Louisiana Drowning
August 13, 2016 11:20 PM   Subscribe

A 500-year rainstorm is currently underway in Louisiana with record flooding and daring rescues of life.

NOLA.com updates has a liveblog of updates.
posted by guiseroom (74 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Shit.

Stay safe, folks.
posted by brennen at 11:42 PM on August 13, 2016


Weather Underground has some excellent analysis
posted by humanfont at 11:43 PM on August 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I lived in BR three years ago, and when Isaac came there were ducks swimming in my apartment complex driveway and people getting their vehicles stuck in the water/mud/lawn. And that wasn't nearly as much water as I'm hearing this is. I just looked up the street I lived on, and it's now closed (it wasn't closed for Isaac); I wonder how high the level is there now.

I also recently got back from France; I spent late May through the end of June there and got to experience a 100-year rain. Some friends and I swam in a street.

When I rented my house here in Kansas after moving from BR I was told the unfinished basement leaked a little once or twice in torrential rain over a decade. The first year I lived in it - no leaking. The past two years - a couple inches of rainwater down there pretty much all May, most of June, and September.

These aren't rare events anymore. Doesn't bode well for us.
posted by vegartanipla at 11:50 PM on August 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


Oh, Louisiana. You have been through enough. 😔 Can we do a check in for Louisiana and Mississippi based MeFites? Is there anything else we can do to help? Also, so much love for the stables and vets opening their gates to any and all animals in need of dry ground. The loss of wild and domestic animals during natural disasters is just devastating.
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:51 PM on August 13, 2016 [15 favorites]


That was a very close call for the lady in the Mazda. And her dog. I have no idea how she ended up in the water like that, but I have long ago abandoned any idea that "it can't happen to me". We're all just a couple of bad decisions away from messing things up and needing to be rescued. Good on the folks out there in the boat looking out for their neighbours.
posted by Harald74 at 12:18 AM on August 14, 2016 [22 favorites]


I lived in NO for 7 years or so, I moved away this March and endured Isaac (fuck you Isaac) as well. It frequently rains multiple inches locally, what differentiates this storm is the magnitude. It's basically a slow-moving hurricane. SE Louisiana is hell in August, even worse without power.

Stay safe yo.
posted by vapidave at 12:22 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just a reminder that only a foot of water can float a car. Frequently people think they'll just cross a little wet patch and be on their way out of the storm, but the car gets swept away by the current to deeper water. SUVs don't make you invincible either-- two feet of water can float an entire bus.
posted by bluecore at 12:38 AM on August 14, 2016 [27 favorites]


Inflation is everywhere - - now it's even struck the 100-year storm.
posted by fairmettle at 2:16 AM on August 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Even if a car isn't floating your average SUV emulates a pretty good sea anchor and flowing water can push it around pretty easily even on concrete.

Livingston got 17" in 15 hours. It normally gets 6" in all of August. That is just unbelievable.
posted by Mitheral at 2:26 AM on August 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


That was a very close call for the lady in the Mazda. And her dog. I have no idea how she ended up in the water like that, but I have long ago abandoned any idea that "it can't happen to me". We're all just a couple of bad decisions away from messing things up and needing to be rescued. Good on the folks out there in the boat looking out for their neighbours.

What I don't get is that Miata has a *manual* convertible. All she needed to do was pop two latches and she'd be out.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:27 AM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


A 500-year rainstorm is currently underway in Louisiana with record flooding and daring rescues of life.

Counterpoint: There was a snowball on the floor of the Senate.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:31 AM on August 14, 2016 [28 favorites]


God dammit, Louisiana just can't catch a fucking break.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:36 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


if the Gulf doesn't flood us by sea, it floods us by air. thanks, Exxon.

I have people that left the city after Katrina, only to have his house flooded by the Bogue Falaya last March. bummer. My uncle just got a new lathe after the Bogue Falaya messed with a lot of his carpentry equipment. I don't think this flood is that bad this far east, but I'm hoping he doesn't lose his shop again.

disastermap.net, @disastermapnet

#lawx

ps, if this dumps in the Ohio Valley, it will come back in a few weeks as a Mississippi River flood, and a flood fight from that direction, as well.

Max rainfall has been over 30 inches over many parishes and maxxed out at 37.5 inches! Three feet of rain.
posted by eustatic at 5:08 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


there's a lot of trucking through our state, if you know someone on the road, hb.511la.org has the road closures.
posted by eustatic at 5:18 AM on August 14, 2016


What I don't get is that Miata has a *manual* convertible. All she needed to do was pop two latches and she'd be out.

I bet she was holding onto her dog. People do some really dangerous weird stuff in situations like this. I had an uncle who drowned trying to rescue his dog that had fallen through ice. They realized what had happened when the dog came home alone.

YOUR DOG WILL DO BETTER THAN YOU IN DANGEROUS WATER.
posted by srboisvert at 5:22 AM on August 14, 2016 [18 favorites]


Worst storm I remember is in Shreveport in mid 1990's we got 24 inches of rain in 24 hours. I remember my dad getting a dingy from a neighbor and saving my grandparents via boat.

This is much further south than shreveport. It is so so so sad and dangerous. Between chemicals, alligators, fire ants (did you know they float on top of flood water and attach to the driest thing they can find (aka your body), and just the sheer damage water brings it is a tough tough time.

Hurricanes generally bring a little cooler weather and a nice breeze, not nessissarily true with this storm.

Be safe out there.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:53 AM on August 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


This has been a very weird storm in that the massive rainfall is highly localized. You'll notice there isn't a lot of news about New Orleans itself; that's because this has been a mostly normal rainfall event for the metro area, and the much-anticipated Red Dress Run even went off without a hitch on Saturday. Same here in Mandeville, north of Lake Pontchartrain; drainage is working normally. But just twenty miles from here people are being rescued from rooftops and stalled cars. So it's mostly affecting the people who get a train of thunderstorms dumping ten inches of rain on them, and then the water drains into the rivers which overflow along their banks.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:10 AM on August 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm in New Orleans, where things are luckily fine for the most part. It's raining again right now and not looking to let up. There's a gofundme for the Denham Springs Animal Shelter, among other I'm sure very worthy causes, if you feel like helping: https://www.gofundme.com/2jdh3xg4.
posted by CheeseLouise at 6:11 AM on August 14, 2016


Any word on Plaquemines parish? I have a good friend who lives there. The population is so low that is hard to find good info.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:27 AM on August 14, 2016


The bad news is: it's climate change, so get used to it. Last year it was estimated that 500-year storms are now occurring every 24 years.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:33 AM on August 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


AlexiaSky, as far as I know Plaquemines is good. This storm has been way worse across the lake, as Bringer Tom described above.
posted by CheeseLouise at 6:39 AM on August 14, 2016


ps, if this dumps in the Ohio Valley, it will come back in a few weeks as a Mississippi River flood, and a flood fight from that direction, as well.

Get ready, then. We've had flash flood warnings and watches in various southern (along the Ohio River) counties since Thursday, and the rain here in Indiana is nowhere near done. The FF warning/watches have started creeping northward, up the state as the rain continues.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:43 AM on August 14, 2016


Panic makes people forget basic stuff, like "I'm in a convertable". Also, it might have been broken, I've known some people with convertable that couldn't convert.
posted by sotonohito at 6:44 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, and I know the answer is no, but surely this is going to convince some people to do something about climate change?
posted by sotonohito at 6:48 AM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


What I don't get is that Miata has a *manual* convertible. All she needed to do was pop two latches and she'd be out.
posted by leotrotsky
Cars run on roads. I'm in a car. This is a road.
AAAAHHH now river flood car panic

WATER IN CAR
WATER. FEET. (steer a bit maybe hit gas)

water up to knees.....

CAR SPINNING!

OPEN DOOR!

FREEZING WATER! CAR TURNING! FACE IN WATER!

[REACH UP]

(held down)

[water over face]

[SEAT BELT]



(Oh! I remember this 2014 model Mazda Miata has a *manual* option. ....)
posted by Combat Wombat at 6:51 AM on August 14, 2016 [20 favorites]


Ellicott City, Maryland had what was called a 1,000 year flood a few weeks ago.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:51 AM on August 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Randy Newman, "Louisiana 1927".
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:53 AM on August 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


The northern Mississippi river has been inundated with rain in the last week, too, with places getting more than 12" in 24 hours (that's staggering for the area). Combine that with the Ohio river, and there's potential for a very large flood surge downstream.
posted by yesster at 7:27 AM on August 14, 2016


Last night a line of violent thunderstorms moved through New York State. Earlier, a local weathercaster pointed out an unusual record: our area had more moisture suspended in the atmosphere above it than had ever been recorded before. When I checked the radar, I realized with awe that the storms were just the northeastern end of a vast line of activity which stretched pretty much all the way to Louisiana. This is stunning and horrifying as this sort of massive weather pattern seems to be getting more common, and speaks to the mobilization of forces on a much larger scale than the relatively local patterns to which we've grown accustomed. We need to step up our emergency preparedness, big-time.

I grieve for those in vulnerable places like the Gulf Coast, and fear that this is just a taste of more to come. Time to head for higher ground--if you can find some.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:28 AM on August 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Statistical calculations like these make a major assumption: That the climate of the past is the same as the climate of today. That’s no longer a very good assumption.

That's always been a terrible assumption.
posted by perhapsolutely at 7:54 AM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Leotrotsky just reminded me to learn how to open my convertible top manually and commit it to muscle memory (not that I will be driving my little car in flooding rain, but better safe than sorry).

Someone I'm in a group with posted a picture of coffins floating. Sorority sisters of mine down there are being evacuated. I cannot even imagine...
posted by MultiFaceted at 8:03 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I want to take a moment to praise ColdChef. He and his family have been working tirelessly for days to help out in this.

Quick story: A local competitor, African American-owned funeral home, is currently underwater. He offered them use of his facilities until they are back up and running. I know he wouldn't tell a story like that on himself here, so I'm doing it for him.

I'm proud to call him a friend and grateful that this place brought him into my life.

And to all you other LA mefites that are going through this the best you can, know that just about every damn continent on this planet has people cheering you on.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:31 AM on August 14, 2016 [127 favorites]


ColdChef is the best. I hope all his customers stay where he put them, in this thing.
posted by thelonius at 8:35 AM on August 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


Also, and I know the answer is no, but surely this is going to convince some people to do something about climate change?

It's the kind of thing that people -- that is to say, individual people -- can't really take meaningful action on unless (a) a larger entity gives them a reasonable choice, or (b) a larger entity pushes them in the right direction. A reasonable choice might be, say, paying fifty extra cents per kilowatt hour for wind-generated electricity instead of natural gas electricity (that's what my power utility offers here in PA), or the introduction of a cheap, reliable hybrid like the Prius. A push in the right direction would be legislation at the national level.

It seems to me that the way to encourage those broad changes is to convince people that the broader costs of their hydrocarbon consumption outweigh the affordable conveniences of modern life. That might make climate change (and meaningful climate change legislation) a more weighty factor in determining who people vote for. But the truth is, most people are a lot more concerned about their 401k or their loan payments or TERRORISTS!!!!!! than they are about climate change. It's human nature; we just aren't good at dealing with long-term, diffuse threats. For most people, the costs simply don't hit home until it's your very own ass on the line -- until it's your house getting flooded, or your crops dying, or your aquifer filling with saltwater, or your elderly parents trapped in a heat wave.

And even then, a lot of people will shrug it off as "shit happens, that's just mother nature -- who says we have anything to do with it?" To wit: the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has produced this map, which is alternately heartening and dispiriting. Slightly less than half of Americans believe that global warming is happening as a result of anthropogenic carbon emissions. And here's the number that made me grit my teeth: only 2 out of every 5 Americans say that "Most scientists think global warming is happening." Fox News and its ilk have done marvelous work on that front. Americans, by and large, have bought into the "Teach the Controversy!" mentality.

On the other hand, about 3 out of 5 Americans believe that climate change will harm future generations. And nearly 75% of us want to "regulate CO2 as a pollutant." So there's a weird disconnect there: we sort of want to do something about carbon emissions, because we suspect that it could hurt our descendants, but we can't even decide whether we're causing climate change in the first place. Even though a large majority of Americans wants emissions regulation, climate change is the sort of problem that's very, very easy to place on your mental back burner while other, more immediate concerns arise.

I'm just starting my career in this field, and I have already become fatalistic about our ultimate course of action. I want to work towards knowledge and meaningful change, but I cannot make my efforts conditional on the assurance that we will curb our emissions. I would not be surprised in the least if we continued on our present course. Worldwide carbon emissions have continued to rise steadily, up to 36 gigatons for the year 2014. Quite simply, humans generally don't shift their asses until their asses are personally on fire.

So what series of events would be so big as to be undeniable? What would make the whole world say, "holy shit, we need to do something"? Well, I don't know. It depends, to some degree, on how long people can keep on telling themselves, "shit, that's just mother nature, we've got nothing to do with that." The most catastrophic climate change scenarios would still take decades and centuries to play out, and we don't have the mental capacity to accurately perceive threats that play out over centuries. Nature Geoscience devoted a large chunk of its most recent issue to the effects of greenhouse warming on ocean circulation. There's a lot of material there to read through, and I'd like to tackle it soon. But, essentially, if the oceanic thermohaline circulation shuts down or becomes too sluggish in the next few decades, that will be a Big Fucking Deal. A lot of climatologists and oceanographers are waiting on the edge of their seats to see how the melting of Greenland and West Antarctica is going to affect ocean circulation.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 8:59 AM on August 14, 2016 [32 favorites]


This country can't even enact basic gun control laws after multiple, weekly mass shootings. I don't think the "event that makes people take climate change serisously" exists.
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 AM on August 14, 2016 [37 favorites]


I wish everyone well who suffers in the aftermath of disasters like this but can we please knock it off with the 'nnn year storm' moniker? The label's meaningless. These calamities are a symptom of climate change, which nobody can fix, really; but a solution is coming. You won't like it, however - but you probably won't be around then, anyway. The oil and coal will be exhausted and the CO2 in the atmosphere will eventually get back to normal levels; but I'm not giving up my car now, and neither are you, most probably. As Noam said, we're all driving towards the abyss, eyes wide open. Hold on!
posted by Rash at 9:09 AM on August 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Atchafalaya?

"Now the river is running about as far east as it can possibly go, and it wants to writhe back west, away from New Orleans and down the Atchafalaya River Basin instead.

"But in the late 1950’s, Congress passed a bill to save the port of New Orleans by making it illegal for more than a third of the Mississippi to flow down the Atchafalaya River basin. This is akin to passing a bill to hold back the tide."
posted by hank at 9:27 AM on August 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Vic Morrow, it seems like you've thought a lot about this stuff so maybe you've already read it, but if not, check out Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change.
posted by gwint at 9:40 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Regarding Ellicott City, the severity of the flood was likely influenced by poor land management, e.g. local deforestation for development. In Maryland, developers always win. I can't speak to Louisiana, but this is a broad management problem all over the country.
posted by zennie at 9:44 AM on August 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Great Mississippi Flood of 1927

When The Levee Breaks: Ripples Of The Great Flood

There's a great book about it:
Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America by John M. Barry.
posted by Bee'sWing at 9:51 AM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


These calamities are a symptom of climate change, which nobody can fix, really; but a solution is coming. You won't like it, however - but you probably won't be around then, anyway. The oil and coal will be exhausted

Please do not perpetuate that line of thinking. Not getting your hopes up is one thing, but rending your garment and saying "fuck it all" is quite another. Just because we have already pumped out 375 gigatons of carbon since the Industrial Revolution, that doesn't mean that we are doomed to burn up the entire crustal reserve of 12,000 gigatons. There is a tremendous difference between 375 and 12,000! We cannot mollify ourselves with the easy nihilism of saying "well, it's all over anyway! Guess we're just resigned to burning the rest of it."

Take a look at this study from last year, which focuses on the amount and rapidity of ice loss from Antarctica given certain amounts of carbon emissions. Pay special attention to the graphs. Burning through the entire crustal inventory of carbon will have a markedly more severe effect on Antarctic ice than slowing our emissions. The degree of severity of climate change MATTERS, most of all to other organisms. Organisms and species can adapt to rapid changes -- up to a point. The more severe those changes become, the fewer species will be able to cope. The numbers matter.

We don't have to hemorrhage CO2; it is still possible to slow the bleeding.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 9:57 AM on August 14, 2016 [20 favorites]


>I wish everyone well who suffers in the aftermath of disasters like this but can we please knock
> it off with the 'nnn year storm' moniker? The label's meaningless.

It's not meaningless, and I don't think this is the right place or time to try to score points on climate change.
posted by the Real Dan at 9:58 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm in New Orleans, and it's raining pretty hard, but so far, no flooding. (Beyond the localized street flooding we always get, I mean). As far as I know, Orleans and Plaquemines parishes are doing fine, and most of the flooding is around Lafayette and Baton Rouge. Thanks for the good wishes.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 10:07 AM on August 14, 2016


All the water has to go through New Orleans eventually though, right? Or is there another major route to the Gulf that can take a significant amount of the water?
posted by fshgrl at 10:15 AM on August 14, 2016


The huge spillways (like the Bonnet Carre near me) are closed right now, so there are measures available to divert Mississippi River water if necessary.
posted by Corinth at 10:29 AM on August 14, 2016


A reasonable choice might be, say, paying fifty extra cents per kilowatt hour for wind-generated electricity instead of natural gas electricity

I hope their is a typo in that. Not counting taxes, adding 50 cents/kW hr. would increase my bill from $135 to $700 this month. No more freezer, fridge or making goat cheese. Anything I butchered would have to go straight into a smokehouse, plus I'ld have to convert my well to steam power.

I can swing used solar panels and a charge controller, but the batteries (and batteries are consumables, not a capital expense) I'ld need to handle the startup inflow for my pumps and compressors is just a killer.
posted by ridgerunner at 10:35 AM on August 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yes, sorry, that was a typo. I had the wrong order of magnitude in my head! My utility charges a little under half a cent extra for each kilowatt-hour of wind-produced energy.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 10:49 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Talked to my friend, she is doing Just fine.



Atchafalaya basin is its own thing of engineering and sheer hope. It's really hard to comprehend how big the basin actually is, and no one knows the exact course the river would take . It is also very important economically for its exports of seafood, alligators and such, and new Orleans is economically important for all kinds of reasons.

It's one of those doom and gloom senarios, that children start learning about growing up there, that the river could shift and all the resources that go into keeping it exactly where it is for reasons. At least my parish spent a good amount of time in the 90's discussing area level rise, loss of brackish habitats, hurricane senarios and the basin.
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:20 AM on August 14, 2016


Hugs to all Louisianans. We've gotten some rain here in Texas, that lowered temps and brought us relief, no flooding; I wish that was all you were getting, too.
posted by emjaybee at 11:56 AM on August 14, 2016


Here's a pdf with too much information on the Atchafalaya basin, as well as some maps, for those who don't know the terrain too well (like me).
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:17 PM on August 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


All the water has to go through New Orleans eventually though, right?

No. In fact hardly any of this Louisiana floodwater will go into the Mississippi because of the levee system.

East of the Hammond most of the water will end up in the Tangipahoa and Tchefuncte rivers which drain into Lake Pontchartrain. It is those rivers which have closed over 60 miles of Interstate 12 because they haven't crested yet. I live two miles east of the Tchefuncte, and I will probably have to drive far out of my way to get to Jackson, MS tomorrow because all of the westbound routes I'd usually take to get to Hammond are underwater. My alternative is to go the wrong way to Slidell, up I-59 to US49, and then diagonally back across the state to Jackson. That will add about 1.5 hours to what should be a 2 hour trip.

Between Hammond and Baton Rouge most of the water will drain through smaller rivers like the Amite into Lake Maurepas. Neither Maurepas nor Pontchartrain are true lakes; they are salt water estuaries which drain into the sea, so they have an effectively infinite capacity to absorb runoff, especially since there is no storm surge raising their levels in this event. (Fun fact: Lake Pontchartrain is in fact the largest salt water estuary in the world.) Pontchartrain communicates with the Gulf through the Rigolets, and let me tell you it is rather astonishing to be on a small boat in the Rigolets when the tide turns. Maurepas communicates with Pontchartrain through the Pass Manchac. This water will flow past New Orleans, but it presents zero risk of flooding once it is in the lake basins.

West of Baton Rouge (and the Mississippi River) most of the water will end up, as the Mississippi itself really wants to, draining through the Atchafalaya basin. Again the capacity of this watershed is extremely large because it once drained half the continent, as one day it will again. This is a very small event for that basin compared to, for example, the deliberate opening of the Atchafalaya spillway to relieve pressure on the Mississippi because of that whole driaining half the continent thing.

What will go through New Orleans, unless spillways are opened, is much of the water being dumped far north of us right now. But that won't get here for a few weeks and the hydrologists have plenty of time to prepare.
posted by Bringer Tom at 1:35 PM on August 14, 2016 [20 favorites]


My folks are in Ponchatoula, and are fine, but we have friends 10 miles away who can't get to or from their homes. At this point, I know more people in Lafayette who have evacuated than haven't. We have friends east of Baton Rouge we can't reach. This is a terrible weekend.
posted by wintermind at 4:29 PM on August 14, 2016


I'm in New Orleans now, but all of my family is in the Baton Rouge area where I grew up. I spent the last 8 hours trying to get someone rescued out of an attic (they are now safe) and I've got family that were presumably evacuated but nobody can get in touch with them. The scale of this event is unimaginable. The city, the suburbs, and the surrounding rural communities are completely devastated. AT&T service went down early this morning in the area and as of yet is still down. 911 service has been spotty and a large percentage of the rescues have been by locals in their own boats. Many, many of the areas that flooded haven't flooded in my grandparent's lifetime, and most won't have flood insurance coverage.

Things are beyond bad.
posted by tryniti at 4:30 PM on August 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


And if anyone is interested in watching local coverage, wafb.com has been live all day.
posted by tryniti at 4:31 PM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thousands of drivers have been stuck on I-12 for 28 hours and are just now clearing out.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:59 PM on August 14, 2016


I have a friend whose father is missing in the flooding. He was last seen in the top floor of a house where the bottom floor was flooded, refusing to get into a boat. It's been more than 24 hours since he was heard from.

His name is Michael McQueary. If anyone in the Louisiana area knows of his whereabouts please contact me ASAP.
posted by KathrynT at 11:44 PM on August 14, 2016


I wound up with eighteen inches of water in my house.

My house is seven feet off the ground.

The first day, it was entertaining. I kept taking pictures as the water climbed my front stairs. By nightfall, it was six inches from being inside. I stayed up all night watching it, and the water level dropped a couple of inches by daybreak. This whole time it rained, but eased up during the night. Then the rain started falling harder, and early the next night it started coming inside.

I retreated to the deck and master bedroom, which are two feet higher. It rained all night, and the next day. As it was getting late that day, the water was about four inches from flooding the bedroom. I grabbed some clothes and kayaked out to the street. From there I could only drive south. All roads were flooded. I spent the night with a friend and came back this morning. The water had fallen to a foot below the lower house.

Floors are warped, cabinets shot, Sheetrock history about two feet up.
If anybody knows what I can do, if anything, to save my appliances, please tell me. The fridge was underwater but the gasket saved the inside.

Otherwise things are fine here. I've applied for FEMA assistance.

What everyone has said about rapid development and poor planning and design is true.
posted by atchafalaya at 12:37 AM on August 15, 2016 [18 favorites]


Update on my friend's dad: he is alive and somewhere in the shelter system! Not sure where, but he is confirmed as checked in. WHEW.
posted by KathrynT at 7:56 AM on August 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


We evacuated to my parents' house in Alabama when Atlanta had the flooding in 2009.

Fortunately, our house is on high ground. We left town because the flooding had washed out certain roads and broke water mains. We would have lost our water supply and had warnings about drinking the water for days afterward.

As we were leaving we drove across a bridge where the water was up to the bottom. You can see in this photo that the bridge is normally quite high above the water level. Apparently they closed the bridge to traffic an hour or so after we left.

What's going on in LA is quite a lot worse, so my thoughts are with those of you who are affected by it.
posted by Fleebnork at 9:00 AM on August 15, 2016


Glad you locals are water-logged but alive; prayers for you all.

(Bill Bryson's multi-threaded book "One Summer: America, 1927" discusses the Great Flood, twining the story together with that of Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, and a couple other topics. I really liked the audiobook: his gently raspy voice was a good fit.)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:57 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


If any MeFites or their friends/family need a place to stay in New Orleans, message me. I have a guest bedroom with a full sized bed.
posted by domo at 2:08 PM on August 16, 2016 [4 favorites]










Why isn't flood insurance a mandatory thing? I understand that you can really only get flood insurance through the government, so why not add it to taxes and make everyone pay for it? Livingston, Louisiana is at 43ft of elevation, the highest point in Louisiana is only 535 ft. I'm not blaming these people for not having flood insurance, I'm wondering why it isn't an automatic service provided by the government. Yeah these floods are unexpected, but they all are. We keep seeing these major flooding disasters where no one or very few have insurance. Just a quick google and the average premium is $700 per year. This varies by location but there's no reason it needs to when you're doing a national program (unless you want to discourage people from living in flood prone areas). Just add it into the property taxes, even renters are covered because their landlord paid the tax (without penalty to renters who have shitty landlords that don't pay taxes).

It just seems like if we are going to wait for a flood and then help everyone out a little with FEMA and other disaster relief, then maybe we should just pay for it all the time and have the victims actually get what they are insured for instead (I am assuming that's more than what they would get with disaster relief).
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:18 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


You're asking this about a nation where many people specifically insist on not wearing a helmet while motorcycling.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:28 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


The President's comments today, according to our local alt-weekly who is out there covering the event:

"Sometimes, once the floodwaters pass, peoples' attention spans pass ... I need all Americans to stay focused on this. They've got a lot of work to do and they shouldn't have to do it alone."
posted by komara at 11:31 AM on August 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Bill McKibben: The Axis Of Destruction And Hope
posted by homunculus at 4:14 PM on August 23, 2016


ROU_Xenophobe: "You're asking this about a nation where many people specifically insist on not wearing a helmet while motorcycling."

And people won't pay $75 a year for fire department service. Or even support taxes to equip the volunteer fire fighters doing the work for free. If you can't consistently get people to fund safety equipment for volunteer fire fighters a flood insurance tax is a complete non-starter.

The anti tax brigade is absolutely pathological in trying to reduce taxes and therefor services even for something that would obviously benefit themselves. You have to embarrass them to get them to support a tax and that is a pretty high bar.
posted by Mitheral at 7:50 PM on August 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


The fridge was underwater but the gasket saved the inside.

Since it was fresh and not salt water, you have a very good chance of just winging it. Plug it in. As long as the thermostat and de-icing timer weren't under the water, there's a good chance it will just work. The whole refrigeration works is after all hermetically sealed.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:34 PM on August 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


The electrical connections, starter/overload relay and possibly a capacitor controlling the motor aren't internal to the hermetic unit. I wouldn't trust these components once they have been submerged in dirty water and there is a significant chance that plugging the refrigerator in without thoroughly drying/replacing these components out will cause a short and/or things to go boom.

There is also somewhat commonly a fan cooling the condenser coils. It would also be suspectif present (at a minimum the service life is seriously reduced) if submerged though they are usually straight induction or shaded pole so don't present a significant shorting hazard.
posted by Mitheral at 8:15 PM on August 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Why isn't flood insurance a mandatory thing? I understand that you can really only get flood insurance through the government, so why not add it to taxes and make everyone pay for it? Livingston, Louisiana is at 43ft of elevation, the highest point in Louisiana is only 535 ft. I'm not blaming these people for not having flood insurance, I'm wondering why it isn't an automatic service provided by the government. Yeah these floods are unexpected, but they all are. We keep seeing these major flooding disasters where no one or very few have insurance. Just a quick google and the average premium is $700 per year. This varies by location but there's no reason it needs to when you're doing a national program (unless you want to discourage people from living in flood prone areas). Just add it into the property taxes, even renters are covered because their landlord paid the tax (without penalty to renters who have shitty landlords that don't pay taxes)."

It's a lot more than $700 a year in flood zones. But why make flood-specific insurance a mandatory thing? If you're going to add it to the taxes and make everyone pay for it then why not make it natural disaster insurance? Some places flood, some places suffer earthquakes, some places suffer fires, lightning strikes, methane gas clouds, etc. That would get a lot more people to support it, I think.
posted by I-baLL at 9:34 AM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that's a great idea I-baLL!


Notice that the $700 per year is an average, so yeah if each person pays according to their actual risk, then flood prone areas (or other disasters) would pay more. But if you are doing a national program with no regard for the actual risk of the area, then you can use average and have everyone pay the same price.
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:59 AM on August 25, 2016


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