Making sense of it all/taking a deep breath

Some matters are getting overlooked by both this forum and also the general media - which isn't really anybody's fault - just the way it is when breaking monumental news is occurring every 22 minutes or so.......

Katrina came ashore as a category 4 or strong category 3 hurricane - with regards to WIND. She bombed-out overnight Saturday night - maxing out as a category 5 hurricane when only during the day before she had been a category 1. Why was this? At a small hurricane party in Norman, OK the night before she struck, I heard reports and saw maps of an insanely hot piece of water that had broken off from someplace and ended up right under Katrina or something like that. What was this???

Katrina, although weakening from a category 5 when making landfall, STILL HAD A CATEGORY 5 STORM SURGE. It is quite possible to get a category 3 hurricane with a category 5 storm surge - and I think that this is part of the warning/decision-making/evacuation process' problem. All that building up of storm surge doesn't just disappear miraculously - and by midday Sunday Katrina's surge was unstoppable. Ivan did the same, to a lesser extent.

New Orleans was MISSED by the very worst of Katrina - and was NOT on the "bad side" of this storm (i.e. the NE eye quadrant). This was not a direct strike on New Orleans. The truly WORST part of Katrina raked across areas such as Pass Christian and Bay St. Loius/Plaqueminas Parish.

AFTER Katrina's landfall, the worst damage was ascertained to be in the Pass Christian area. Only on MONDAY EVENING did some press begin relaying vague, unhurried reports of one of New Orleans' levees breaking. We all know what we woke up to on Tuesday.....
Were even the most basic officials unaware of what a single levee break could do to New Orleans?

Also - does anybody actually KNOW under what circumstances N.O.'s levees actually BROKE or were topped?? What factor, in the end, is attributed to the flooding of New Orleans? Wind pushing the water out? Levees being unable to withstand the wind/rain? Levees unable to withstand the surge? What???

Lastly - it is somewhat disconcerting that this country's government (the Whitehouse) AND media - the people who are responsible for telling this country and the rest of the world what has happened here - are TOTALLY unaware of what has caused the damage. They are unable to differentiate between water damage and wind damage. How many news reporters have we heard saying that "this casino/house/semi trailer/tree/gas station was BLOWN over there!!!!". The wind damage from Katrina is really negligible. All those moved huge objects AND the slabs wiped clean of foundations? THAT'S STORM SURGE, PEOPLE!!!!

It truly seems that people at large and in the media and the government and still archaically unaware of what water can do.

KL
 
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Officially yes. I've heard reports of strategically placed individuals claiming to have recorded such wind speeds sustained 131+. But I wasn't there. How and with what? I have no clue. Ask them. Nothing official, just my opinion this was likely a category 4 storm. My observations were more in-line with Cat 4 wind damage, but it's impossible to discern wind from other damage. It doesn't really matter. She tore some sh*t up.
 
Documented cat 4 winds with what?

I'm waiting to hear what the FCMP towers measured.... then we'll have a good idea what she cam ashore with.

Aaron
 
Remember, for Cat 4 winds, you need SUSTAINED winds over 130mph. I've seen heard of some gusts above 130mph, but not sustained winds.

Also, the western inner eyewall clipped the far eastern portion of New Orleans. For the most part, the inner eyewall missed most of New Orleans, however. I think this explains, partly, why there doesn't appear to be much in the way of wind damage in New Orleans (and I don't count broken windows in a high-rise to be significant wind damage). I also think this is why the Lake Ponch levees held during the height of the storm for the most part.

BTW, the first levee or seawall broke during the height of the storm, but it was nearer the MS River than the lake IIRC. The NWSFO LIX issued a flash flood warning for this breakage/breach about 9am, again IIRC.
 
Wind was certainly only one factor in this scenario ... the majority of wind damage naturally occurred in points east on the Mississippi and Alabama coasts and inland for some distance, on the right front quadrant of the storm. Weakening winds were noted along with the right jog the storm took as it came ashore. However - - - keep this in mind: in a storm that started as Cat 5, a tremendous ... TREMENDOUS amount of momentum is being dispelled. It takes a long time for the storm to expend this stored energy, even though it is in a weakening cycle.

Also, if you watched as the left eyewall clipped eastern New Orleans, that meant that all of that moisture rotating around the eye was spinning and dumping right into Pontchatrain. This lake is a great basin that essentially sits in a flood plain and the MS River delta, which meant that there was a lot of drainage from a storm that was the size of half the Gulf of Mexico that was ending up in it for a period of several HOURS, so TIMING was also a critical factor, IMO. Any idea what the cubic tonnage of water involved here is? - It must be staggering. That is why the lake filled and the levees were topped ... the storm was like a huge water wheel, spinning unbelievable amounts of water into this basin.

Technically, this storm may have been downgraded ... but the technicalities have little to do with the reality of the energy this particular storm was capable of expending, as we are quickly seeing now.
 
Originally posted by Karen Rhoden
Lastly - it is somewhat disconcerting that this country's government (the Whitehouse) AND media - the people who are responsible for telling this country and the rest of the world what has happened here - are TOTALLY unaware of what has caused the damage.
So I guess you are saying the President should have called a special broadcast from the White House by now to explain to everybody the differences between storm surge and wind damage?

That sounds really productive. That should feed a lot of people. I can't imagine why the President hasn't thought of that one yet.
 
A lot of the discussion surrounds the strength of the hurricane, but I would argue the levees are key. The levees were not made of the best materials...they were know to be weak...

Some people want to blame the feds...I blame the city...take your pick...
 
Actually I concur with Karen, despite how terrible the situation is right now in New Orleans and the worldwide media zoo that has focused on this area we do need to look at the wider picture.

The only reliable wind estimate (so far) was the LIX Doppler that was recording 121 knot inbound winds before it went off line. This radar indicated wind however was above surface – but not that much above surface. Current Hi Res sat images and visual reports indicate coastal impact of around CAT4/5 surge.

Storm surge always lags behind hurricane wind and pressures changes both on ramp up and ramp down and given that Katrina was CAT5 some 24 hours beforehand ~ and taking the lag into consideration CAT5 surge on land fall is actually quite probable.

If the levee’s had not failed then New Orleans really would have been spared. Gulfport and surrounding areas however are another story.

IMO New Orleans flooding “was an accident waiting to happenâ€￾ – weather it be via a hurricane or even by a earth quake that would cause the levee’s the fail.
 
Originally posted by Karen Rhoden
As Katrina was making the 2nd landfall near the LA/MS coast, NHC's
advisory put it at 125 mph winds (high Cat. 3).

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2005/pub/a...ublic.027.shtml?
KR

That was technically her third landfall...she came ashore as a category four just south of Buras, LA at 610AM CDT on Monday.

http://twister.sbs.ohio-state.edu/text/tro...s/08291116.KNHC

I agree with what has been said above. Basically, New Orleans fell victims to two separate yet related disasters: Hurricane Katrina (which the city survived fairly well), and the levee break (occurred more than a day after landfall).
 
Originally posted by Sam Sagnella

Basically, New Orleans fell victims to two separate yet related disasters: Hurricane Katrina (which the city survived fairly well), and the levee break (occurred more than a day after landfall).

This is incorrect. It did not occur more than a day after landfall, quite the contrary. Based on the reports, and especially Doug Keisling's chase account, that 17th st canal levee broke sometime midday Monday, some 3 to 4 hours after landfall, or perhaps even sooner than that.

The timing of this couldn't have been worse. It was a slow enough leak, that it didn't become painfully obvious what was really going on until the very next morning, Tuesday the 30th, when people woke up. I first read about the levee break late in the evening Monday 29th, and when I first read it, I cringed. It was at that point, Monday night, when I realized this city, and even this country, would never be the same in terms of natural catastrophes and how we view them.

Mike U
 
Originally posted by Mike Umscheid+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mike Umscheid)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Sam Sagnella

Basically, New Orleans fell victims to two separate yet related disasters: Hurricane Katrina (which the city survived fairly well), and the levee break (occurred more than a day after landfall).

This is incorrect. It did not occur more than a day after landfall, quite the contrary. Based on the reports, and especially Doug Keisling's chase account, that 17th st canal levee broke sometime midday Monday, some 3 to 4 hours after landfall, or perhaps even sooner than that.

Mike U[/b]

The first levee failure occurred at 8:15am, before LIX NWSFO lost communications. Here is one of the last products issued by that office, which is warning about the breakage. I'm including it here because I had a difficult time finding it online...

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
814 AM CDT MON AUG 29 2005

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
ORLEANS PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...NEW ORLEANS
ST. BERNARD PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF CHALMETTE

* UNTIL 215 PM CDT

* A LEVEE BREACH OCCURRED ALONG THE INDUSTRIAL CANAL AT TENNESSE STREET. 3 TO 8 FEET OF WATER IS EXPECTED DUE TO THE BREACH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO ARABI AND 9TH WARD OF NEW ORLEANS.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS SAFELY. VEHICLES CAUGHT IN RISING WATER SHOULD BE ABANDONED QUICKLY. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.

A FLASH FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. IF YOU ARE IN THE WARNING AREA MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND IMMEDIATELY. RESIDENTS LIVING ALONG STREAMS AND CREEKS SHOULD TAKE IMMEDIATE PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS SWIFTLY FLOWING WATERS OR WATERS OF UNKNOWN DEPTH BY FOOT OR BY AUTOMOBILE.
 
Just a parenthetical note, the one levee that actually failed is the one levee that was not constructed by the Army Corps Of Engineers.
 
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