'Imminent threat', my arse. The U.S. will be attacked tomorrow!
October 2, 2002 5:56 PM   Subscribe

'Imminent threat', my arse. The U.S. will be attacked tomorrow! Lili is a Cat-4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145 MPH and gusts to 180 MPH. She's expected to be of Cat-5 strength tomorrow. (hint: they don't make them any stronger.) The first landfill is expected at Avery Island, (home of Tabasco sauce). New Orleans should be spared the worst of the storm, but Lafayette and Lake Charles may face catastrophic damage and flooding. Lili brings with it an anticipated storm surge of twelve to eighteen feet, which may be exacerabated by landing during high tide. Lili is the first hurricane to hit the US mainland since the category 4 hurricane Floyd in 1999. Floyd did over $1B in damage and killed over 40 people.
posted by insomnia_lj (38 comments total)
I was in New Orleans until Tuesday visiting my brother. As we got into the car to go to the airport, the wind was picking up and he said, "That's Lili." It was eerie; I felt like I was fleeing an invading horde. Now, for the second time in two weeks, he has to evacuate. Still, that's better than the thousands of people who will stick around or otherwise be trapped in town when it hits.

An interesting, compounding problem in the New Orleans/Bayou region is that when floodwaters top a levee, they often flush all sorts of swamp creatures into the protected area - alligators, water moccasins, etc. After Isadore, the residents of some areas of NO had to do their own exterminating, spending two or three days hunting down various deadly reptiles that had become trapped behind the levee after the waters receded.
posted by risenc at 6:04 PM on October 2, 2002

Also a few things worth pointing out...
- the stunning weather satellite imagery available from the SSEC in Wisconsin.
- This could be the first truely "blogged" hurricane. I'm going to provide provide news and firsthand reports from webloggers in Louisiana on my journal, but I've been thinking... would anyone else like to help create an "emergency blogcast system", of sorts?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:10 PM on October 2, 2002

looks like saddam's work...
posted by pyr at 6:12 PM on October 2, 2002

I guess I'm not going on that plane in the morning to NO.

Dang! And I've never been, either.

Good luck you guys, keep your heads up and blunderbusses ready for gators...
posted by Busithoth at 6:21 PM on October 2, 2002

"The first landfill is expected at Avery Island"

Psst...insomniajj...I think it's "landfall". At least I hope that's what you meant.

All y'all down there best be gettin' while the gettin's good, y'hear?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:25 PM on October 2, 2002

If the first landfill is expected at Avery Island, does Lili need a dump permit?

The stunning weather satellite imagery (s.w.s.i.) confirms one suspicion I've always had - state boundaries are visible from space, because the Army Corps of Engineers lays a 500m wide strip of landscape cloth along the surveyed borders.
posted by anser at 6:31 PM on October 2, 2002

yeah... I was a sloppy poster. Didn't even spell check. I'm juggling a dozen things right now, so sue me.

(Technically though, hurricanes can make landfill. They've gotta do something with all that debris... )
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:31 PM on October 2, 2002

This could be the first truely "blogged" hurricane.

posted by donkeyschlong at 6:32 PM on October 2, 2002

Damn right. This is not a drill!

Floyd's destruction was so great because of widespread flooding through a whole low-level watershed. High winds were not the problem compared to the catastrophic flooding, which mostly affected poor, rural communities. The flooding destroyed whole towns that were many many miles inland. It sounds like LA is set up for a pretty similar deal.
posted by crunchburger at 6:33 PM on October 2, 2002

Can't find a link, but there was an NPR story last week about how a super hurricane could kill 10,000 in NO. They are building (or planning?) a dike around an area of the city center for people to stay in. Sounded bad...like, in all probability NO will cease to exist in 50-100 years.
posted by goethean at 6:42 PM on October 2, 2002

Baton Rouge in the house, yo!

I'll fill you folks in on the "New Orleans as the New Atlantis" thing, later...(not a question of "if", but "when"), but right now, I've got a lot of people who need my help here.

I'll drop into this thread when I can, once the winds start, and let y'all know what it's like to be in the path.

Until then, hope for the best for us.
posted by ColdChef at 6:55 PM on October 2, 2002

goethean, could you mean this story?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:59 PM on October 2, 2002

stay safe coldchef!

and don't bother with us until afterwards
posted by amberglow at 7:03 PM on October 2, 2002

ColdChef, if you have time between mixing the drinks and nailing the plywood, please, a question. Why did people name a town 'Red Stick' (= 'Baton Rouge' fr.)? I've always wondered what the reference was or what the hell they had in mind with that name.
posted by crunchburger at 7:07 PM on October 2, 2002

Gold star to Mr. Davis.
posted by goethean at 7:08 PM on October 2, 2002

Meaning of "Red Stick"

(BTW, no one here ever calls it that unless they're being ironic, just as no one local EVER refers to New Orleans as "Nawlins" or "The Big Easy")
posted by ColdChef at 7:12 PM on October 2, 2002

Landfill isn't too far off base. I lived in Homestead, Florida about five years after Andrew, and the town still had a devastated look -- empty lots where buildings obviously used to stand.

I also remember my father's stories of snakes in the bushes of our flooded yard in Miami after a series of hurricanes. We moved out for a couple of months, and the cleanup when we came back wasn't fun. Except for us kids, who thought the whole thing was pretty exciting.
posted by gordian knot at 7:15 PM on October 2, 2002

Best wishes ColdChef, and thanks for the info. That was my first guess (name is from surveying, not from the Napoleonic Code or something). Remember to hoard as much bottled water (especially), batteries, flashlights, matches, candles, prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, food, non-perishable food, first-aid supplies, fuel sources, extra clothing, and cash as you can before landfall and good luck.
posted by crunchburger at 7:32 PM on October 2, 2002

My mom used to tell stories of Hurricane Audrey in 1957; particularly how the nutria (=big evil swamp rats) seemed to be swimming everywhere in the floodwaters.
posted by gimonca at 7:37 PM on October 2, 2002

Goethean - the piece I would guess you are referring to was on NPR's All Things Considered on Friday, September 20, 2002. This outstanding, disturbing piece was a two parter called "New Orleans' Hurricane Risk." Here are the direct RealAudio links: Part 1 , Part 2.
In-depth pieces like this are why public radio gets my financial support every year.
posted by pjhagop at 7:41 PM on October 2, 2002

There is also this transcript from the version that was shown on Bill Moyer's "NOW" on PBS.
posted by readymade at 7:57 PM on October 2, 2002

"We have a real disaster in the making," said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. "This is going to be the worst hurricane to hit the Louisiana coast since reconnaissance data has been available."
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:00 PM on October 2, 2002

when floodwaters top a levee, they often flush all sorts of swamp creatures into the protected area - alligators, water moccasins, etc....big evil swamp rats... seemed to be swimming everywhere in the floodwaters

Lord. Also don't forget to buy: burlap sacks, mongooses, .22 rifles, and rusty garden hoes.
posted by crunchburger at 8:02 PM on October 2, 2002

Hang in there ColdChef! I hope you guys don't get hit hard.
posted by azazello at 8:03 PM on October 2, 2002

Anyone else living in the Apple in the mid-80's when Gloria "shut it down"? Sincerely hope your hurricane turns out to be as big and fat a nuthin.'
posted by mirla at 8:08 PM on October 2, 2002

Anyone else seeing some screwy code on the page, starting around here?
posted by mirla at 8:09 PM on October 2, 2002

Yeah, I'm in Baton Rouge too. I thought you were in N.O. Coldchef... Anyway, my parents are in Houma which is South of New Orleans, and they thought they weren't going to need to evacuate. It looks like they'll be heading to the shelter, but I haven't heard. They should come here, but my sister (an Ambulance emt) said there's bumper to bumper traffic on the evacuations routes right now.

If the cable's up, I'll post about it. Probably won't be much to say, but "wind's howling noisy". Baton Rouge is relatively far up so she might weaken a bit before us.

Keep in mind we just had hurricane Isidore last week. I am afraid that the authorities were a little slow on the evacuations and closings this time because last week was kind of surprisingly calm other than some flooding.

On supplies and preparation: Batteries are a commodity right now. People are driving like dogshit because their minds are all scattered. Most of us got what we need last week for Isidore

On top of that: What would we do without sattelite imagery? We've known since last week that this thing was coming. I'm a weather.com mapaholic and the NHC's no slouch. It looks a little stormy out, but hell I was cutting the grass earlier and felt kind of ridiculous. No sign of the hell about to unleash. I can't imagine having no notice of this.

Oh, It's picking up. Gotta get the wind chimes down...
posted by mblandi at 8:10 PM on October 2, 2002

I got lotsa folks coming from Vermillion Parish (Abbeville, Erath, Maurice) scattering to the four winds (some to Birmingham, some to Shreveport, some to Houston). I'm high and dry in Austin, myself. Communication lines are getting tough to maintain. I just hope there's something left to go back to...
posted by shecky57 at 8:21 PM on October 2, 2002

[joke] I just picture this as a cheap excuse for some highschool kids to sit around, get really stoned, and listen to Led Zeppelin for a couple of hours. [/joke]
posted by Tystnaden at 8:38 PM on October 2, 2002

Thanks for checking in, ColdChef. You and all the others down there, take care and be careful.
posted by yhbc at 9:01 PM on October 2, 2002

Hot Damn, everybody's in Baton Rouge. I'm in the Spanishtown district, down here via Teach for America, teaching Louisiana History. (It would figure that the one time I can contribute something worthwhile to the site, somebody goes and beats me to it.) If anyone's worried about floodwaters, keep in mind that Spanishtown's the highest place in the city (as well as the oldest).
posted by leotrotsky at 9:16 PM on October 2, 2002

good news: Lili has unexpectedly stopped growing in strength according to the latest information available.

bad news : Lili is approaching the coast a few miles per hour faster than before and should make landfall earlier than expected. They're expecting that it will be at hurricane strength as far inland as Alexandria. Their latest imagery indicated that the eye of the storm has moved a bit more north than expected, which could pose a bigger danger to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, but there's a chance this movement is just a "wobble"...
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:07 PM on October 2, 2002

leo: oldest often means rickitiest. one of my early childhood memories was having the local Presbyterian minister and his large family camp at our house during a hurricane. Their house was built for the minister around the turn of the century (IIRC). Ours was brick circa 1973. Fortunately no damage was done.

More recent hurricane memory: parking crappy car under a tree before Andrew hit. Unfortunately no damage was done.
posted by turbodog at 11:33 PM on October 2, 2002

I'm sitting here across the Atlantic feeling terribly nervous. I used to live in NO and all my friends are there. My family is in Alexandria and Colfax.

This actually feels much worse than being there.
posted by taz at 12:08 AM on October 3, 2002

You hear about this sort of thing on the news and think its terrible and then you come to Metafilter and read comments from people whose names you recognise instantly and it all becomes too real. Keep safe.
posted by Tarrama at 5:46 AM on October 3, 2002

It's weakened a good amount. Max sustained winds are 100mph. I'm feeling a lot less worried, but the heavy stuff hasn't hit us yet. Of course, there are fools driving around.
posted by mblandi at 6:31 AM on October 3, 2002

Checking in from Baton Rouge:

The winds have mostly subsided. We're still under tornado watch until midnight tonight, but it looks like the worst is over.

We didn't get it too bad here. We lost a couple dozen tiles off our roof and that led to some leaks and puddles, but otherwise we're fine.

We were lucky again. Still waiting to hear from a few folks in central Louisiana.
posted by ColdChef at 11:44 AM on October 3, 2002

That's good news ColdChef, thanks.
posted by Tarrama at 4:21 PM on October 3, 2002

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