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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Eye of the Strom

This is Katrina.
This is what Katrina is like:
Monstrous Hurricane Katrina barreled toward the Big Easy on Sunday with 165-mph wind and a threat of a 28-foot storm surge, forcing a mandatory evacuation, a last-ditch Superdome shelter and prayers for those left to face the doomsday scenario this below-sea-level city has long dreaded. Showers began falling on southeastern Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast on Sunday afternoon, accompanied by pounding surf as far east as the Florida Panhandle, the first hints of a storm with a potential surge of 18 to 28 feet, even bigger waves and as much as 15 inches of rain. "We are facing a storm that most of us have long feared," Mayor C. Ray Nagin said in ordering the mandatory evacuation for his city of 485,000 people, surrounded by suburbs of a million more. "The storm surge will most likely topple our levee system."
Needless to say, the situation is bad. Conceding that as many as 100,000 inner-city residents didn't have the means to leave and an untold number of tourists were stranded by the closing of the airport, the city arranged buses to take people to 10 last-resort shelters, including the Superdome.
This what Katrina will do:
The storm surge — water pushed into a mound by hurricane winds — would pour over the Pontchartrain levee and flood the city. A severe hurricane could push floodwaters inside the New Orleans bowl as high as 20-30 feet, covering most homes and the first three or four stories of buildings in the city, he says. "This brings a great risk of casualties." In this type of scenario the metro area could be submerged for more than 10 weeks, says Walter S. Maestri, Director of Emergency Management for Jefferson Parish, which encompasses more than half of the city. In those 10 weeks, residents would need drinking water, food and a dry place to live. Besides the major problems flooding would bring, there is also concern about a potentially explosive and deadly problem. Suhayda says flooding of the whole city could easily mix industrial and household chemicals into a toxic and volatile mix. Coupled with an estimated 100,000 tons of sediment, a cleanup could take several months. In the worst case scenario, the mix of toxic chemicals could make some areas of the city uninhabitable. "It could take several years for the city to recover fully, economically, from a strong hurricane," says Suhayda.
What's the worst case scanerio?
Well, with the chemicals? Bad..
Estimates have been made of tens of thousands of deaths from flooding that could overrun the levees and turn New Orleans into a 30-foot-deep toxic lake filled with chemicals and petroleum from refineries, and waste from ruined septic systems.
Without the chemicals, it's still bad!
A stronger storm on a slightly different course -- such as the path Georges was on just 16 hours before landfall -- could have realized emergency officials' worst-case scenario: hundreds of billions of gallons of lake water pouring over the levees into an area averaging 5 feet below sea level with no natural means of drainage. That would turn the city and the east bank of Jefferson Parish into a lake as much as 30 feet deep, fouled with chemicals and waste from ruined septic systems, businesses and homes. Such a flood could trap hundreds of thousands of people in buildings and in vehicles. At the same time, high winds and tornadoes would tear at everything left standing. Between 25,000 and 100,000 people would die, said John Clizbe, national vice president for disaster services with the American Red Cross. "A catastrophic hurricane represents 10 or 15 atomic bombs in terms of the energy it releases," said Joseph Suhayda, a Louisiana State University engineer who is studying ways to limit hurricane damage in the New Orleans area. "Think about it. New York lost two big buildings. Multiply that by 10 or 20 or 30 in the area impacted and the people lost, and we know what could happen."
Let's hope it doesn't come to that! My Prayers are with all of the New Orleans people. Dave, buddy, I hope you will be safe.

7 Comments:

At 8/29/2005 08:25:00 AM, Blogger ArmyArtilleryWife said...

I was just in a wedding at New Orleans last week. It was my first time there and I enjoyed the city a lot.

Wow. While I know it is next to impossible, I hope everyone gets out of there safe and the city will recover quickly.

 
At 8/29/2005 02:46:00 PM, Blogger R said...

Man..
You're always ahead of me...

I am just going home now getting ready to seal the windows.

After all, we're 5 hours from NOLA

 
At 8/29/2005 04:04:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Katrina is scary. New Orleans is like a bowl of chips next to the kiddy pool. The odds don't look good.

 
At 8/29/2005 06:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Downtown survived because she veered to the east just before hitting. There is no way yet though to know how mnay stayed behind in the parts of the city that are underwater. I have a friend in Kenner who evacuated but her area is now under 12' of water and they are hoping that there is a house left to go back to. It wasn't worst case scenerio but there is alot of damage and most likely lots of people missing or dead who decided not to evacuate.:(

 
At 8/29/2005 07:49:00 PM, Anonymous Tina said...

There will be a lot of loss of property, but fortunately, there was very little loss of life (as reported so far).

As soon as the winds die down Americans from all over the country will start pouring into the three states that were hit to help them begin to rebuild.

Very few people stayed behind, even those who could not make it out because they waited too long were put up in the Super Bowl. Other than a small hole blown in the roof it was pretty secure.

It's going to be devestating to those who lost everything, but they'll rebuild and we will all help them.

By tomorrow, women from neighboring cities will be setting up the coffee pots and handing out sandwiches, men from all over the country will be throwing their tools into the backs of their pickup trucks and be headed off south. People in every city of every state will be donating money to help those who lost their homes rebuild and there will be hammering and sawing and hard work all day and dancing and singing most of the night. In a few months, everyone will be living in their snug new houses.

We are a resiliant people Sam, thanks for caring.

 
At 8/29/2005 08:42:00 PM, Blogger Papa Ray said...

Today, from our little West Texas Town, a team of Red Cross, a team of Salvation Army, a team of Electricians from Caprock Electric, a team from our Disaster Recovery are getting ready to leave for the disaster area.

Local Construction Companys are going to pick a few teams from each company to go later this month. Not so much to build but to shore up and make emergency repairs to buildings that are unsafe and help out however they can.

This is one small town. Multiply that from all around our Great Nation.

It's the American Way.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

 
At 8/30/2005 08:39:00 PM, Blogger Mike SC USA said...

NOLA wasn't spared nor the Gulf coast. It's a disaster. Please, pray for us. I'm shattered. It will never be the same. Total dispare.

 

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