Monday, September 01, 2008

Gustav Weakening

Some good news from NOAA, which is that Gustav stayed significantly west of New Orleans and that it weakened to a category 2 hurricane. This still means that anything and anyone in the area is going to get battered, but that the work done over the last three years may be sufficient to hold back the worst.

The map to look at is the storm surge map because that shows where the waves of water the storm generates are most likely to hit. See all that dark purple? That is where the worst damage will be. If I'm looking at the map correctly, the delta and mouth of the Mississippi River and then up the river to New Orleans will be most severely affected. It was the storm surge more than the wind that caused the horrific damage after Katrina. The biggest worry I have seen in the news reports was that, because Gustav was passing closely to the west of NOLA, the storm surge was going to come up the Mississippi and hit the river levees and flood walls which are not as high as those near Lake Pontchartrain, possibly damaging them. It would also put flooding into the higher elevations ofthe city (higher being a very relative term) that had escaped the flooding last time. We won't know this for hours, maybe even not until tomorrow.

So, Gustav has hit and hit hard, but not as badly as it might have, which is a very good thing. It is going to do nasty things to southern Louisiana, but hopefully enough people got out of the way and the levees have been reinforced enough that the damage will be contained. Finally, let's hope that power and services are restored quickly so people can return to their homes within the next few days.

Anglachel

Update: Good reporting in the NYT. Avoids the breathlessness of CNN and actually has some details of what is happening in New Orleans.

1 comment:

Art said...

It's great that New Orleans seems to have been spared the worst of it but please don't be so confident about the fate of the Bayous. I have many friends in the Houma Nation (17,000 tribal members), the Native Americans who populate much of this region and because so many people seem to think of this area as almost unpopulated they are still struggling to return from Katrina and Rita. The Red Cross NEVER made it out there, FEMA sent a few trailers and as of writing there are still nearly 3,000 families homeless since 2005....the tribal chairman, an amazing woman Brenda Dardar- Robichaux, has had a stroke from the stress and the oil and gas companies are licking their lips at the ease with which they can move upstream. And with no sign of Anderson Cooper let alone Shrub or Jindal to popularize the cause we get well-meaning if ignorant posts such as yours. Very sad, please make an attempt to learn more about the region before you post on this subject again Anglachegl. You can make donations to the Houma people through their website http://www.unitedhoumanation.org/