Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Sunday, August 28, 2005


My first, few, fast thoughts before I look around the boards and start replying to IMs and stop staring at satellite imagery.

I am mesmerized. History is in the making... overused saying but oh so true.

How can you not watch. And, when I say watch I mean analyze data, take in the water vapor, radar loops (back over Texas and the Ohio Valley) and read what so many have to say on different problems.

Let me start at the beginning.. for me.

Back around 1980 something my ex-husband and I were driving cross country with a few of the kids. We made it into New Orleans late on a Sunday or Monday but the big Sunday headline was that the FEDS had just finished a long study on NOLA (New Orleans, La) and the flood problem there. Was one of those articles on "WHAT IF" scenarios and the dreaded, terrifying Category Five Hit. Had tons of color pictures, charts.. maps... historic references. I was in meterology-map heaven. Read every word of it.. over and over as we drove west across I-10 towards California. Can't remember if it was 1989 when we were going to spend part of the summer in Santa Cruz and I was very pregnant or if it was earlier in the 80s.. coming home from a visit to Miami. Think earlier. Can't remember.. some of those drives all blur together. But, I remember the article...the bottom line. And, the BOTTOM LINE is that New Orleans is BELOW sea level and the dike system put into place after Betsy is not strong enough for a Category 5 sort of storm. And, so many people have lived in a region that has not gotten hit hard in so many years that to evacuate NOLA and convince people that the storm won't turn at the last minute is a Herculean Task and like watching a train wreck in very slow motion. Every mile that Katrina is moving west still..chug, chug, chug... clack, clack, clack a train wreck in slow motion is happening.

Pray... yes. Pray that someone else gets it?

Does New Orleans deserve our prayers more than other little bayou places just because she is so beautiful? So inspiring a place to drive around, walk around and listen to dixieland jazz in? Magnola blossoms in NOLA...Garden District, Trolley Cars... Tennessee Williams and Streetcar named Desire.. Does New Orleans, a city that tugs at one's heart strings forever... the smell of fresh coffee in the French Market. Boxes of pralines that melt in your mouth and explode in flavor. A great story someone wrote me once :) Yes, New Orelans is a Muse Supreme. No one deserves to be hit so she can be spared but oh please God.. please spare New Orleans.

One of the best drives EVER is to get off of I-10 going west bound and drive down along the bayou towns.. along the cities where Camille came in and breathe in the bayou... feel it in your bones.. drive into New Orleans over the big beautiful bridge... drive down.
My ex always said we would "farm out" the kids to friends and take a long drive, spend a nice vacation there. Wish we had. Beautiful drive but rarely had time to relax, stop and enjoy.. breathe it in.

Anyone who wants a good feel for that land... go to and sign up for Jim's site and click on the Hurricane Conference held THIS YEAR in NOLA and his video on Camille. You really get a feel there... what this storm could do.. what Camille did and the lay of the land. How close the Gulf is to the land.

What do I think?

I think it's very likely she will hit NOLA. Could hit further west depending on what it is that is pulling her west so much. So far she is due south of the strongest impulse far to her north and still heading wnw. If so.. WHY? There are storms building in Texas which should continue to pull her wnw for way too long. Then if you look at the water vapor loop:

Notice everything north of Katrina is going at different angles from the current trend in thinking from the official post landfall warnings. I can't see Katrina taking a strong N movement and moving so far out into the interior of the country as from where I look at it..there is a high building in there and capping the region. From where I sit.. Katrina will get trapped under that ridge and look for moisture.. low pressure.. look to stay alive. If she bends NE it will be sharp. Look at the water vapor and she will go ne ..ene through the south fast... not up high into the Ohio Valley. Of course I could be wrong. We all could.

Pray she goes in not as a Cat 5. Every bit helps.

My worry.. this is NOT a strong front. Even in discussion from NHC they mention that. This is a VERY STRONG HURRICANE. CAT 5 storms create a monster high above them and they can make their own weather, take their own path of devastation..and worried that she is not going far inland, not far up north. Worried even she could slow down and sit a bit.. now that would be terrible and not just for NOLA but for all the people stuck in cruddy motels in stronger weather than they expect. Yes..get out.. hide from the wind, run from the water but... worried that Katrina is a slow mover, has always been a slow mover (has she ever moved faster than 9 mph???) and she may turn east or sit a bit causing torrential rains to areas to her east. And, still would not rule out her edging her way into the Sabine River area... which cannot handle 20 inches of rain. They may have to take it but they can't handle it. Not saying she will.. just saying don't let down your guard if you live west of New Orleans just because the media is lined up in Gulfport. Please.

Bastardi talked today about judging a storm by it's pressure not it's winds and I agree. It's a good bar and more reliable as there is a lag between what they are recording, seeing and what works its way down and translates into an advisory. Sort of like watching radar.. it's real time but by the time you see the real time radar... things have changed...

Weather is always happening, live..changing... let's hope somehow, somewhere Katrina finds a place to make landfall that will cause the least amount of long term damage, least amounts of deaths.

Woke up this morning annoyed my friend isn't emailing me and all I had was advisories from Seahorse (NHC) and then after opening up the one email they sent.....I realized I had forgotten to read it while staring at a loop. They are forgiven. Please forgive me for forgetting to write back, forgetting to go on the boards, forgetting to respond in IMs... forgetting to exhale.. to swallow the coffee in my mouth............those little beady, deep set eyes you love so much with the wheels turning fast in my mind are staring at Katrina.. on CNN.. on TWC... on accuweather water vapor and yes.. even on Unisys.

More later.. if you are reading this from New Orleans.. GET OUT. Take one long look around...kiss it goodbye, hope it is there when you get back and get out. From one who was in Andrew.. trust me I know how this tugs at your heart and makes you want to say "just take me with the city" but get out. I stayed on Miami Beach... that's a long story for another time and place that many know but... I know how it feels to face death, look around at a city you love... stand at the beach with the wind rushing through you and wonder if when you wake up tomorrow.. if any of it will still be left standing.

I know. I love New Orleans too... really

ps...forgot the Georges track last night..another one.

KEYS to NOLA..happens more often than not because a monster high has set in


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