Hot, then cold!

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:49 PM GMT on April 10, 2007

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A long and severe cold snap across much of the Eastern U.S. has caused considerable damage to peach and berry crops, canceled numerous baseball games, and brought up to four feet of snow to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Here in Southeast Michigan, we had our coldest week of April in 25 years, and a new winter storm is likely to bring 2-6 inches of snow on Wednesday. All this wintry weather comes on the heels of the second warmest March in U.S. history. The National Climatic Data Center released statistics showing that March 2007 was 5.6�F (3.1�C) warmer than the 20th century mean of 42.5�F (5.8�C) across the lower 48 states. Only March 1910 was warmer in the 113-year national record. More than 2500 daily record high temperatures were set from the East to the West Coast during the month. On the 13th of March alone more than 250 daily high temperature records were set. The earliest high of 90�F (32�C) occurred in Las Vegas that day and the daily record was broken by 6�F (3.3�C). For the month as a whole more than 200 daily record highs of 90�F or greater occurred in California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and areas of the Southeast. In contrast, Alaska had its third coldest March ever.

Figure 1. Northern Hemisphere departure of temperature from average for March and the week of April 2-9. Note how the pattern of warmer vs. colder than average temperatures reversed over North America between the two time periods. Images are plotted from the NCAR/NCEP daily reanalysis data, which has interpolation porblems over data-poor areas like the Southern Hemisphere and oceans, so these areas are not plotted. Image credit: NOAA/NCEP.

For the year, the U.S. has had an average January (49th warmest), colder than average February (34th coldest), exceptionally warm March (2nd warmest), and now a very cold April. Climate change science really doesn't have much to say about whether sharp temperature fluctuations like this will become more common in a world undergoing global warming. For now, I'm just attributing the past month's wild swing in temperature to natural variability. The jet stream moved to a completely new pattern between March and early April, reversing where above average and below average temperatures occurred over North America (Figure 1). Where will the jet stream set up for this year's hurricane season, determining the dominant hurricane track? I'll have my first discussion of that in late May, since the jet stream position is generally not predictable more than two weeks in advance.

On Thursday March 8th, the UK TV Channel 4 aired a program titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle". In the words of conservative commentator Thomas Sowell, "Distinguished scientists specializing in climate and climate-related fields talk in plain English and present readily understood graphs showing what a crock the current global warming hysteria is." I've been asked by a number of people to review the movie, but haven't found time to do so. It got yanked from for violating copyright laws, but is available from UK TV Channel 4. The scientists at reviewed the movie, and call it a fraud with distorted, misrepresented, and incorrect science.

My next blog will be Thursday.
Jeff Masters

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282. fredwx
1:41 PM EDT on April 11, 2007
There was a good rainfall over the past 2 days in the Tampa Bay area and some rain made it down across southern Florida last night.
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281. plywoodstatenative
5:33 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
not where is gulf, where has gulf been as of late. Anymore information on whether south florida is looking at some drought impacting rain or not in the near future? I had heard also that there was a chance for a cool down coming, whats up with that I thought winter was over already for the East coast of the US
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280. jake436
11:25 AM CST on April 11, 2007
And Patrap's right...NOLA is where it is because it HAS to be where it is. I'm not suggesting dropping the levees to flood NOLA. I'm saying drop the levees below NOLA, and then maybe add diversions, as CK suggested, above NOLA. NOLA must's the largest port in the country.
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279. jake436
11:17 AM CST on April 11, 2007
Thelmores, what I meant was that NOLA isn't below sea level because of coastal erosion. Of course you are right when you say if coastal erosion isn't addressed, and fixed, NOLA will become increasingly vulnerable. But it has always been vulnerable...see Betsy, 1965. Like I said earlier, erosion has been terrible in just the past 30 years. There was so much more land protecting NOLA in '65, yet it was still underwater after Betsy, a Cat 3 storm, hit the area. If Betsy had taken the same path as Katrina...east of the too would've dumped surge in the MRGO and Lake Pontchartrain, and most likely with similar results.
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278. thelmores
5:13 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
sorry Fred..... that info doesn't fit the template.......

oops, sry, I should know better! LOL

Hey where is Gulf today? We need some more humor!
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277. thelmores
5:03 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
"Posted By: jake436
But the fact that NOLA is below sea level really has nothing to do with the coastal erosion we're talking about here."

Hate to disagree Jake, but I think it is a very important point. Think about it for a moment..... If you were building a new, never before city the size of NO..... and were searching for possible locations..... be honest here, would you consider a site "below sea level" to build your new city. I think a large majority of people here would say no way! This is exactly my point.....

Not to mention, the coastal erosion, and loss of wetlands has made NO even more vulnerable..... so I would say coastal erosion, and NO being below sea level has to be discussed.

This is all hypothetical, and like I said before, I pray NO is spared until the end of time..... but what happens if.......
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276. fredwx
1:07 PM EDT on April 11, 2007
There was a NASA Study in 2003 that found that there was a 0.1% increase in solar radiation (during the quiet sunspot period) over the past 2 solar cycles which amounts to 0.05% increase per decade and speculates that IF this has been occuring over the past century then "it would have provided a significant component of Global warming".

A similar 0.1% increase in global temperatures over that 24 year period would be equal to about 0.3 degrees C which is not far from what has been measured.

My question is has there been any follow-up studies to this one?
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275. Patrap
12:00 PM CDT on April 11, 2007
LOL..NAwlins aint going No where folks..and heres why..New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize

By George Friedman

September 01, 2005 22 30 GMT -- The American political system was founded in Philadelphia, but the American nation was built on the vast farmlands that stretch from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. That farmland produced the wealth that funded American industrialization: It permitted the formation of a class of small landholders who, amazingly, could produce more than they could consume. They could sell their excess crops in the east and in Europe and save that money, which eventually became the founding capital of American industry.

But it was not the extraordinary land nor the farmers and ranchers who alone set the process in motion. Rather, it was geography -- the extraordinary system of rivers that flowed through the Midwest and allowed them to ship their surplus to the rest of the world. All of the rivers flowed into one -- the Mississippi -- and the Mississippi flowed to the ports in and around one city: New Orleans. It was in New Orleans that the barges from upstream were unloaded and their cargos stored, sold and reloaded on ocean-going vessels. Until last Sunday, New Orleans was, in many ways, the pivot of the American economy.

For that reason, the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 was a key moment in American history. Even though the battle occurred after the War of 1812 was over, had the British taken New Orleans, we suspect they wouldn't have given it back. Without New Orleans, the entire Louisiana Purchase would have been valueless to the United States. Or, to state it more precisely, the British would control the region because, at the end of the day, the value of the Purchase was the land and the rivers - which all converged on the Mississippi and the ultimate port of New Orleans. The hero of the battle was Andrew Jackson, and when he became president, his obsession with Texas had much to do with keeping the Mexicans away from New Orleans.

During the Cold War, a macabre topic of discussion among bored graduate students who studied such things was this: If the Soviets could destroy one city with a large nuclear device, which would it be? The usual answers were Washington or New York. For me, the answer was simple: New Orleans. If the Mississippi River was shut to traffic, then the foundations of the economy would be shattered. The industrial minerals needed in the factories wouldn't come in, and the agricultural wealth wouldn't flow out. Alternative routes really weren't available. The Germans knew it too: A U-boat campaign occurred near the mouth of the Mississippi during World War II. Both the Germans and Stratfor have stood with Andy Jackson: New Orleans was the prize.

Last Sunday, nature took out New Orleans almost as surely as a nuclear strike. Hurricane Katrina's geopolitical effect was not, in many ways, distinguishable from a mushroom cloud. The key exit from North America was closed. The petrochemical industry, which has become an added value to the region since Jackson's days, was at risk. The navigability of the Mississippi south of New Orleans was a question mark. New Orleans as a city and as a port complex had ceased to exist, and it was not clear that it could recover.

The ports of South Louisiana and New Orleans, which run north and south of the city, are as important today as at any point during the history of the republic. On its own merit, the Port of South Louisiana is the largest port in the United States by tonnage and the fifth-largest in the world. It exports more than 52 million tons a year, of which more than half are agricultural products -- corn, soybeans and so on. A larger proportion of U.S. agriculture flows out of the port. Almost as much cargo, nearly 57 million tons, comes in through the port -- including not only crude oil, but chemicals and fertilizers, coal, concrete and so on.

A simple way to think about the New Orleans port complex is that it is where the bulk commodities of agriculture go out to the world and the bulk commodities of industrialism come in. The commodity chain of the global food industry starts here, as does that of American industrialism. If these facilities are gone, more than the price of goods shifts: The very physical structure of the global economy would have to be reshaped. Consider the impact to the U.S. auto industry if steel doesn't come up the river, or the effect on global food supplies if U.S. corn and soybeans don't get to the markets.

The problem is that there are no good shipping alternatives. River transport is cheap, and most of the commodities we are discussing have low value-to-weight ratios. The U.S. transport system was built on the assumption that these commodities would travel to and from New Orleans by barge, where they would be loaded on ships or offloaded. Apart from port capacity elsewhere in the United States, there aren't enough trucks or rail cars to handle the long-distance hauling of these enormous quantities -- assuming for the moment that the economics could be managed, which they can't be.

The focus in the media has been on the oil industry in Louisiana and Mississippi. This is not a trivial question, but in a certain sense, it is dwarfed by the shipping issue. First, Louisiana is the source of about 15 percent of U.S.-produced petroleum, much of it from the Gulf. The local refineries are critical to American infrastructure. Were all of these facilities to be lost, the effect on the price of oil worldwide would be extraordinarily painful. If the river itself became unnavigable or if the ports are no longer functioning, however, the impact to the wider economy would be significantly more severe. In a sense, there is more flexibility in oil than in the physical transport of these other commodities.

There is clearly good news as information comes in. By all accounts, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which services supertankers in the Gulf, is intact. Port Fourchon, which is the center of extraction operations in the Gulf, has sustained damage but is recoverable. The status of the oil platforms is unclear and it is not known what the underwater systems look like, but on the surface, the damage - though not trivial -- is manageable.

The news on the river is also far better than would have been expected on Sunday. The river has not changed its course. No major levees containing the river have burst. The Mississippi apparently has not silted up to such an extent that massive dredging would be required to render it navigable. Even the port facilities, although apparently damaged in many places and destroyed in few, are still there. The river, as transport corridor, has not been lost.

What has been lost is the city of New Orleans and many of the residential suburban areas around it. The population has fled, leaving behind a relatively small number of people in desperate straits. Some are dead, others are dying, and the magnitude of the situation dwarfs the resources required to ameliorate their condition. But it is not the population that is trapped in New Orleans that is of geopolitical significance: It is the population that has left and has nowhere to return to.

The oil fields, pipelines and ports required a skilled workforce in order to operate. That workforce requires homes. They require stores to buy food and other supplies. Hospitals and doctors. Schools for their children. In other words, in order to operate the facilities critical to the United States, you need a workforce to do it -- and that workforce is gone. Unlike in other disasters, that workforce cannot return to the region because they have no place to live. New Orleans is gone, and the metropolitan area surrounding New Orleans is either gone or so badly damaged that it will not be inhabitable for a long time.

It is possible to jury-rig around this problem for a short time. But the fact is that those who have left the area have gone to live with relatives and friends. Those who had the ability to leave also had networks of relationships and resources to manage their exile. But those resources are not infinite -- and as it becomes apparent that these people will not be returning to New Orleans any time soon, they will be enrolling their children in new schools, finding new jobs, finding new accommodations. If they have any insurance money coming, they will collect it. If they have none, then -- whatever emotional connections they may have to their home -- their economic connection to it has been severed. In a very short time, these people will be making decisions that will start to reshape population and workforce patterns in the region.

A city is a complex and ongoing process - one that requires physical infrastructure to support the people who live in it and people to operate that physical infrastructure. We don't simply mean power plants or sewage treatment facilities, although they are critical. Someone has to be able to sell a bottle of milk or a new shirt. Someone has to be able to repair a car or do surgery. And the people who do those things, along with the infrastructure that supports them, are gone -- and they are not coming back anytime soon.

It is in this sense, then, that it seems almost as if a nuclear weapon went off in New Orleans. The people mostly have fled rather than died, but they are gone. Not all of the facilities are destroyed, but most are. It appears to us that New Orleans and its environs have passed the point of recoverability. The area can recover, to be sure, but only with the commitment of massive resources from outside -- and those resources would always be at risk to another Katrina.

The displacement of population is the crisis that New Orleans faces. It is also a national crisis, because the largest port in the United States cannot function without a city around it. The physical and business processes of a port cannot occur in a ghost town, and right now, that is what New Orleans is. It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city's population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States.

Let's go back to the beginning. The United States historically has depended on the Mississippi and its tributaries for transport. Barges navigate the river. Ships go on the ocean. The barges must offload to the ships and vice versa. There must be a facility to empower this exchange. It is also the facility where goods are stored in transit. Without this port, the river can't be used. Protecting that port has been, from the time of the Louisiana Purchase, a fundamental national security issue for the United States.

Katrina has taken out the port -- not by destroying the facilities, but by rendering the area uninhabited and potentially uninhabitable. That means that even if the Mississippi remains navigable, the absence of a port near the mouth of the river makes the Mississippi enormously less useful than it was. For these reasons, the United States has lost not only its biggest port complex, but also the utility of its river transport system -- the foundation of the entire American transport system. There are some substitutes, but none with sufficient capacity to solve the problem.

It follows from this that the port will have to be revived and, one would assume, the city as well. The ports around New Orleans are located as far north as they can be and still be accessed by ocean-going vessels. The need for ships to be able to pass each other in the waterways, which narrow to the north, adds to the problem. Besides, the Highway 190 bridge in Baton Rouge blocks the river going north. New Orleans is where it is for a reason: The United States needs a city right there.

New Orleans is not optional for the United States' commercial infrastructure. It is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist. With that as a given, a city will return there because the alternatives are too devastating. The harvest is coming, and that means that the port will have to be opened soon. As in Iraq, premiums will be paid to people prepared to endure the hardships of working in New Orleans. But in the end, the city will return because it has to.

Geopolitics is the stuff of permanent geographical realities and the way they interact with political life. Geopolitics created New Orleans. Geopolitics caused American presidents to obsess over its safety. And geopolitics will force the city's resurrection, even if it is in the worst imaginable place
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274. hurricane23
1:01 PM EDT on April 11, 2007
For those interested on a good read the NHC updated there list of deadlist,costliest and most intense U.S. tropical systems a few days ago.

Here is the PDF version.

Adrian's Weather
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273. Patrap
11:57 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
Ferry Cam Live...Big Muddy..Algiers Point Link
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272. jake436
10:52 AM CST on April 11, 2007
Where would it be "relocated"? I'm not arguing that it shouldn't be, but just wondering what ideas people have on the issue. Rising sea level? I guess we'll see. But I really wish we could avoid that topic on here. TCW indicated the same thing, and stated that the levees wouldn't be high enough or strong enough to stop the rising sea level. Even if the sea level does rise from GW, we're talking inches here. The levees, as they are now, are 17' high.
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271. GainesvilleGator
4:34 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
I am in favor of slowly relocating New Orleans based on these two reasons:

1. Rising sea level
2. Potential for another strong strike within 20 years.

I think the area in question should, over time, be returned to its natural state.
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270. jake436
10:39 AM CST on April 11, 2007
And Thelmores, I was one of the people in that discussion last week. I didn't exactly disagree with you, I just stated that there are reasons people live there that, as a non NOLA resident/native, you wouldn't understand. Also, there are good reasons not to live in many places, such as fault lines, tornados, etc.

But the fact that NOLA is below sea level really has nothing to do with the coastal erosion we're talking about here. NOLA isn't on the coast...yet. It is, however, getting closer and closer to being on the coast all the time...and when it does get there, it will be Atlantis, the city below the sea, literally. The land in NOLA and surrounding areas sinks...I know, because the slab of my first house was on pilings, and you could see from the front yard to the backyard, UNDER the slab, when I first bought it. I had it filled, and then, like nearly everyone down there, had to add topsoil to my yard every couple of years to keep my yard from sinking away. I'm wondering, and maybe Patrap, or someone else smarter than me can answer, if this sinking is related to the levees, or has it always happened? Let's face it, the entire area, with the exception of a couple of ridges, such as River Ridge, and the Metairie ridge, was built on swampland.
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269. jake436
10:32 AM CST on April 11, 2007
Yep, I'd rather have this discussion going on than another GW debate/argument. You are right when you say it is sad...but true. On this forum, I can hide behind my computer and suggest things that I know people aren't going to want to accept. But I would hate to be in the public eye saying the same thing. When I say I think the river needs to be allowed to flood, I'm well aware that allowing that will completely displace whole communities, permanently. BUT, if it isn't done now by river flooding, it will eventually be done by Gulf flooding, whether by hurricane storm surge, or just over time erosion.
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268. TheCaneWhisperer
4:33 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
All they are doing is prolonging the inevitable outcome. Pretty soon, when the ocean levels rise, they won't be able to build the levee's high enough or strong enough to stop it.
267. Patrap
11:34 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
No Stella, No Stanley, but a Streetcar Named Desire Visits New York City
Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

Parked in Times Square, a streetcar named Desire promotes New Orleans.

Published: April 11, 2007

Yesterday, on a street in Times Square, there were no azaleas or Spanish moss, no hot and fetid air, no maligned wives in slips or coarse husbands in torn T-shirts, no New Orleans of the imagination at all.

Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

After a day in New Jersey, the streetcar arrived in New York on Monday evening.

But there was, on windy West 44th Street, parked outside the television studios of Good Morning America, a streetcar named Desire.

Almost the length of a modern subway car, it was a green beauty of polished wooden benches and clanging bells, designed to look circa 1948, the period of the Tennessee Williams play. The front of the car reads, Desire. Inside, vintage advertisements span the car. Romance Never Starts From Scratch, reads a Burma Shave ad.

The entire car, which arrived from New Jersey on Monday evening and will remain in place today, was a promotional ploy by a tourist board to get more people to visit New Orleans, where there are few streetcars running and few neighborhoods rebuilt since the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Its almost a tale of two cities, said J. Stephen Perry, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, as he sat in the streetcar. We have some outlying post-World War II neighborhoods that suffered damage that is incomprehensible. But the original city that the tourists come to the French Quarter, the Garden District and the Arts District are not only intact, but look better than they did before the storm.

Tourism is vital to New Orleans, Mr. Perry said. It is the citys largest business, he said, worth billions of dollars, supplying nearly a third of the city budget and employing some 85,000 residents.

But the citys streetcar system is struggling. Before Katrina, some two million passengers a year hopped onto as many as 30 streetcars at rush hour, said Rosalind Blanco Cook, spokeswoman for the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority.

Now, as few as six cars are running on a system that will not be fully restored until spring 2008. On a good day, Ms. Cook said, several hundred tourists take the streetcars on the riverfront line.

As for the streetcar in Times Square yesterday, with its many parts and pieces added over the years, its provenance is as mixed as that of any old New Orleans family. Built in 1922, the 800 series car ran in New Orleans until 1964, when streetcar service was sharply reduced.

Like other vintage streetcars donated to museums, the car was sent to the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, Conn., where it was mothballed for decades. Finally, it came out of storage in 1995 and was restored, off and on, over five years.

Much of it is new. The restoration cost for materials alone was $100,000. The labor could have cost more than $500,000, but most of it was volunteer, according to Richard Slinsky, an electronics consultant and one of the Trolley Museum volunteers involved in the project.

The reason it was restored to the 1948 era, rather than the 1922 era, was the scarcity of spare parts and documentation from the earlier period, Mr. Slinsky said.

Is it really one of the streetcars named Desire on the French Quarter line that inspired Tennessee Williamss play title?

Mr. Slinsky is careful. Its likely, he said. One of the original roll signs that arrived with the car includes the name Desire, as well as Bourbon, Esplanade, Decatur, Elysian Fields, Chartres, Tonti, France and Royal.

As for the car in Times Square yesterday, visitors, many of them youngsters, seemed less fascinated by its history than by the smallness of the wooden benches.

Shaquanna Squalls, 16, a high school student from the Bronx, said, How did they put their legs in? I guess people were a lot shorter back then.
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266. thelmores
4:16 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
"Posted By: StormJunkie
Listen I must admit I have not read all of this discussion, but when you talk about something killing the port of NO I think you should keep in mind that one day, wether this year or 100 years from now...The port of NO will be dead anyway. One day a true CAT 4 or 5 will hit that area just the right way and all the money in the world will not be able to bring that area back to life...I am not saying cut our loses and get out of NO, what I am saying though is that something needs to be done protect that area on a massive scale or we need to start slowly relocating the city..."


I made similar comments a week or so ago, and several people were not happy.....

But I agree with you 100%! As I stated then, I agree with rebuilding New Orleans "this time"..... But should we have another disaster, which frankly I agree is inevitable, I will have to re-think my support.

Please, the good people of NO and La., don't misconstrue my point, but personally I believe it is irresponsible to live below sea level in a major hurricane zone....... I personally would never put my family in that position.....
But I do have a lot of respect for the people of NO and La., and I prey that further disasters are averted..... but I have great concern!

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265. StormJunkie
4:24 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Exactly TCW.

No need to apoligize CK. You are on point. This is tropical related and we are not bickering...
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264. TheCaneWhisperer
4:19 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Here is what you do! Find a worst case scenario flood map of the New Orleans area. And go buy as much land as you can on the outskirts of the flood area. In due time you will have water front property on your hands. IMO it is not a question of will it happen but, when it will happen.
263. cajunkid
11:07 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
I also think all of Congress (not just this administration) is leaning towards some hard realizations about NO. Sad...but I'll shut up now, sorry for getting away from Doc's subjects
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262. jake436
9:56 AM CST on April 11, 2007 that case a decision must be made as to whether the area should remain/become a coastal wetlands reserve, or humans should claim/reclaim the land as a human habitat. One thing is for sure, so many people love the area, it would thrive for humans if it were better protected from flood.

Quite the opposite...the area will cease to EXIST if river flooding, in some form or fashion, is not allowed to happen. I think that's the thing people not familiar with the area don't understand. In fact, plenty of people familiar with the area don't even understand, or care. Maybe they just look at the short term, and don't worry about what they leave behind.

Stormjunkie is absolutely correct, except it may not even take a true Cat 4 or 5 to do irreversible damage. In fact, it may not even take a storm at all. The marsh was eroding rapidly before Katrina/Rita were ever even thought about. Bottom line...since the levees were constructed, and especially since the MRGO was constructed, erosion has been highly acclerrated in south LA. The few diversions that exist were constructed in the 90's, and had nothing to do with response to any storm. The NOLA area hadn't experienced a serious hurricane since Betsy in 1965. Andrew struck in '92, but was a very small storm...area wise..., that affected areas far west of NOLA, such as Morgan City, Houma, Berwick, Franklin, etc...
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261. StormJunkie
4:05 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Agreed CK.

Hopefully nothing gets in the Gulf with low shear this year, or the SE coastal waters for that matter. Acording to the APL SST maps in my blog things are already pretty warm out there. Maybe this cool snap will help a little.

Got to get back to work. Catch y'all later.

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260. cajunkid
10:54 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
good to see you too StormJunkie

Its a touchy situation to say the least.
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259. StormJunkie
3:49 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Afternoon all. Good to see you cajun...

Listen I must admit I have not read all of this discussion, but when you talk about something killing the port of NO I think you should keep in mind that one day, wether this year or 100 years from now...The port of NO will be dead anyway. One day a true CAT 4 or 5 will hit that area just the right way and all the money in the world will not be able to bring that area back to life...I am not saying cut our loses and get out of NO, what I am saying though is that something needs to be done protect that area on a massive scale or we need to start slowly relocating the city...
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258. franck
3:46 PM GMT on April 11, 2007 that case a decision must be made as to whether the area should remain/become a coastal wetlands reserve, or humans should claim/reclaim the land as a human habitat. One thing is for sure, so many people love the area, it would thrive for humans if it were better protected from flood.
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257. cajunkid
10:41 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
it would kill the port of N.O. too! Nothing like this idea will ever happen.
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256. jake436
9:35 AM CST on April 11, 2007
I see. I would be more in favor of that than any proposed levees, but I'm not sure if it would be enough. It certainly is better than doing nothing, but as I said, the oyster fishermen would likely keep it in courts so long, it would be too late, even if they failed in stopping it, which is not a given in LA. I like the plan, though.
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255. cajunkid
10:22 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
Where would that allow the sediment to go?

They would have to build more diversions on both sides of the river down from BR to the mouth.
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254. cajunkid
10:10 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
Imagine how much that would cut off the trip from the mouth of the river (with all the bends and turns) to Baton Rouge. Remember that the levees also serve in keeping the water level in the river high enough for ship to pass all the way to the Red River.
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253. jake436
9:13 AM CST on April 11, 2007
Where would that allow the sediment to go? I know Patrap's post was about Terrebone/Lafourche parishes, but what about Plaquemine, St. Bernard, Lower Jefferson, and other parishes affected by coastal erosion? I agree though that instead of building levees, let the sediment from the largest river on the continent do the work for you...the work it was designed to do, naturally.
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252. cajunkid
10:04 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
jake, they would need to dredge a channel through the two lakes. Then a set of locks at the northwest end of Lake Maurepas would stop surge from entering a canal dredged to Baton Rouge.
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251. jake436
8:46 AM CST on April 11, 2007
Cajunkid, although I don't disagree with you exactly, I can't help but wonder what such a canal would do with regards to storm surge from a hurricane. Seems like if it hit the right place, surge would be funneled up the canal, like it was the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet(MRGO). That is what was feared, and eventually realized, by St. Bernard Parish residents.
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250. jake436
8:24 AM CST on April 11, 2007
Franck...If you don't mind telling, do you live anywhere near south LA? The reason I ask is only because I wonder if you understand the geography of the area. If you look at any map, it's easy to see where the Mississippi River, for eons, has dumped sediment. It's the land in the extreme southeast part of the state...the boot heel, if you will. Now, the river is not allowed to dump sediment, because it is leveed to protect residential areas from flooding during normal high water periods, such as after the spring thaw. (Understand that the Mississippi drains the entire US) If you are able to access any old maps, even 20-30 year old maps, it's blatantly obvious that the land is disappearing at an alarming rate. I'm only 38 years old, and I can remember going to Venice, LA as a young child, and seeing 3 seperate bays as we crossed over the bridge at Empire, LA. Now, you can only see water, for as far as the eye can see. The land is eroding, but it is also sinking, and lately, there are reports that it is even sliding into the Gulf. The river has to be allowed to dump sediment in order for it to rebuild the years of land loss. There are a few "diversions" along the river...they are opened during certain times of the year allowing river water to infiltrate the marsh. They do work, but on such a small scale that at best, they will slow the erosion...not reverse it. Sort of like prolonging the agony in my opinion. But that's where you get into the good ole boy network...the oyster fishermen sue the powers that be, claiming that the river water is going to make the oysters move to other areas, as they cannot thrive in fresh water. They claim it will put them out of a job. I don't know the exact #'s, but there are VERY few oyster fishermen in LA, and I think they should bite the bullet, and move with the oysters, whereever they may go. People move with their jobs all the do what you have to do to survive. But even though they are small in #, they are a powerful lobby. LA politics at it's best. That, in my honest opinion, is why the federal government is hesitant to throw money at the State of Louisiana...especially for a project that, in the long run, is liable to do more harm than good.
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249. lightning10
2:25 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Whittier, CA

Days without Rain 12
Rain since July 1st of 2006 2.21
Rainfall This Month 0.00 in
Days With Rain This Year (Jan - Dec) 14 Days

This means that when it did this year the aveage storm brought less then 0.16 inches of rain.

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248. K8eCane
2:32 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Gale force winds expected Sat
Storm force winds expected sun
Forecast as of 10:30 am EDT on April 11, 2007
Hatteras Canyon To Cape Fear Out To 34n 71w To 32n 73w
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247. cajunkid
9:11 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
yep, as long as the mighty Mississippi dumps all our top soil off the continental more marsh for you. Ideally we would need a channel through Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas. Then build a canal and set of locks north at least to Baton Rouge. It would really need to go to Three Rivers. Then they could let the river flood naturally below Baton Rouge and reclaim the land on its own.
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246. MisterPerfect
2:20 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
South Florida RadarLink

Here comes more to rain to the west!
Member Since: November 1, 2006 Posts: 72 Comments: 20205
245. MisterPerfect
2:08 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
If concrete barriers were organizing assaults to unhinge themselves in the name of the Levee God, then we'd have an arguement..
Member Since: November 1, 2006 Posts: 72 Comments: 20205
244. jake436
7:56 AM CST on April 11, 2007
But it's not just the administration that has raised questions about the levee project. Environmentalists for years have objected to building levees across south Louisiana's wetlands. Critics dubbed the project "The Great Wall of Louisiana." They said it would stop the natural flow of water through the coastal marshes and contribute to coastal erosion, a phenomenon that has made the entire region more vulnerable to hurricane storm surge.

And they're right. Let's face it...the root of the problem isn't hurricanes, and probably not even the massive scarring of the land by carving out all of the pipeline's the fact that sediment isn't allowed to flow through the system...replinishing the ever shrinking land areas. There is no easy fix. And another point. How much of the water behind the proposed levee is PRIVATE, according to the courts of LA. I for one wouldn't want my tax $$$ going to protect something I have no legal access to. LA needs to get things straight with regards to their corrupt legal climate and their good ole boy politics before they can expect everybody to throw money at them. I know that's a hard thing to accept, but as a south LA native and long time (27 years) resident, I know about what I speak. It's almost impossible to drive a boat anywhere within the proposed levee site without breaking the law by trespassing...ON TIDAL WATERS!!! It's ridiculous.
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243. franck
1:55 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Patrap...that's something to ponder. An additional hundred thousand million to extend a war which was declared won several years ago. Now that's a million dollars per soldier by the way, and only to cover a few months expenses. But not the tiniest fraction of that amount could be spent on a levee project. Would that be called misappropriation?
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242. MisterPerfect
1:48 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Tuesday's rain not enough to ease drought


Thunderstorms may have rocked Miami-Dade and Broward counties Tuesday night, but the rainfall was a relative drop in the bucket -- at least as far as drought conditions go, meteorologists and water management officials said.

In short, the water restrictions are still on.

''The rain was enough to help people's lawns, but that's about it,'' said Nestor Yglesias, a spokesman for the South Florida Water Management District. ``It definitely wasn't enough to alleviate the drought conditions.''

According to the National Weather Service, the rainfall was heaviest over Miami, where residents saw between 2 and 3 1/3 inches fall before midnight. The northern part of Miami-Dade County picked up 1 inches, while Broward County picked up an inch.

In the aftermath of the downpours, rainfall amounts for both counties surpassed average monthly levels, said Andy Tingler, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

But don't expect the water restrictions to ease up just yet.

Many South Florida communities rely on water from Lake Okeechobee and lake levels remain five feet below normal, Yglesias said.

''You don't replace a five-foot deficit with three inches of rain,'' he said.

The good news: Expect more showers Wednesday. There's a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms throughout the region, Tingler said.

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241. K8eCane
1:46 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
hi Thel
Wilmington NC here
we have gotten a little rain
need more
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240. cajunkid
8:43 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
Where do they want this Levee?
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239. thelmores
1:37 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Morning everybody! :)

Finally got a little rain in Myrtle Beach this morning, rain we desperately needed!

not a drought buster, but welcomed for sure!
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238. Patrap
8:30 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
No..that is a DOTD highway raising Project..not related to this levee.
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237. cajunkid
8:16 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
Pat, Is that levee project to be from Donaldsonville down LA 1 to Fourchon?
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236. hurricane23
8:58 AM EDT on April 11, 2007
Good morning...

Big times rains across south florida last night with 24 hour totals reaching 2.90 inches.Today looks rather wet during the second half of the day but i do not expect a repeat performance.Adrian

Adrian's Weather
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235. cajunkid
7:48 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
It looks like all of south FL will finally get soaked through the weekend...I feel like I should congratulate y'all or something. I know many prayers were answered yesterday.

How long was the area below normal annual precip...has to be 6 or 7 years aye?
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234. Patrap
7:51 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
More From The Times-Picayune | Subscribe To The Times-Picayune
White House resists plan for 72-mile storm shield
Denying Terrebonne project would be mistake, Vitter says
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
By Bill Walsh

WASHINGTON -- The White House has quietly signaled its opposition to a 72-mile levee system in south Louisiana proposed to protect about 120,000 people who have watched the Gulf of Mexico creep ever closer to their homes as the coast erodes.

The Bush administration raises concerns about the $900 million project in a draft policy paper being circulated on Capitol Hill as the House of Representatives prepares to consider legislation that would authorize construction.

The president stopped short of threatening a veto. But his opposition could delay the long-awaited Water Resources Development Act or scuttle the snaking system of levees and floodgates that has been on the drawing board for 15 years to protect people and property in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

"If this policy statement is allowed to stand, it will display a fundamental lack of understanding and commitment to crucial hurricane and flood protection in key parts of southeast Louisiana," Sen. David Vitter, R-La., wrote in a letter to the president. "I urge you in the strongest possible terms to correct this mistake."

An administration spokesman soft-pedaled its concerns about the so-called Morganza-to-the-Gulf project, saying the policy is still in draft form. A final version could be issued as early as next week if, as expected, the House takes up the water resources bill when it returns from recess.

"At this point, to say there is a concern is probably premature," said Sean Kevelighan, spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget. "The legislation is under review right now."

But a draft version of the administration's position was unequivocal. It called for deleting the Morganza project from the bill.

"The project requires reformulation based on an analysis that reflects recent storm data, substantial cost increases, and the effects of other levees proposed south of Houma, and that assesses how it would affect the limited options available for restoring the ecosystem of the Terrebonne Basin," the document says.

It also calls for reducing federal financing for broader coastal restoration to $500 million and forcing the state to pay 50 percent of the overall costs, which Vitter labeled "a raw deal for Louisiana." The Blanco administration has estimated that restoring the coast, which is eroding through manmade and natural forces at a rate of 30 square miles per year and lost an estimated 217 square miles because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, would cost in excess of $14 billion.

In their draft policy statement, Bush administration officials say they support coastal restoration in Louisiana, but "we would encourage the House to instead enact a broad, more flexible authorization." The Army Corps of Engineers began studying hurricane protection for Houma and the communities to the south in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes in 1992. Plans were drawn for a 72-mile earthen levee system, with 12 floodgates and a canal lock in Houma. It was intended to protect 120,000 residents of south Louisiana and 1,700 square miles of marshes, farmland, residential communities and industrial sites.

Terrebonne Parish passed a local sales tax to help foot the bill for the plan, which in 2006 was estimated to cost $886.7 million, according to the Corps of Engineers. Thirty-five percent is to be paid by local and state governments.

"If they continue to put this on hold, there won't be anything left of Terrebonne Parish to protect," Parish President Don Schwab said Tuesday. "Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes serve as a buffer to Jefferson and Orleans. We got to quit putting these things on hold. The president needs to bite the bullet."

But it's not just the administration that has raised questions about the levee project. Environmentalists for years have objected to building levees across south Louisiana's wetlands. Critics dubbed the project "The Great Wall of Louisiana." They said it would stop the natural flow of water through the coastal marshes and contribute to coastal erosion, a phenomenon that has made the entire region more vulnerable to hurricane storm surge.

Proponents of the massive levee building program have suggested so-called "leaky levees" that would permit the movement of tidal waters, but skeptics said the technology is unproven.

The nonprofit group Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana was among those opposing the plan on environmental grounds. Former coalition director Mark Davis, now a Tulane University professor, said he fears the Bush administration is seizing on environmental concerns to kill a project it doesn't want to pay for.

Davis said the administration hasn't raised similar objections to the Donaldsonville-to-the-Gulf levee project which, in his view, poses more substantial environmental hazards.

"If their concerns are technical, those can be worked out," Davis said. "If their concerns are budgetary, which concerns me most, then it's a more ominous signal that they aren't ready to commit to anything down here."
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 437 Comments: 135400
233. cajunkid
7:34 AM CDT on April 11, 2007
Look at this little booger spinning off the west coat of Costa Rica...its like a mini hurricane Link
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232. TheCaneWhisperer
12:14 PM GMT on April 11, 2007
Now THIS is what I like to see! Now we just need to get some rain to the worst areas to the south and west of lake 0! They didn't get much at all yesterday!

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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