Current Serving on Active Duty
posted by amberglow at 4:48 PM on August 28, 2005


As horrible as it may sound, I'm glad my Grandma passed away last year (she was 80 and led a full life). She lived in NO and would have been stubborn about leaving.

I keep listening to the reports of thousands dead and I just can't believe it, you know? It's possible, sure, but this is the 21st century America right, stuff like that DOES NOT happen, right? The numbers are just hard to wrap my head around.

I was born in NO and most of my family came from there, on both sides. The idea that all the places I knew as a child would be gone or destroyed is just unbelieavable, I just can not even wrap my mind around the possibility.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 PM on August 28, 2005


May the forces of nature have mercy on us all.
posted by Freen at 5:31 PM on August 28, 2005


I personally have little doubt that climate change over many years is involved. However, after reading your link, along with opposing views, it really only suggest that you might be right.

You mean like, it's only been suggested Katrina will strike NO.
posted by stbalbach at 5:52 PM on August 28, 2005


I'm too far away to offer anything more than my prayers to those in Katrina's path but I'm sending as many as I can. Stay safe everyone.
posted by LeeJay at 5:54 PM on August 28, 2005


LiveJournal, and have found quite a few people in New Orleans who are going to try to ride out the hurricane

I read that thread. One of the guys who's going to "ride it out" thought it wise to tape up the windows.

Uh, buddy... you think tape might have helped here?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:11 PM on August 28, 2005


good luck to you and yours cold chef. May this all be an example of some idiot meterologist dropping a decimal point.
posted by slapshot57 at 6:23 PM on August 28, 2005


Sweet Jebus, Civil_Disobediant
posted by Freen at 6:26 PM on August 28, 2005


I can't get my head around the scale of this. Good luck to coldchef and anyone else in Katrina's path.
posted by Tarrama at 7:02 PM on August 28, 2005


If you're looking for the not-sufficiently-black humorous side, you could always read some hurricane cartoons...

CD wins for best demonstration of just how fucking insane it's going to be there soon. :(
posted by anthill at 7:38 PM on August 28, 2005


Let us hope we don't lose a beautiful city here.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:06 PM on August 28, 2005


Check out the N.O. Craigslist
posted by drezdn at 8:13 PM on August 28, 2005


eriko wrote:"The storm surge is the rise in water caused by the very focused low pressure zone created by/creating the hurricane. It's exactly like sucking on a soda straw, but larger -- about a megaSlashdotFlamewar worth of suck."

No, no, no. The storm surge is the wall of water pushed by the hurricane's wind. The drop in pressure is not even remotely large enough to push water up 20 feet. I say "push up" because water isn't "sucked-up", it's pushed down by the atmospheric pressure and then up into an evacuated area and thus water can't be sucked higher than the equivalent weight of the column of air from ground to top of the atmosphere, which is about 34 feet of water...so if pressure was reduced to zero, 34 feet would be the maximun height the water would be "sucked". As you can see, 20+ feet is two-thirds that distance. Would you think that the pressure drop from the hurricane is two-thirds?? Not even close. It's closer to a 10% reduction at the eye.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:32 PM on August 28, 2005


my prayers are with you - all who are on the Katrina path, and to all the good people who are offering shelter and helping out any way they can along the way. Sincerely from BC - CWall
posted by seawallrunner at 8:39 PM on August 28, 2005


Let us hope we don't lose a beautiful city here.

I was thinking the same thing.

If any of you haven't had a chance to see the Big Easy, the birthplace of Jazz, a singularly unique blend of cultures and history in the whole of the United States, well... you may have missed your chance.

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all the beautiful history that will probably be obliterated come a few hours from now.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:02 PM on August 28, 2005


This PDF explains how storm surge could impact New Orleans.
posted by LeiaS at 9:09 PM on August 28, 2005


Goodbye old New Orleans. I hope the casaulties are as low as possible and that the Superdome somehow holds up. I won't be sleeping tonight.

In the meantime, you folks might want to throw a few bucks to Red Cross.
posted by ed at 9:28 PM on August 28, 2005


Yes, Send Money, and not stuff. The Red Cross needs blood and money. They can get the rest themselves much in a much cheaper and better organized fashion than through donations.

On another note: the strategic oil reserves. I've read they are almost full, with approximately 700 million barrels of oil. How long will they last us, if NOLA, which currently represents 20% of our oil input, is out of commission? Granted there will be a supply shock, but how long will that shock last? Will there be a secondary shock if the strategic oil reserves run out before the oil production comes back online?
posted by Freen at 9:34 PM on August 28, 2005


I am afraid you are right, ed, and that it is too late to hope for the city to be saved. All we can hope and pray for now is that most of the people are spared, or have gotten to safety already.
posted by yhbc at 9:41 PM on August 28, 2005


I grew up in NOLA and was there for Camile. The city's been very lucky hurricane wise. I hate to think that streak of luck has finally run out. (And please quit calling her the Big Easy. I never heard the city called by that name until the movie came out. The city that care forgot and the cresent city, yes. The big easy, never, no.)
posted by Carbolic at 9:50 PM on August 28, 2005


I think the only thing they could possibly do at this point is detonate a nuclear device within the eye.
posted by geoff. at 2:01 PM EST on August 28


http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/C5c.html

"Why don't we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them?

During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms. Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems. Needless to say, this is not a good idea.

Now for a more rigorous scientific explanation of why this would not be an effective hurricane modification technique. The main difficulty with using explosives to modify hurricanes is the amount of energy required. A fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20x10^13 watts and converts less than 10% of the heat into the mechanical energy of the wind. The heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes. According to the 1993 World Almanac, the entire human race used energy at a rate of 10^13 watts in 1990, a rate less than 20% of the power of a hurricane.

If we think about mechanical energy, the energy at humanity's disposal is closer to the storm's, but the task of focusing even half of the energy on a spot in the middle of a remote ocean would still be formidable. Brute force interference with hurricanes doesn't seem promising.

In addition, an explosive, even a nuclear explosive, produces a shock wave, or pulse of high pressure, that propagates away from the site of the explosion somewhat faster than the speed of sound. Such an event doesn't raise the barometric pressure after the shock has passed because barometric pressure in the atmosphere reflects the weight of the air above the ground. For normal atmospheric pressure, there are about ten metric tons (1000 kilograms per ton) of air bearing down on each square meter of surface. In the strongest hurricanes there are nine. To change a Category 5 hurricane into a Category 2 hurricane you would have to add about a half ton of air for each square meter inside the eye, or a total of a bit more than half a billion (500,000,000) tons for a 20 km radius eye. It's difficult to envision a practical way of moving that much air around."
posted by prak at 9:54 PM on August 28, 2005


On another note: the strategic oil reserves. I've read they are almost full, with approximately 700 million barrels of oil. How long will they last us, if NOLA, which currently represents 20% of our oil input, is out of commission?

Depends on how bad it gets. The Big Oil Company I work for has a office two blocks off Bourbon Street (about 1000 people have been evacuated from the platforms and I assume there's a plan in place to move operations to Houston. I'll know for sure when I show up for work tomorrow.) We could lose that office for a while and probably still be fine. It's the refineries and offshore platforms that will be the issue economy-wise. They've all been shut down so hopefully all the people are safe. I've been trying to email my co-workers in NOLA who I know have mobile email access but the emails have been undeliverable. Hopefully it's just a overload due to traffic. I was hoping they'd all been able to get far enough clear where that wouldn't be an issue.

This is probably going to really suck.
posted by Cyrano at 10:07 PM on August 28, 2005


I never heard the city called by that name until the movie came out.

Actually, the term was popularized by a columnist to compare New Orleans' laid-back lifestyle to the hustle of New York (the Big Apple), but supposedly it had been used near the turn of the century as the name of a dance hall. Naturally no one really uses the term. Just like no New Yorker actually calls it the Big Apple.

And The City that Care Forgot not only has far too many syllables, but in light of current events, I think it simply incorrect. I'm sure more than a few columnists will bring that up in the huge public outpouring of aid that comes from around the country in a few days time.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:10 PM on August 28, 2005


Maybe "The City that Care Recently Remembered". I'm afraid this is really going to suck. I was only 9 when Camile hit but I remember the sense of relief everyone felt afterwards. There was damage and flooding but not anything like it could have been. I moved from the city almost 30 years ago and only a few family members who still live there. I'm a little surprised by sense of dread I'm feeling at the moment. The last disaster the city saw that was anything comparable to what might be was the yellow fever epidemic in the late 1800s. On top of all the potential for lose of life and suffering I find myself wondering about the above ground cemeteries.
posted by Carbolic at 10:21 PM on August 28, 2005


Jesus, this is truly heartbreaking. It seems to hit even harder reading ColdChef's posts--so much more personal. I hope those who are stronger will look out for those who are weaker, I hope those who are able will open their doors to strangers needing shelter and not suffer for it. I hope those who must pass on do so quickly, without anguish. I hope for a miracle in that we don't loose such a precious gem as New Orleans. America and the world has been given so much from this beautiful, quirky city. God be with those in the path of this terrifying assault.
posted by codeofconduct at 10:32 PM on August 28, 2005


Buoy readings in LA:

Air Pressure

Wind Speed

More buoys here
posted by H. Roark at 10:40 PM on August 28, 2005


live feed says there are 15K people trapped on I10 behind a pileup. winds are 90mph in central NO already.
posted by spiderwire at 10:51 PM on August 28, 2005


also, it looks like it's drifting west. winds are still at 160 mph. not good news.
posted by spiderwire at 10:57 PM on August 28, 2005


If any of you haven't had a chance to see the Big Easy, the birthplace of Jazz, a singularly unique blend of cultures and history in the whole of the United States, well... you may have missed your chance.

My friends took me to New Orleans for my birthday a few years back and I absolutely fell in love with it. One of my goals was to go back for an extended visit in the near future. The idea that so much of it could be destroyed...it's hard to fathom. And painful.
posted by LeeJay at 11:06 PM on August 28, 2005


Civil_Disobedient: Snakes on a motherfucking plane.

YES! :)
------
Here is another group of LJers that are riding the storm out.
posted by deusdiabolus at 12:25 AM on August 29, 2005


Actually, it's the same group of LJers that I found earlier and who I've been communicating with. Someone else just added them as members of a community, so that their latest posts show up on a single page.

I'm actually still hearing from and identifying LiveJournalers who are riding out the storm in New Orleans -- I'm starting to get emails from others in New Orleans too -- so I expect to add additional firsthand accounts from email and other blogging tools to my in my "New Orleans stories" updates. I'm also making regular news updates, which you can find on my weblog.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:46 AM on August 29, 2005


On another note: the strategic oil reserves. I've read they are almost full, with approximately 700 million barrels of oil. How long will they last us, if NOLA, which currently represents 20% of our oil input, is out of commission?

That's 700Mbbl of crude, mind you. It's designed to replace foreign imports should they be cut off for some reason (a nuke off Kuwait, for example). The reserve is theoretically considered roughly a 60-day supply if all external sources are cut off, a pretty unlikely occurrence.

But it's crude. If the NOLA refineries are damaged, it won't matter where the oil comes from -- the industry won't be able to refine the petroleum into gasoline any faster because it was stored onshore. And refined gasoline has a shelf life, so they can't have a reserve of that, and having it refined overseas isn't really an option (otherwise they would have been doing that years ago).

So the SPR is irrelevant to the question of how much gasoline we can produce if refining capacity is cut. We may well have an opportunity to find out just how close we're operating to the limit. When there was a refinery fire in Chicago a few years back, gas prices in the Midwest jumped about 50 cents for a while.

Best wishes for your haunts, ColdChef.
posted by dhartung at 2:52 AM on August 29, 2005


Potential (good-ish) news on the horizon: storm downgraded to category 4.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:53 AM on August 29, 2005


CD: Cat4, cat5, I guess we look for rays of hope where we can. She's still pushing 150mph winds, last time I checked.

I'm normally pretty detached from these things, but I sit here trying to imagine the Quarter under water -- a lot of those buildings are short enough that the roofs will be below the waves. And the masonry is old and fragile -- even after the city gets pumped out, they'll be structurally unsound. So much for Preservation Hall....

The mayor said 80% have evacuated. That still leaves something near 100K people in the city. *If* the city floods severely (and somehow, probably it's just denial, I still can't believe it's going to happen), that's a lot of people to take care of.

I'm sitting watching the "RiverCam" at Nola.com as I write this, and just got a scare as the screen went white for a very long time at a refresh. I was afraid the winds had blown it away. The "BridgeCam" is totally obscured by rain and fog.
posted by lodurr at 4:32 AM on August 29, 2005


Power out at the Superdome, generators not strong enough to run air conditioning.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:13 AM on August 29, 2005


I have two updates from ColdChef, by email (he couldn't get in to post) The first was from about 1:00 this morning:

Hi, everyone. Checking in.

I got to my parent's house at about 7 tonight. I walked in the doors and my brother grabbed my arms and said, "Let's go." The local nursing home was taking elderly refugees from New Orleans and they needed help unloading them when they got there. We had no idea what we were in for.

Five large tourbuses from New Orleans showed up with at least fifty patients on each. For the next four hours we carried these old folks off the buses, put them into wheelchairs and brought them inside.

When we first got there, there were only about fifteen men there. Then, about two dozen volunteers from the police and fire department showed up.

And then came two vans carrying most of the local high school football team. Though it was raining when we got there, it completely quit as we were unloading them.

Wearing gloves and using sheets to wrap them up as we moved them, we physically had to carry these people down the aisle of the bus, to waiting wheelchairs and then into the building, where we would lay them down on one of the 400 inflatable mattresses they brought with them. Picture the soldier scene from "Gone With the Wind" and you have some kind of idea what it looked like in there.

Most of them had soiled themselves on the four hour ride from New Orleans, so we had to be careful moving them. We filled the cafeteria with mattresses and then lined them in the hallways. Many of them had Alzheimer's, and were angry and confused, so it was hard to move them. A few refused to get off the bus and we had to physically bind them in sheets to move them.

It was awful. But we got them all inside. And a few of them who had an idea of what was going on were very thankful and tearful and…it was hard knowing that most of them would never return home. Two people died on the bus ride up there, so we'll be taking care of them later this evening. From the looks of some of the others, death won't be far away. I don't know. It's too much to think about right now.

The rain held off until the last people were unloaded, and as soon as we got them inside, it started pouring down raining.

By the sound of the wind and the rain outside, I don't think our powerlines will be intact for long, so I'll post this while I still can.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts.
posted by yhbc at 5:31 AM on August 29, 2005 [4 favorites]


And here's ColdChef's second update, from about 7:50 this morning:

I don't know if you got my last email, but just another quick update.

The sun's coming up and the storm is really starting to whip around out there. The lights are still on amazingly enough, so my mom and I are making breakfast for all the people staying with us. No one really slept well last night except for my one-year-old girl.

Everyone was kind of crashed in front of our tv, flipping back and forth between local coverage, CNN, and the Weather Channel.

My dad was working up front in the funeral home, so I laid down with my mom in her bed and watched the news with her and told her all the funny things that happened at the nursing home with all the refugees. (Like the woman whose response to every question was, "Fuck you.")

I fell asleep and woke up between my mom and dad. Felt safer than it should have, I guess.

It's getting worse out there now and the lights are starting to flicker. I've had to restart my computer several times this morning.

For some reason, I can't post to MetaFilter or MetaChat or anything like that, so I'll try to keep up the emails.

People on the tv at the gulf coast keep saying awful things like, "This is worse than we expected." Makes the coffee and biscuits not taste so good.
posted by yhbc at 5:32 AM on August 29, 2005 [3 favorites]


EB: I simplified. The low pressure is responsible for a fair part, say 5 feet, of the storm surge. What it really does is act as a "step" that the wind driven part of the surge is driven against, steepening it. There's a great graphic out there somewhere, but I'm pressed for time at the moment.

You're correct in that my simplification is wrong, and that winds are the primary force in building the surge, but this was a "spherical cow, equal density" explanation -- without the low pressure bulge, most of the storm surge would only occur as a single wave, not a large rise then fall in sea levels.
posted by eriko at 5:49 AM on August 29, 2005


Oh, man. It freaked me out wake up and hear that Katrina made top story on Israeli radio...even beating out yesterday's attack in Beer Sheva. This looks terrible. ColdChef and anyone else in the area, my thoughts are with you.
posted by felix betachat at 5:52 AM on August 29, 2005


Fortunately, it's long been known that it takes a lot of water to wash away New Orleans.
posted by Clay201 at 5:54 AM on August 29, 2005


yhbc, thanks for posting the e-mails, and ColdChef, thanks for sending them -- your words make it real in a way that abstract talk about destruction doesn't. Good luck to you and yours, and everyone in the path of the storm.
posted by languagehat at 5:59 AM on August 29, 2005


eriko: Ah, thanks for the clarification. Interesting.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:07 AM on August 29, 2005


Superdome roof peeling off. Fuck.
posted by ed at 6:32 AM on August 29, 2005


Ed - three years ago, they were applying patches to the roof of the Superdome. Supposedly, those patches are not only giving way, but they're also somehow causing damage to the roof structure below.
posted by suckerpunch at 6:35 AM on August 29, 2005


I watched on CNN last night a local reporter saying that stuctural tests of the Superdome...for situations like hurricane-force winds...was "in progress," but had not been completed.

From CNN.com: "Section of Superdome roof opens up."
posted by tpl1212 at 6:38 AM on August 29, 2005


CNN also has a few lines about a retirement home evacuation that sounds like what ColdChef described taking part in:

--

Three residents of a New Orleans nursing home died Sunday while being evacuated to Baton Rouge, said Don Moreau, chief of operations for the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office.

The 23 residents were supposed to stay at a church, where one of the bodies was found. The other body was found on a school bus and a third person died at a hospital, Moreau said.

The others were found to be suffering from various forms of dehydration and exhaustion, he said.

Moreau did not know whether authorities would term the deaths storm-related. "These people are very fragile," he said. "When they're loaded up on a school bus and transported out of New Orleans ..."
posted by Mid at 6:45 AM on August 29, 2005


suckerpunch: The Superdome is 273 feet high. So if the roof is shot, the question is whether the outside perimeter (some 20,000 tons of structural steel) will hold up as the main crux of Katrina hits. Further, can the crowd assembled there move up the higher perimeter seats and still make out okay? There are no longer any nails to bite and I hope to hell that people survive this.
posted by ed at 6:59 AM on August 29, 2005


God, that's horrible. Those poor people. I have to hope that the National Guard knows what it's doing when they're moving people to more protected sections of the stadium. It'd take more than 140 mph winds to knock down reinforced concrete, wouldn't it?
posted by felix betachat at 7:04 AM on August 29, 2005


they just said they moved people to where the concession stands are--the inside perimeters?
posted by amberglow at 7:04 AM on August 29, 2005


Superdome Seating Chart.
posted by ed at 7:14 AM on August 29, 2005


felix betachat writes "It'd take more than 140 mph winds to knock down reinforced concrete, wouldn't it?"

For a poured concrete building (assuming adequate foundation ties) the wind itself shouldn't be a problem. It's what the wind is blowing that is of more concern. Unfilled concrete block is much more vulnerable; however, it is wildly unlikely that was the method used to construct the stadium.
posted by Mitheral at 8:19 AM on August 29, 2005


NOLA's blog: ...calls of rising water, including 18 inches and rising against the levee in the French Quarter. Dispatchers questioning officers on the scene, trying to determine if there is a break in the river levee, or if water is pouring over the top. Independently, NOLA has received a flooding alert for the French Market area.

Fairly heavy street flooding in front and behind the Times-Picayune . . . water appears about knee deep, whipped by the steady wind into whitecaps and breakers. Water is hubcap deep on the furthest vehicles in the employee parking lot, and rising quickly.

posted by amberglow at 8:23 AM on August 29, 2005


THE SUPERDOME IS OK.. rise above the media histrionics.
posted by stbalbach at 8:32 AM on August 29, 2005


The top was just made of fabric. Reinforced concrete is one of the few construction methods that I know of that can withstand a nuclear shockwave, I think it'll be fine in a Cat4.
posted by geoff. at 8:36 AM on August 29, 2005


It's actually not fabric. It has a steel structure and is made of a sprayed on foam material (scroll to bottom of page for photos).
posted by missmerrymack at 8:42 AM on August 29, 2005


EB: Not the graphic I was looking for, but similar.

18" of water over a levee isn't welcome, but it's not disasterous. You need to get it up before it softens enough of the levee's footing, to keep the levee from flooding, but you have time, and portable pumps.

18" of water through a levee is very close to a disaster -- it means you're gettting a good deal of flow through a leak, and the flow is only going to widen the leak. You need to plug that leak before it becomes catastrophic -- and it's hard to do that in hurricane conditions.

So, I'm hoping it's just overtopping waves and/or rainfall and lack of pumping -- which is the most likely scenario, given wind and rainfall. If the Mississippi river levee fails, though, it's over.
posted by eriko at 8:46 AM on August 29, 2005


more from ColdChef: The wind and rain are whipping around the house. I've reinstalled AOL on my laptop so I can use the ONE landline that's still functioning in the office.

It's crazy scary here. I had to go to the office, because I was freaking out all of the kids by screaming at them to stay away from the windows. I'm apparently the only one shitting his pants. (and you can quote me on that.)

I've had a few calls from New Orleans. Awful stuff happening there.

More later.


posted by amberglow at 8:54 AM on August 29, 2005


From the Times-Picayune Breaking News page: Gretna Mayor Ronnie Harris said [...] there had been a diesel fuel spill in the city, which might be carried to various parts of the city by the rainwater. That might cause those residents who did not flee the hurricane to notice a diesel smell, he cautioned.

Questions: posted by skoosh at 8:58 AM on August 29, 2005


Any working web cams?
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:10 AM on August 29, 2005


another from ColdChef just now: We should be getting the worst of it in about an hour or so. Already, I've got trees down in our yard, part of the roof on our maintenance shed has torn off.
My mom is leading the rosary in the most secure part of the house.
Our guests are freaking out about their homes, but no one should really go out to check just yet.
I'm no longer able to talk to anyone I know in New Orleans. No phones, no texts, nothing. My guts hurt from worrying so much.

posted by amberglow at 9:16 AM on August 29, 2005 [1 favorite]


What plans could be made to pump the water out of the city, while at the same time minimizing the environmental impact to surrounding wetlands and coastal areas, if the floodwater gets (more) toxic?
Are those plans being made?

According to MSNBC, yeah, they have a group of people at the command center to figure out how to do that.
posted by SpecialK at 9:25 AM on August 29, 2005


If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
And the water gonna come in, have no place to stay
Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan
Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan
Thinkin' 'bout my baby and my happy home
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
And all these people have no place to stay

Memphis Minnie, 1929.

INITIAL 29/1500Z 30.2N 89.6W 110 KT
.
posted by cavalier at 9:37 AM on August 29, 2005


Apologies, this all has me pretty sad.

Do you know what it means, to miss New Orleans?
And miss her each night and day
I know I'm not wrong because the feeling's
getting stronger, the longer I stay away.

Miss the moss-covered vines, tall sugar pines,
where mockingbirds used to sing.
I'd love to see that old lazy Mississippi
running in the spring.

Moonlight on the bayous,
Creole tunes fill the air.
I dream about magnolias in June,
and I'm wishin' I was there

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans,
when that's where you left your heart.
And there's one thing more, I miss the one I care for
more than I miss New Orleans

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:38 AM on August 29, 2005


Thanks, Amberglow.
posted by tizzie at 9:43 AM on August 29, 2005


I was wondering when someone was gonna post that, cavalier.

So, for atmosphere...
posted by jonmc at 10:09 AM on August 29, 2005


C_D, those were most appropriate.

amber, thanks for keeping CC with us. CC, what a horrible personal connection to bland news reports.

What plans could be made to pump the water out of the city, while at the same time minimizing the environmental impact to surrounding wetlands and coastal areas, if the floodwater gets (more) toxic?

In situations like these, people come first, wetlands a distant second. They'll chuck it over the levee and hope for the best. I'm not sure those wetlands are going to be in great shape after a storm surge as it is.

And now for the hating: Illinoisans flee Katrina via $3700 limo ride. They were dropping their son at Tulane (New Trier grad, natch) and their flight was cancelled, so they all hired a livery driver to take them and another family ... all the way back to Chicago.
posted by dhartung at 11:54 AM on August 29, 2005


Check out this photo of the Superdome.
posted by ed at 12:05 PM on August 29, 2005


No hate here. If I'd been stuck in NO and heard all the forecasts that we were hearing on Sunday and if I could scrounge up $3700, I'd have done the same. Just make sure you make a VERY large donation to some relief agencies afterwards, and hopefully the son will join some fellow students and assist in the cleanup efforts when he can safely return.
posted by marsha56 at 12:30 PM on August 29, 2005


I'm with marsha56 -- no hate here. They were kind to invite the other family to join them.
"Brad and Laurie Olson of South Dakota, in New Orleans to celebrate Laurie's birthday, were also desperately trying to rent a car. Marty Kogan overheard them and invited them along in the limo."
posted by ericb at 3:34 PM on August 29, 2005


ColdChef and family are all ok, thank God. (his latest email's subject line: ALIVE! ALIVE I TELL YOU!) : >

Sucker, monju, MotorNeuron, and everyone down there--you guys all ok?

I can't get over that whole neighborhood underwater in NO, and it's worse in Mississippi.
posted by amberglow at 3:45 PM on August 29, 2005


From ColdChef:
I LIVE!

Looks like we are out of the hellmouth now. I just went for a drive around town.

It's heartwrenching. I counted at least thirty trees down all over town. The powerlines are a mess. Entergy thinks it will be at least two to three WEEKS before we have minimum power restored.

However, my sister called me from MY front yard (about thirty miles from here) and despite the loss of some of my favorite plants and a few tree limbs, my house is okay.

Thanks for all the well wishes. Now begins recovery. I'm going out with a crew to chainsaw up the felled trees. At least the ones blocking the road. We're going to work until dark and then start back in the morning. . .

I'm fucking exhausted. . .

I have once again laughed in the face of peril, if you count lying under a table and weeping like a pussy as bravery. I know I do.
posted by Vidiot at 3:47 PM on August 29, 2005 [3 favorites]


Just checked out ColdChef's user page to find other LA Mefites. Was that always his occupation, or just some very morbid humor? (no pun intended)
posted by skoosh at 4:17 PM on August 29, 2005


He mentioned his father was taking care of the dead ("My dad was working up front in the funeral home") so I'm guessing it wasn't just coincidence. Given ColdChef's wonderful sense of humor, I'm not surprised in the least.

Really glad to hear reports coming in that the city wasn't wiped off the face of the planet.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:28 PM on August 29, 2005


Lots of photos of the aftermath are starting to roll in now at getty.
posted by Sangre Azul at 4:33 PM on August 29, 2005


No, he really is a third-generation undertaker.

I have no joke here, just an expression of relief that he and his family are okay.
posted by yhbc at 4:40 PM on August 29, 2005


>We are worried about tornadoes and other wind related nastiness, but our funeral home is built like a bunker.

Also.
posted by dhartung at 4:48 PM on August 29, 2005


Thanks for that Getty link, Sangre Azul.

French Quarter is still standing...


Oil rig dragged into suspension bridge.


Lotsa broken windows.


Some houses nearly submerged.

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:46 AM on August 30, 2005


Reading this thread sure was eerie.
posted by delmoi at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2005


« Older Are the counter protests today pro-war or somethin...  |  David Segal, former pop music ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments