Sunday, August 28, 2005

Big one for the Big Easy

I’m watching the Weather Channel’s coverage on Hurricane Katrina. I’m a huge follower of natural disasters lore, dark humor is part of being a medical guy. I’m looking at that bottom little number where it says pressure, 902 mb and dropping. Camille at it’s worst was only 909 mb and is the name everyone in the hurricane community uses as the Boogyman killer hurricane. Andrew’s worse was 922 and it's con. Already this is the second most intense hurricane to hit the United States, the most intense was an unnamed storm in 1935 that hit the Florida Keys. This also make Katrina the fourth most powerful storm in history. 175 mile per hour winds with gusts with gusts to 215? That's craziness! Get out of there! In 2002, an American Red Cross estimate found 25,000 to 100,000 people would be killed if a major hurricane hit the New Orleans area, they were talking about a category three hurricane.

Jack Army is packing bags (thanks Tammi), here are some New Orleans bloggers takes on what is going on and a few that haven't left.

This is what National Hurricane center says about Category Five Hurricanes:

Winds greater than 155 mph (135 kt or 249 km/hr). Storm surge generally greater
than 18 ft above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial
buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown
over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of
mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape
routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the
hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15
ft above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of
residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the shoreline may
be required. Only 3 Category Five Hurricanes have made landfall in the United
States since records began: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Hurricane Camille
(1969), and Hurricane
in August, 1992. The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane struck the Florida Keys
with a minimum pressure of 892 mb--the lowest pressure ever observed in the
United States. Hurricane Camille struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast causing a
25-foot storm surge, which inundated Pass Christian. Hurricane Andrew of 1992 made
landfall over southern Miami-Dade County, Florida causing 26.5 billion dollars
in losses--the costliest hurricane on record. In addition, Hurricane Gilbert of 1988
was a Category Five hurricane at peak intensity and is the strongest Atlantic
tropical cyclone on record with a minimum pressure of 888 mb.

This storm is 20 miles per hour higher then the minimum for making a category five storm, the differences between the other categories? One to two? 21 mph, two to three? 14 mph, three to four? 19 mph, four to five? 24. Anything greater then 155, there is no category 6. The guys who made the scale considered anything higher then that to be absurd.

I’ve turned up a few in New Orleans and love the city. But knowing how some people down there think, there’s probably thousands holed up for hurricane parties and they're having problems finding designated drivers. Not the smartest move but with the gridlock getting out of the New Orleans, maybe turning up a beer would be a good idea.

My prayers to everyone affected.

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