Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:18 PM GMT on February 03, 2006
While the groundhogs slumbered before their big prognosticating efforts Groundhog Day morning, two tornadoes ripped through the New Orleans metro area, adding to the misery and fright of a city still deeply wounded by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. One tornado hit Armstrong International Airport. Here's the official NWS damage report from that event:
Weather observer observed funnel cloud at the same time that substantial damage occurred to Concourse C. 20 x 8 foot glass window along with metal frame were sucked out in walkway area just past security checkpoint. Four jet bridges were damaged. Section of temporary roof was blown away. The airport reported a peak wind gust of 43 mph at 236 am. Warehouse building reported damaged across the highway from airport.
Two other tornadoes were reported nearby. Here's the official damage reports from those events:
Ground survey indicated tornado touched down initially along River Road at Iris Ave near Oschner Hospital. Several structures had roofs removed. Warehouses damaged and power lines/poles snapped. The tornado traveled north northeast for approximately 0.75 miles. Damage width 150 yds.
Several trailers near Oschner Hospital in Metairie, Jefferson Parish, sustained roof damage...roofs were torn upwards from their base.
Ground survey indicated strong tornado moved on a north northeast path across the Lakeview area of New Orleans. Several houses heavy damaged...other houses with lighter damage and power poles snapped. Former State Police troop B communications tower was knocked down on Veterans Blvd near Fleur de Lis. Damage path approximately 2.5 miles. Width approximately 150 yards. Further ground survey and investigation may result in consolidating Lakeview tornado with tornado near Oschner Hospital.
While the damage from these tornadoes will probably amount to just a few million dollars, their psychological toll will no doubt be high. At a lecture Tuesday at the American Meterological Society Annual Meeting, Dr. Anna Marie of the Weather Channel presented a talk titled, "Health Effects of 2005 Hurricanes". She presented results of a study that showed that 40% of the population of New Orleans was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This is much higher than the 25 - 28% rate reported for the victims of Hurricane Andrew. A study of the psychological state of 2000 Katrina victims is being performed by the Harvard Medical School, and an update of their condition is due to be released in late February.
Are Category 4 and 5 hurrricanes increasing in frequency?
I heard the authors of the paper claiming this connection speak Tuesday at the American Meteorological Society conference, and they presented new evidence supporting their conclusion. However, Dr. Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center presented evidence disputing their conclusions. It will take me at least a week to incorporate the new material into the blog piece I'm working on about this, pardon the delay!
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