Summary of storm situation in New Orleans

I've been trying to piece together what's going on in New Orleans this morning, and the media seems to be doing a mediocre job gathering what's going on.. it's as if there's just one reporter in New Orleans, and he's watching the Superdome roof. Obviously the communications infrastructure is down, but if we're getting news like that one would think more info would be pouring out. Anyhow...

* WSR-88D velocity is parallel to wind across New Orleans area and shows a 30-mile wide swath of 64+ kt winds across the city (as high as it can detect with current scan strategy). The max wind band looks much larger on the eastern quadrant, which suggests Gulfport MS westward is due for a lot of damage.

* The T1 tower, 10 miles south of New Orleans, reported up to 105 mph at 6:32 am this morning and has subsided to the near-100 mph range out of 320 deg (northwest). Given current storm motion, extrapolation suggests the highest winds would have moved into New Orleans at 7:30 am (an hour ago). However CNN is reporting via Jean Meserve (8:50 am) that New Orleans is getting its worst wind at this moment -- "incredible rain, punishing winds", considerable damage, and 2 ft of flooding outside the Superdome with an oil slick in the flood waters.

* Currently (8:30 am) New Orleans is closest to the eyewall.

The report from CNN was nice -- we need to hear more of that.

I do think we should see the wind subside dramatically in New Orleans in a couple of hours as the eyewall region moves out. I'm not sure if the surge can get any worse or if levees can still fail, but I figure they'll be out of the woods by noon.

Tim
 
Also just for the historical record, the eye at 8:44 am (1344 UTC) passed perpendicular to New Orleans -- downtown was 32 miles from the eye center, and 16 miles from the core of the innermost eyewall.
 
CNN just aired live outdoor video in New Orleans, and it looks like the city has largely escaped the catastrophic flooding that was feared. The reporter was in a downtown area and there was less than 9 inches of water on the street, if that. Looking at some flags in the background it looked like the winds had subsided to below hurricane force.

The story may be different in other areas, but this wasn't the sort of disaster I was expecting to wake up to.

Tim
 
Like I said last night. If the hurricane jogged just 30 miles to the E and the storm dropped just 15 mph it would make a huge difference. 30 Miles difference on the West side of a hurricane is usually about a 25mph wind difference combined with a 15 mph decrease in intesit, it would take the hurricane from a strong 4 to a cat 2. Also the dry air getting wrapped made things even better for the city since the SW side of the eye wall really lost its structure. I am so happy, NO will still be a place on future maps.
 
I suspect from a few sketchy reports the eastern part of the city including Arabi, Chalmette, and Meraux is in much worse shape than downtown. CNN is reporting 5-8 feet of water in homes due to that levee breach with some structural damage. I did notice the 50-55 dBZ
radar echoes of the northwestern eyewall clipped that part of town around 8:30 am CDT.
 
The rigolets

I'm a train buff, and I believe the Norfolk Southern (from Atlanta, Charlotte, DC, Philadelphia, NYC) along with the CSX (from pretty much the same cities, along with the "Sunset route" from Jacksonville, FL) along with an interstate cross via bridge a series of islands known as the Rigolets between Orleans Parish and the Mississippi coast.

Last night on WWL around 10:00 pm CST they were saying the Rigolets were already experiencing road closings. (No surprise). There may be a significant New Orleans/east coast transportation hit if those bridges there are seriously affected, though obviously truck/auto traffic can take I-57 or the causeway, and rail traffic can circle around and come from the west.
 
current situation in mid cities

I just got off the phone with people who stayed in their home on Robertson. THere is some flooding, about 4-6 feet of water on the street, starting to come into the house downstairs, so they have all moved into an upstairs apartment because they are afraid of how high the water might get.
On the CNN website, they have reported that 3 of the pumps in the 9th ward have failed, and that is the reason for the flooding, but that the levees are holding so far, and that the pumps should be fixed by mid afternoon.
 
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