Sunday, August 28, 2005

A BEAUTIFUL CITY.
A NATIONAL TRAGEDY ?



9:30 PM Sunday 8/28/2005: This link shows changes in the cloud top temperatures within the central dense overcast and surrounding the eyewall. The colder the temperatures are (-60 C or lower) indicate the storm is maintaining strength. If the tops begin to cool to less than -80 C, this is a clear signal the storm is about to undergo some strengthening, and will be revealed by a white colorization on this particular satellite loop. 

As of this writing, the winds were 160 mph, with gusts to 190 mph. A strengthening cycle, similar to what happened with Camille, could push winds back toward 175 mph or higher. This will be evidenced by a tightening in the diameter of the eye, and if you are staying up tonight you'll be able to observe this.

7:00 PM Sunday: updates at end of this post. Please also view the "Latest satellite loop" link below the next two pictures.

1:00 PM Sunday: By now you know Katrina is a Category 5 monster, and there is no need to belabor the imminent horror that awaits this beautiful city and it's residents. In the time I was out this morning, the storm went from 160 mph to 175 mph. At this point, it does not matter how strong the winds will be, above 150 mph the damage will be unprecedented and catastrophic, what city planners and engineers have been fearing for years. Now that the storm has easily breached the Cat 5 barrier, rivaling Camille's 190 mph winds is not impossible, once it completes it's current and final eyewall replacement cycle. In remembering Camille, let's also not ignore all the other hundred of communities in the storm's path, those in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and elsewhere who face equally an horrible next 24-48 hours.


On this Sunday and every day for the next long while, I recommend you pray for all those in the path of this storm, and hope that by some miracle of grace, the city is spared what now seems to be a near certain doom. For the latest details on the ground, visit the Times-Picayune newspaper website. Early this afternoon I will conduct a roundup of the impacts and final meteorological analysis, as well as update the links for more ready access to the situation. If you have not already considered making a donation to an organization like the Red Cross, or by giving blood, your efforts will help save a life even while the storm is raging. Whatever was front page yesterday will seem trivial when the true nature of this society-altering event is brought to bear.


The following is text from a statement issued by the New Orleans National Weather Service. It is difficult to believe something of this magnitude is upon us, or that someone wrote this and posted it on a government website, so I offer the link in case you don't believe me. For those who think I am hype-mongering or doomsday forecasting, all I can say is that I am glad you are not in the path of this storm. If this thing misses, it will be the most collossal sigh of relief in a century. If it does not, we face a tragedy of unparalleled porportions in the history of the country.

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...
.HURRICANE KATRINA...A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 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 THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS 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 EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK. POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. 
WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS. THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED. AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE...OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE...ARE CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS. ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET...DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE!

Again: if don't believe me, or think I wrote this, think again, it's from the National Weather Service. http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/la/allwarnings.html

Because a mandatory evacuation has been issued, the city initiates a procedure called "Contraflow" as shown here by a map from the Times-Picayune. It's the only way to get 1.3 million people out of a city with few escape routes.



How bad will the flooding be? Unprecedented in modern times, eclipsing the Johnstown Flood. The casualty count may eclipse Galveston, and that is a conservative estimate.

Computer models have already clustered on the nightmare scenario. Let's hope a last minute change occurs, causing the storm to weaken or miss the city. This computer model was posted by another weather blogger, Steve Gregory, on his wunderground.com site. As this is the first week of school for students in many areas, I recommend you read his updates for a good overview of the meteorology behind the storm. I may not have the time I would like in the next 24 hours to post on this storm, but Steve does.



A SUMMARY OF STORM IMPACTS AND EFFECTS

I will provide sources and background for these estimates of the "downstream effects" of Katrina over the next few weeks and months,and will be adding to this list as I convert my notes from earlier today to this site. Please note that I am extremely concerned for the safety of all in the path of this storm, and in no way are these comments meant to project the image that I am "whining" about what the storm will do to me personally.

1. GAS PRICES: I have seen several reputable sources online and in the media state that this storm has the potential to temporarily add 20 to 30 cents per gallon nationwide. That means a national average of $3.00 in most communities. Home heating oil and natural gas will see further spikes of 40% to 50% between now and the start of winter delivery times this fall.

2. HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE: I would be surprised if there is not a filter down effect of increase premiums nationwide to absorb what could be a $100 billion catastrophe.

3. COASTAL CITY RE-EVALUATION: In light of what is happening with the Superdome, many cities will be taking a closer look at their emergency evacuation procedures, especially for those less mobile and less able to quickly evacuate, such as the elderly, hospitals, special needs institutions, women's shelters, orphanages and nursing homes.
I have a long list of "analyses" regarding this storm, but with school starting tomorrow, just don't have time to write it all now. 

Please use the comments feature if you have a particular thought or angle on this storm that you can add to this discussion.

10 comments:

E.H. Boston said...

If you are reading this and you are in New Orleans or Biloxi, or anywhere near the storm's projected path, please be smart and EVACUATE while you still have the chance!!!

GET OUT!!!

Take whatever you can, you don't want to be just another statistic in the U.S. natural disasters.

Be smart and save yourselves, families, and friends. Material possessions can be replaced.

Finally, all of our thoughts and prayers will be with you guys up here in Boston.

GOOD LUCK! AND BE SMART!

Mr.B said...

Mr. Foot where did you get the map of the hurricane computer models?

E.H. Boston said...

PLEASE, any Gulf coast resident readers, GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY!!!

Time is running out for you guys.

Winds are now up to 175 MPH!!!

With gust to over 215 MPH!!!

New Orleans is going to be a war zone in 24 hours. I just hope President Bush has enough National Guard in reserve to keep some sense of order in Katrina's aftermath.

I don't know what to say, but just I'll have you guys in my prayers and God be with you and God help you.

The outer bands are nearly to the city of New Orleans and it is going to be a long ride.

The nightmare senario is coming true...

God help you.

Mr. Foot said...

In the process of updating the site with my last meteorological analysis prior to landfall.

How high will the winds go? At this point it does not matter anymore, but at 907 mb it only has 2 mb to go to tie the alltime lowest pressure in a storm to reach land in U.S. recorded history. Camille was 905 mb a few days before landfall, and 909 mb the day before. I almost feel it is ridiculous to say this, but if Katrina can get to 175 mph, 190 is only 15 mph away, and when Camille was at 909 mb, she was 190. So think about that comparison. It could be telling us that Katrina is not done growing. In all manner of respect and dignity to the families who are and have suffered through loss in 9/11...in terms of the human catastrophe this event can very well eclipse that. Perhaps something like this will force insurers and planners to begin seriously reevaluate the cost/benefits of building at (or below) sea level.

That aside, our prayers and thoughts are with all those in the path of this storm.

Julee said...

Mr. Foot,
Your earlier predictions for a New Orleans catasrophe are sadly coming true.
I have trouble understanding anyone who is planning to ride out this storm -- and that includes their mayor.
Will there be anything left there after Katrina?

E.H. Boston said...

Its amazing...I am here thousands of miles away here in safety in Boston and still when I see the reports come in from the New Orleans area, I kind of get knots in my stomach.

Winds are now 165 MPH, with a central pressure of 902 MB.

To put some perspective, the Jan. 22 Boston Blizzard of last winter's lowest pressure was 980 MB when it passed to the south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, if I am not mistaken Mr. Foot.

That produced winds of 80-85 MPH gusts on the Cape.

BY THE WAY...

TD # 13 has formed and is expected to become Tropical Storm Lee within the next 24 to 36 hours.

TD # 14 may not be too far out as well...it may develop in the next 36 hours off the western coast of Africa.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all in the path of this monster of a hurricane.

Good Luck.

Mr. Foot said...

Evening all. It is not a "good" one.

Two sites I found of interest. http://www.boatus.com/hurricanes/upload/11/windfield.gif

Is a windfield tracking/observations

http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000006&sid=a6tK9ck.fqJI&refer=home

Is an article about crude oil and gas.. up $4.00 a barrel in overnight trading. Estimates are gas will spike 20-30 cents this week starting tomorrow. Go gas up tonight, and pray for weakening while you are standing at the pump.

Terpboy said...

NHC Warning 1900 hours CDT

KATRINA IS A LARGE HURRICANE. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD
UP TO 105 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS
EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES. SUSTAINED TROPICAL STORM FORCE
WINDS ARE ALREADY OCCURRING OVER THE SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA COAST.

A NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER PLANE REPORTED A MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE OF
904 MB...26.69 INCHES.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 18 TO 22 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE
LEVELS...LOCALLY AS HIGH AS 28 FEET...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS
BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE
CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. SOME LEVEES IN THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA
COULD BE OVERTOPPED. SIGNIFICANT STORM SURGE FLOODING WILL OCCUR
ELSEWHERE ALONG THE CENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO COAST.

May they all be safe...

Tom said...

Wow -- the damage from this was amazing.

Those are the only words I can use to describe it...

Mr. Foot said...

It is so overwhelming that it's hard to put in words. Am working on a summary. Though it was not a direct hit on N.O., the overall scope of the disaster will be such that it wouldn't have mattered either way. When daylight comes and crews are able to survey damage, we will see that there is immense and catastrophic impacts from this that we have not even seen yet because of limited access.
Do what you can and donate to the Red Cross, and let's hope the Gulf is spared anymore serious storms this year.