Hurricane Isaac hits Louisiana, driving dangerous storm surges

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:27 AM GMT on August 29, 2012

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Hurricane Isaac is ashore over Southeast Louisiana, having officially crossed the coast on the Mississippi Delta 90 miles southeast of New Orleans at 7:45 am EDT on August 28. Isaac intensified right up until landfall, striking with 80 mph winds and a central pressure of 970 mb. The storm's large size and large 50 - 60 mile diameter eye kept the intensification rate slow today, but it came quite close to becoming a significantly more dangerous storm. That's because at landfall, Isaac was in the midst of establishing a small inner eyewall within its large 50-mile diameter eye, a very rare feat I've never seen before. Usually, when an eye first forms, it gradually contracts, eventually becoming so small that it becomes unstable. An outer concentric eyewall then forms around the small inner eyewall, eventually becoming the only eyewall when the inner eyewall collapses. But Isaac is a very unusual storm that has continually surprised us, and this inside-out concentric eyewall formation fits the storm's unusual character. The storm isn't in a hurry to move fully inland, and has slowed down to a crawl this evening. This will give the storm the opportunity to keep its center mostly over water a few more hours, and maintain hurricane strength into the early morning on Wednesday.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image from New Orleans as Isaac made landfall at 6 pm CDT August 28, 2012.

A dangerous storm surge event underway
Isaac is bringing large and dangerous storm surge to the coast from Central Louisiana to the Panhandle of Florida. At 10 pm EDT, here were some of the storm surge values being recorded at NOAA tide gauges:

6.2' Waveland, MS
9.9' Shell Beach, LA
3.0' Pensacola, FL
4.4' Pascagoula, MS
3.4' Mobile, AL

The 9.9' storm surge at Shell Beach, which is in Lake Borgne 20 miles southeast of New Orleans, exceeds the 9.5' surge recorded there during Category 2 Hurricane Gustav of 2008. Research scientists running a Doppler on Wheels radar located on top of the 16' levees in Plaquemines Parish near Port Sulphur, LA, reported at 8:30 pm EDT that a storm surge of 14' moved up the Mississippi River, and was just 2' below the levees. Waves on top of the surge were cresting over the west side of the levee. Needless to say, they were very nervous. Over the past hour, the surge has retreated some, and waves were no longer lapping over the top of the levee. This is probably due to the fact that we're headed towards low tide. A storm surge of 9.5' has moved up the Mississippi River to the Carrrollton gauge in New Orleans. This is not a concern for the levees in New Orleans, since the storm surge has now brought the river up to 2.5' above its normal water level, which was 7' low due to the 2012 U.S. drought. The highest rise of the water above ground level will occur Wednesday morning over much of Southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle, when the tide comes back in. It is clear now that this storm surge event will be as dangerous as that of Category 2 Hurricane Gustav of 2008. One piece of good news: NWS New Orleans successfully launched their 00Z balloon. However, their discussion noted the atmosphere is "saturated or nearly saturated" all the way up to 470mb, or 20,000 feet. Precipitable water was 2.76 inches, which will be ripe for extremely heavy rainfall.


Figure 2. Tide gauge data from Shell Beach, located on the south shore of Lake Borgne, just east of New Orleans. The green line shows the storm surge. The red line is the storm tide, the height of the water above Mean Sea Level (MSL.)

Portlight disaster relief charity responds to Issac
The Portlight.org disaster relief charity, founded and staffed by members of the wunderground community, have mobilized resources in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Isaac. Their crew, including 2 EMTs, is at the Biloxi Special Needs Shelter, and will be caring for shelter dwellers and doing rescues of people who call for help. Another team will be surveying all the shelters in the area to ensure that they are accessible to all people. You can donate to Portlight's disaster relief fund here.

I'll have more in the morning. Hunker down, New Orleans. It's going to be a long night.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Quite a contrast between the two sides of the storm, if you're on the east side you're getting soaked, if you're on the west side you're dry.



Unfortunately New Orleans is on the east side.


I'm on the West side, and it is very dry and windy. There has been a misty sprinkle here and there. The driveway is dry.
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1867
1818. GetReal
As the sun comes up, my job description requires me to survey the damage that Isaac has caused.... Observing a good deal of roof damage (more than I expected), and siding damage. Over the last thirty minutes it seems that the wind has slacked off slightly, now 40-55 sustained with an occasional gust to 70 still.
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1817. jpsb
Quoting nishinigami:


Though I do not disagree with you. I was always the first to leave when I lived there. But maybe I can explain it a little. My neighbors house in Braithwaite had 3 feet from Katrina, my house was even less (before I lived there). For a lot of older people that have seen, been through worse storms, this storm had only made hurricane status just before landfall. No one leaves for TS there. What they didn't think about was the flood wall. This was the first test of it and the way it was built, it protected NOLA, but at the expense of the people of Braithwaite. I am certain that many people didn't account for that wall and were simply thinking, Cat1, we can do that.

Yes, it was a mandatory evac. Yes, they should have left, but the fact of the matter is that there are people there and there will more than likely be people who do not survive. For all involved, they just lost everything, again. It breaks my heart. i hope everyone can be mature enough to not point fingers and place blame when such a tragedy is unfolding.
We have the same situtation here. Texas City build a flood wall, so all of Ike waters poured into the communities further up the bay. Texas City was high and dry, here in San Leon not so much, we got 13-14 feet of water. Thanks a lot Texas City.
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Quoting HopquickSteve:

Well, to be equally blunt, I wonder if this year they were told to write their social security numbers in sharpie on their limbs and bellies (since arms and legs often go...missing)


I remember when they told people who where stupid enough to go out on hurricane parties during Ike to do that.
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1815. hercj
Quoting MTWX:


Don't see why not... When Katrina passes over the top of us up here in Columbus, MS, as a strong Tropical Storm, we recorded a few gusts over 100 MPH on the base. (Sensors which are sited and calibrated to NOAA specifications)
Reed what is your read on this new invest. Have you had a chance to look at the projections?
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Quite a contrast between the two sides of the storm, if you're on the east side you're getting soaked, if you're on the west side you're dry.



Unfortunately New Orleans is on the east side.


Trust me it's bad
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Quoting ncstorm:
I said last month when Largo posted a list of supplies to have an ax and people scoffed..

the situation in Braithwaite is why you need to have one..



No they were telling people here to have an axe if they were going to stay. Before Ike. Some had to use them too.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 676
Quoting ncstorm:


my point is complain LATER about what you think the storm should have been categorized later..I have seen three major news outlet report on him saying that..lets concentrate on getting people rescued..and he hasnt lost his home..he had a hole in his roof and a wall knocked out according to him on GMA this morning..


His home has had enough damage that it is destroyed. The mold alone will require it to be razed...

Let's see how all of you desk jockey weather wishers would handle what he and his area is experiencing and see how you would react. Get off his freaking back...
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Quite a contrast between the two sides of the storm, if you're on the east side you're getting soaked, if you're on the west side you're dry.



Unfortunately New Orleans is on the east side.
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Quoting jeffs713:

The NWS absolutely did warn them about the surge. Hence the whole "mandatory evacuation" order. If someone chooses to disobey that order, and they get stranded... (be warned - I'm being blunt) they can darn well wait. Just because you refused an order to evacuate shouldn't mean that first responders have to risk their lives to save your dumb a**.

Well, to be equally blunt, I wonder if this year they were told to write their social security numbers in sharpie on their limbs and bellies (since arms and legs often go...missing)
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
1809. ncstorm
Quoting SrChiefFan1:


The Parish President has been out in this storm for over 24 hours, lost HIS home and probably hasn't had any sleep for 48 hours. GIVE HIM A BREAK on any statements he is currently saying....


my point is complain LATER about what you think the storm should have been categorized later..I have seen three major news outlet report on him saying that..lets concentrate on getting people rescued..and he hasnt lost his home..he had a hole in his roof and a wall knocked out according to him on GMA this morning..
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Quoting entrelac:
This situation is why you have one permanently stored in the attic.


Seriously, all homes in flood zones should be equipped with emergency exit hatches and/or tools in the attic.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5043
1806. GetReal



Isaac has never looked better on satellite!!!
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1805. LargoFl
Quoting ncstorm:
I said last month when Largo posted a list of supplies to have an ax and people scoffed..

the situation in Braithwaite is why you need to have one..

yes everyone tries to prepare according to what they might have went thru over the years..but people forget..each and every storm is different..you made it thru 5 storms..ok..but maybe not This one huh..prepare for the worst..and if it does come to you..you..ARE prepared for it..me im seeing what is happening in the northern gulf..and im adding one thing to my prepare package..a life vest..cannot believe a 16 foot storm surge..or higher maybe..stranded on a rooftop?..uh uh..not me
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1804. MTWX
Quoting reedzone:
Looks like Isaac has lived up to its reputation.. I personally believe the storm became a Category 2 last night as winds gusts reported around 120 mph in some areas. I don't believe a Category 1 can produce that much wind. Anyways, awkward to believe this is happening 7 years ago after Hurricane Katrina.. Just odd.


Don't see why not... When Katrina passes over the top of us up here in Columbus, MS, as a strong Tropical Storm, we recorded a few gusts over 100 MPH on the base. (Sensors which are sited and calibrated to NOAA specifications)
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Quoting ncstorm:
I said last month when Largo posted a list of supplies to have an ax and people scoffed..

the situation in Braithwaite is why you need to have one..

This situation is why you have one permanently stored in the attic.
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Quoting nishinigami:


Though I do not disagree with you. I was always the first to leave when I lived there. But maybe I can explain it a little. My neighbors house in Braithwaite had 3 feet from Katrina, my house was even less (before I lived there). For a lot of older people that have seen, been through worse storms, this storm had only made hurricane status just before landfall. No one leaves for TS there. What they didn't think about was the flood wall. This was the first test of it and the way it was built, it protected NOLA, but at the expense of the people of Braithwaite. I am certain that many people didn't account for that wall and were simply thinking, Cat1, we can do that.

Yes, it was a mandatory evac. Yes, they should have left, but the fact of the matter is that there are people there and there will more than likely be people who do not survive. For all involved, they just lost everything, again. It breaks my heart. i hope everyone can be mature enough to not point fingers and place blame when such a tragedy is unfolding.

Every storm is different. Just ask the families of the 41 people that died in Ike, which was "only" a cat 2. If you live in a mandatory evac area, you should evacuate. Simple as that. Those types of evacuations aren't ordered for your amusement.
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Quoting ncstorm:
21 minutes ago from the web..from someone's roof in Braithwaite


Hurricane Isaac was perfectly situated to send a surge up the Mississippi River last night and it overtopped the levees on the Eastbank in Plaquemines Parish and flooded the Braithewaite community to a depth of 10 feet overnight.

Many homes are underwater, with residents trapped in their attics, ready to break through to their roofs.

Was not the Mississippi river levee that was overtopped. A rural "back levee" that had not yet been raised since K. I feel very sorry for these people and the damage to their homes, but they were warned, and should have known better than to stay.
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Quoting ncstorm:
The area includes a stretch from Braithwaite to White Ditch. Those communities were under a mandatory evacuation order because of safety concerns.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told WDSU that the problem was limited to overtopping, and not a breach. He described the situation as "serious."

The National Weather Service noted: "This will result in significant deep flooding in this area."

The levee is not part of the federal Corps of Engineers protection system.

Okay, if people were not able to leave due to financial reasons, why is this not addressed to help those who cant..The President of the Parrish is complaining about the fact that this storm was categorized incorrectly but the NWS warned them about the surge..


The Parish President has been out in this storm for over 24 hours, lost HIS home and probably hasn't had any sleep for 48 hours. GIVE HIM A BREAK on any statements he is currently saying....
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Quoting ncstorm:
The area includes a stretch from Braithwaite to White Ditch. Those communities were under a mandatory evacuation order because of safety concerns.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told WDSU that the problem was limited to overtopping, and not a breach. He described the situation as "serious."

The National Weather Service noted: "This will result in significant deep flooding in this area."

The levee is not part of the federal Corps of Engineers protection system.

Okay, if people were not able to leave due to financial reasons, why is this not addressed to help those who cant..The President of the Parrish is complaining about the fact that this storm was categorized incorrectly but the NWS warned them about the surge..

The NWS absolutely did warn them about the surge. Hence the whole "mandatory evacuation" order. If someone chooses to disobey that order, and they get stranded... (be warned - I'm being blunt) they can darn well wait. Just because you refused an order to evacuate shouldn't mean that first responders have to risk their lives to save your dumb a**.
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Quoting alaina1085:

Cantore gettin his work out on, in the middle of Canal street....


Hope he washed his hands.
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1797. LargoFl
Quoting citjet:
img src="IMG_1571">

This is how we all feel about Cantore here in the Panhandle!
same here around Tampa bay..he left and so did the storm
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Quoting alaina1085:

I dont understand people who are under a mandatory evacuation, but choose to stay! This area always floods.


Though I do not disagree with you. I was always the first to leave when I lived there. But maybe I can explain it a little. My neighbors house in Braithwaite had 3 feet from Katrina, my house was even less (before I lived there). For a lot of older people that have seen, been through worse storms, this storm had only made hurricane status just before landfall. No one leaves for TS there. What they didn't think about was the flood wall. This was the first test of it and the way it was built, it protected NOLA, but at the expense of the people of Braithwaite. I am certain that many people didn't account for that wall and were simply thinking, Cat1, we can do that.

Yes, it was a mandatory evac. Yes, they should have left, but the fact of the matter is that there are people there and there will more than likely be people who do not survive. For all involved, they just lost everything, again. It breaks my heart. i hope everyone can be mature enough to not point fingers and place blame when such a tragedy is unfolding.
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1795. ncstorm
I said last month when Largo posted a list of supplies to have an ax and people scoffed..

the situation in Braithwaite is why you need to have one..

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Quoting gordydunnot:
I feel bad about Louisiana really don't know what else to say, other than get your butt out of there Issac. Notice that 98L is in a hurry development wise and speeding to the west. Every system seems to have an appendage to it's south this year.Wonder if that will keep 98L a little farther south than forecast.


Possible if it's forward speed & dry air keeps it weak like the others. May be a larger door open this time around though. Time will tell.

Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5043
Quoting guygee:
Yeah are what you are, but you are not the only one who is ready to repel marauder in their neighborhood. Get it?
Now get over it.


Really? Since I wasn't born here I was informed I can't be a redneck, I'm an 'adopted' redneck. I don't understand your hostility.
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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX
630 AM CDT WED AUG 29 2012

THE OFFICIAL FORECAST TAKES ISAAC GENERALLY TO THE NORTHWEST OVER
THE NEXT 24-48 HOURS WHICH IS IN GOOD AGREEMENT WITH BOTH THE
ECMWF AND GFS. THE NAM HAS BECOME AN OUTLIER AS IT CONTINUES TO
CARRY THE SYSTEM WESTWARD ALONG THE LOUISIANA COASTLINE BEFORE
TURNING IT NORTHWESTWARD INTO EAST TEXAS LATE THURSDAY. WITH THE
UPPER RIDGE BEGINNING TO SHOW SOME SIGNS OF NOSING INTO THE
CENTRAL US THIS SOLUTION CANNOT BE TOTALLY DISCOUNTED BUT ISAAC
APPEARS TO BE MOVING FURTHER INLAND THIS MORNING AND HAVE DECIDED
TO TREND THE FORECAST CLOSER TO THE GFS AND NHC TRACK. THIS WILL
KEEP RAIN CHANCES IN PLACE FOR OUR EASTERNMOST COUNTIES THROUGH
FRIDAY AS THE SYSTEM PASSES TO OUR EAST. CURRENT POPS WERE LEFT
MOSTLY AS IS ALTHOUGH THESE MAY END UP BEING TOO HIGH IF THE ECMWF
SOLUTION PROVES CORRECT. TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN WARM...RANGING
FROM THE LOW TO MID 90S EASTWARD TO THE UPPER 90S ACROSS OUR
WESTERN COUNTIES.

AS ISAAC MOVES FURTHER INLAND THIS WEEKEND IT WILL FORCE THE UPPER
RIDGE EASTWARD ACROSS THE MID ATLANTIC STATES. THIS WILL ALLOW FOR
ONSHORE FLOW TO RESUME AND HAVE KEPT SLIGHT CHANCE POPS IN PLACE
FOR ANY DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE SEABREEZE. RAIN CHANCES WILL TAPER
OFF BY THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK AS THE UPPER RIDGE REESTABLISHES
ITSELF ACROSS THE SOUTHWEST. AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN
WARM WITH HIGHS IN THE MID 90S EXPECTED THROUGH THE END OF THE
FORECAST PERIOD. 38

So for everyone wishing Issac into Texas, please stop as it looks like its not going to happen. Now the forecast has gone back and forth since yesterday but at this point I am planning to water my lawn and wash my car this evening. Best of luck to those of you being affected. I am terribly sorry you are having to deal with this. I am praying for the people stranded and praying that the levees hold. Be safe Louisiana! We are pulling for you and will always be here for you!

Motels along I-10 are packed from Beaumont to Houston for people who left the area.

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Isaac, Kirk, 98L.
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1789. LargoFl
Wes and pat and everyone up there must be totally exhausted by now..our thoughts and prayers for you folks enduring all this up there..hope all of you come thru this safely..looks like you will have this storm with you for another 36 hours, IF it starts to move..which it doesnt seem to be in any hurry to do so.
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Blasted blog sucks you in doesn't it?

I gotta go get some work done. Suggest everyone else do the same (that ain't happenin'!)

Best to all, and all to best...
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That Levee failure is really bad news, hopefully there are no additional breaches.

Don't want a repeat of 05.
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1786. guygee
Quoting aislinnpaps:



So sorry and excuse me! My neighbors are rednecks and will proudly tell you so! A person can be cajun, and a person can be redneck. Around here it depends on where you live, not how you live or whether or not you have a college degree.

Sorry, I rarely get annoyed, but...
Yeah you are what you are, but you are not the only one who is ready to repel marauders in their neighborhood. Get it?
Now get over it.

gotta go get some work done,...see ya' later, maybe.
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Long-time lurker here, probably 7-8 years or so. I very rarely post because my technical knowledge is nonexistent, but I've followed posts here long enough that I feel like I "know" some of you. I kind of have to laugh, because, like everyone, my very first concern is for the people in the way of the storm, but my second is, "How are Pat's puppies doing?" Hope everyone's safe and well today.
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Watching the video on TWC from Plaquemines Parish. Crazy!! The wind and waves make it look like the guy is moving in a boat not stationary on a roof.
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Quoting UnobtrusiveTroll10:


could you provide short description of what your video showed? Thx

Cantore gettin his work out on, in the middle of Canal street....
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1782. citjet
img src="IMG_1571">

This is how we all feel about Cantore here in the Panhandle!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Barely moving but it looks like it is. Hope so.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 676
levels
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
1779. ncstorm
The area includes a stretch from Braithwaite to White Ditch. Those communities were under a mandatory evacuation order because of safety concerns.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told WDSU that the problem was limited to overtopping, and not a breach. He described the situation as "serious."

The National Weather Service noted: "This will result in significant deep flooding in this area."

The levee is not part of the federal Corps of Engineers protection system.

Okay, if people were not able to leave due to financial reasons, why is this not addressed to help those who cant..The President of the Parrish is complaining about the fact that this storm was categorized incorrectly but the NWS warned them about the surge..
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
My son pasted this on his facebook page with a map of his track.


Sounds like I have alot of son's, but only three. This is the youngest one.


hmm, his words didn't show up. Let me try again.


He said:
that black line is what I think Isaac'll do, based on my very -basic- understanding of fronts, aviation winds, and how all of these combine together. Note: I'm not a professional meteorologist. Just a guy who kind of enjoys what it is about.
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1777. LargoFl
The director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Isaac could keep its strength through the day as it lashes southeast Louisiana with rain and wind.

Rick Knabb says the storm's main area of circulation is over watery marshlands Wednesday and the New Orleans area may see another day of storm conditions because the first half of the storm hasn't moved through the area yet.

The hurricane made landfall Tuesday evening on Louisiana's southeast coast with 80 mph winds. Since then, it has pushed water over a rural levee to flood some homes, knocked out power to thousands and has immersed beach-front roads in Louisiana and Mississippi
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1776. MahFL
Looks like Isaac is doing yet another loop, a slight NE movement of the eye, but proberbly a loop, which is pretty crazy.
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Sommer L'Hoste >>> The Weather Channel
This pic is from my mother in law, Linda L'Hoste. She and 40-50 others are stranded on the MS River levee at the ferry landing in Braithwaite, Plaquemines Parish, Hwy 39. They are completely surrounded by water awaiting rescue. Please get the word out that they need help.

Link
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting alaina1085:

Crap sorry guys, a friend posted it on FB thought it would work.


could you provide short description of what your video showed? Thx
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Stick to the script and avoid labels is what I say.
My, we love to pigeon-hole each other, don't we?
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I feel bad about Louisiana really don't know what else to say, other than get your butt out of there Issac. Notice that 98L is in a hurry development wise and speeding to the west. Every system seems to have an appendage to it's south this year.Wonder if that will keep 98L a little farther south than forecast.
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1771. angiest
Quoting Asrock:


That was according to WWLTV at 08:57 this morning. Guess we shall see if it's true.


That's from the position estimate.
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Quoting alaina1085:


Here's the pic I took... these dude is a joke.

Gotta get your workout in sometime...
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My son pasted this on his facebook page with a map of his track.


Sounds like I have alot of son's, but only three. This is the youngest one.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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