New Orleans to Pensacola at high risk from Katrina

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:05 PM GMT on August 27, 2005

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The Hurricane Hunters measured a central pressure of 949 mb at 11:14am EDT, up from the cental pressure of 941 mb measured at 7:07am EDT. Concentric eyewalls with diameters of 13 and 40 nm were reported, satellite images show that the eye has filled in with clouds and the cloud top temperatures have warmed. These observations indicate that an eyewall replacement cycle has begun. This was expected, since the 7:07am Hurricane Huneter report indicated that the eye diameter had shrunk to 9 nm, about the smallest diameter one gets before an eyewall replacement cycle begins.

The maximum winds may fall below 115 mph while Katrina undergoes this eyewall replacement cycle, as the inner eyewall collapses and a new outer eyewall forms. This would make Katrina a strong Category 2 storm, and indeed the maximum winds seen so far by the Hurricane Hunters were only 87 knots (100 mph) at 10,000 feet. This is a temporary affliction, since Katrina is in nearly ideal conditions for strengthening, and is expected to reach Category 4 status by Sunday. The convection and outflow are starting to look better on the north side of the hurricane, and Katrina should have a more symmetrical shape typical of Category 4 hurricanes by Sunday. As seen in the cumulative wind image below, Katrina has increased markedly in size the past 12 hours, and will deliver a widespread damaging blow wherever she comes ashore.



The favorable intensification conditions for Katrina are expected to last up until landfall, when some increase in shear may occur. Intensification forecasts are highly unreliable, though, and it would be no surprise if Katrina were a Category 2, 3, or 4 landfall. The track forecast is getting more believable, as Katrina's westerly motion shows that it has begun it recurvature, pretty much where NHC and the models were predicting. A landfall between New Orleans and Pensacola is on track for Monday morning or afternoon. I expect a Category 3 storm at landfall.

I'd hate to be an Emergency Management official in New Orleans right now. Katrina is pretty much following the NHC forecast, and appears likely to pass VERY close to New Orleans. I'm surprised they haven't ordered an evacuation of the city yet. While the odds of a catastrophic hit that would completely flood the city of New Orleans are probably 10%, that is way too high in my opinion to justify leaving the people in the city. If I lived in the city, I would evacuate NOW! There is a very good reason that the Coroner's office in New Orleans keeps 10,000 body bags on hand. The risks are too great from this storm, and a weekend away from the city would be nice anyway, right? GO! New Orleans needs a full 72 hours to evacuate, and landfall is already less than 72 hours away. Get out now and beat the rush. You're not going to have to go to work or school on Monday anyway. If an evacuation is ordered, not everyone who wants to get out may be able to do so--particularly the 60,000 poor people with no cars.

Dr. Jeff Masters

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1181. Dragoon
2:34 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Almost every discussion on every news station I've seen expects this storm to weaken before landfall. Why? Perhaps due to an eyewall replacement cycle.. but waters are even warmer along the coast than they are over the open Gulf. Sure they're shallow, but Katrina will be moving fast enough to avoid upwelling.
1180. lowpressure
2:17 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
N.O. emergency managemeny officals are idios, its to late to get everyone out, if this storm goes ther at the expected intencity, it will be ...well . some will be sorry they didnt get out
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1179. hmfynn
2:12 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Orleans77, you're right, and don't get me wrong, I completely agree that as many people should get out and as soon as possible. I am by no means advocating riding this thing out. I'm just saying, responding to the "what are those idiots still in N.O. thinking?" trend I've been seeing, that for some it's a difficult decision and the longer they wait, they more rooms fill up, the closer things get, and, unfortunately, they get stuck.

I'm not saying people SHOULD stay, by any means. I'm just saying the people who are chosing to ride it out didn't do so out of laziness or ignorance. Truly a sad situation for everyone involved, and my prayers go out to them and to anyone in the Grand Isle and Cocodrie/Robinson Canal areas if this thing shifts a little more west.
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1178. EZMonster
1:59 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
People wanna switch over the new blog entry for forum?
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1177. Orleans77
1:52 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
New Orleans finally got serious and ordered an evacuation, but far too late. There is no way everyone will be able to get out of the city in time, and they may be forced to take shelter in the Superdome, which is above sea level. If Katrina makes a direct hit on New Orleans as a Category 4 hurricane, the levees protecting the city will be breached, and New Orleans, which is 6 - 10 feet below sea level, will fill with water. On top of this 6 feet of water will come a 15 foot storm surge, and on top of that will be 20 foot waves, so the potential for high loss of life is great. Given the current track and intensity forecast, I'd put the odds of this at about 20%.

Dr. Jeff Masters
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1176. Canenut
1:48 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
New entry from Jeff Masters
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1175. LAtigerchic
1:48 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Just checked my local news site...no hotels or motels in the Alexandria/Pineville area....best bet is Shreveport or TX...
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1174. Orleans77
1:46 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
You are very welcome
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1173. Orleans77
1:46 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
No prob...u try it? some of the coverage is repetitive...however nothing liek the local angel...
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1172. Canenut
1:44 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Good evening all, thanks for the link Orleans77.
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1171. Orleans77
1:43 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
hmfynn i get ur point..but with 50% fatality rates being homeless and w/out money is still better than dead...and if NO has 1000's of dead..is under 30 ft of water, is contaminated by sewage and chemicals...sssuming you survive do you honestly think that will be the better place to be??
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1170. fortlauderdalegirl
1:42 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Yes - that would be great! I wondered HOW you were getting local info. in NY, but didn't want imply any ridiculous "faker" nonsense again :) -- no way. LOL. I believe you! (Glad we're all off that craziness!)

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1169. Orleans77
1:43 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
jus click on: Watch continuous coverage from Eyewitness News.
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1168. Orleans77
1:42 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Link

they have an ongoing LIVE link...been going since 4pm
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1167. hmfynn
1:34 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
I just want to say something to the people who insist on criticize New Orleans residents who are not leaving.

it's not an easy decision to make

Let's say you do manage to pick up and get out the way of a storm that destroys the city...then what? Your hotel reservations may only cover a week or so at most, assuming you could even get them in time. When they run out, where do you go? Not everyone has friends or family elsewhere to stay with. For many people, getting out of the way will do no good if they have nowhere to go home to. Being stuck in another state when your home and possibly place of employment is destroyed and no fixed residence is a scary thought. Others have family who, for some reason or another, can't leave and whom they wouldn't dream of abandoning. I agree staying in the city at this point is almost suicide, but for some, there's not much alternative.

We shouldn't assume that everyone who's riding this out is naive, or lazy, or just plain stupid. For some of us, it's simply a matter of having resigned ourselves to fate and leaving it to nature's devices. Call it stoicism if you're going to call it anything.
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1166. boiredfish
1:40 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
and if you are, can you get those cops off of 146?
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1165. Orleans77
1:41 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
ffl girl im wathcing a local feed on the internet...CH 4..want the link?
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1164. Orleans77
1:40 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Thats true // i feel so bad for all the people stayin behind..
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1163. fortlauderdalegirl
1:37 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
ORLEANS77 -- Don't worry about your apt. -- you'll have your life and your future) :). I feel much better now -- thought you were still in the QTR.
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1162. boiredfish
1:38 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
just wondering.......i fish the pier there by the boat ramp every morning before work....around 4 am....get a few trout to take to work for lunch......
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1161. Orleans77
1:38 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
17 to 20 feet surge?? Yikes...if that happens my apt is gone and i lose all my stuff...im on the ground floor in the french quarter
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1160. Orleans77
1:34 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Im not in FQ now...ive been visiting my folks in New York for the last week..was supposed to fly back tomorrow to pack up my summer apt in FQ and move back to LSU..up until this morning i was still going but with much persuasion from the folks, im staying put...I hope i have something to return to...
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1159. Randyman
1:34 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Here's a ImpactWeather Tropical Update:


Hurricane Katrina - Advisory 19
Issued: 08:29 PM CDT Saturday August 27, 2005

At 9PM CDT, Hurricane Katrina will be near 24.0N/86.1W, or about 365 miles southeast of New Orleans, LA. Maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 115 mph. Movement is to the west-northwest at 7 mph. Minimum pressure was recently measured by recon at 942 millibars or 27.82 inches.


Our forecast remains unchanged for the most part. We've indicated a very gentle turn to the west-northwest over the next 6-12 hours, followed by a northwesterly turn on Sunday morning as high pressure to the north of the hurricane weakens. Confidence in the general track remains good, but until Katrina is moving to the northwest and north-northwest on Sunday afternoon, we won't really be too certain of the exact point of landfall. Latest model guidance remains fixed on southeast Louisiana. Some of the better models take the center right over New Orleans on Monday afternoon.


Concerning Katrina's intensity, the hurricane began an eyewall replacement cycle earlier today. The old, small inner eye has fallen apart, while the new, larger eye has begun to slowly contract. As it does so, surface winds should increase significantly. By sunrise on Sunday, we think that Katrina will have intensified to a strong Category 3 or a minimal Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130-135 mph. Katrina will pass over a pool of very warm water on Sunday, at which time it could reach near Category 5 strength of 150 mph. We do expect that Katrina will weaken a little prior to landfall, but it will likely be a Category 4 hurricane at landfall with 135-145 mph wind.


Katrina could produce a storm surge of 12-16 feet near the mouth of the Mississippi River as it moves ashore. However, this surge could increase to 17-20 feet across southeast Louisiana, including the Greater New Orleans, area as the center moves by on Monday afternoon.


The next commentary and forecast track will be issued near 3AM CDT.


George Harvey
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1158. boiredfish
1:31 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Shoreacres.............you in Shoreacres, Tx.?
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1157. JaxAdjuster
1:34 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Steve's blog is great. Here's the link

Link
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1156. JimDantin
1:27 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
The New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune, published an in-depth article about the impact of a serious hurricane on New Orleans. If you haven't already read it, you should:
Link

I grew up in the New Orleans area, and lived through Betsy and Camille. I'm very thankful I don't live there any more.
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1155. Orleans77
1:32 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
latest NHC 144MPH with 178MPH GUSTS at LANDFALL
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1154. fortlauderdalegirl
1:32 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
ORLEANS77 -- If you are in the FR QTR, where are you going?? Even if you are in a taller structure, you won't be able to get out once its underwater.
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1153. Orleans77
1:30 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
FortlauderdaleGirl I actually go to school at LSU but have been in NO for the summer..in the french quarter
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1152. fortlauderdalegirl
1:28 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
ORLEANS77 -- Are you leaving or staying?? What part of NO do you live in?? Please keep us posted on what the local channels/Max Mayfield is advising because we don't have access. Thanks!!
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1151. CFLweather
1:25 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Please leave if you are able to, this is a huge hurricane, and it will be extremely intense at landfall. This is not a joke, its not worth it to try and ride it out. New Orleans should be deserted if it already isn't, the French quarter alone will be under 10-20 feet of water.
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1150. SouthernLady
1:24 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Shoreacres thanks!!They went and got the kitten formula tonight...If it lives through the night I will go get it tommorrow. they just aren't animal people, but they do have a heart towards babies...I wonder how my little yorkie will like it?????

Sorry folks...carry on..Katrina...
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1149. FTmyersZ
1:20 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Guys, I'm a newbie here, so i dont expect much attention. But it seems like the posts have gotten much less technical, and much more personal. I'm very interested in this storm, it's dynamics, and it's track.
For those of us who live in hurricane pron areas, learning as much as possible about these storms seems prudent. I very much enjoy the "technical" posts, but it seems IM might be a better medium for some of the more " off topic" posts.

Just a thought.
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1148. Skyepony (Mod)
1:24 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
That Burban st NO cam was great~ cusing the cane & partin to brown eyed girl. Go look, might never be the same.
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1147. Orleans77
1:24 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
I agree..jus read Steve Gregory's Analysis..I agree with the idea of Oil Prices jumping although think we could even hit 80/bbl...also FOX said that 50% of all Oil Rigs in Gulf are in path of hurricane and 30% of the Country's Refinery Capacity are in SE Lousiana....
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1146. HillsboroughBay
9:25 PM EDT on August 27, 2005
The maginn 25 has been reached.

"27/2345 UTC 25.0N 86.0W T5.0/6.0 KATRINA -- Atlantic Ocean"
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1145. IKE
1:23 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Plus it takes money to evacuate and with gas prices the way they are...it isn't easy.
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1144. Orleans77
1:22 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Max Mayfield was just on and said that 1) a Cat 4 or higher will seriously damage or destroy 80 - 90 % of all structures should it be a direct hit.....2) that in such a scenario the death toll could reach as high as 50% of those remaning...THESE PEOPLE NEED TO GET OUT OF NO!!
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1143. SouthernLady
1:16 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
For those that can make it to Laurel,Ms. Take Hyw 28 to Magee, no traffic, then 541 (if you want to go farther north) to hyw 18 in Puckett, go left on 18 to Brandon, Ms. and you can either take I-20 to I-55 there or go hyw 80 east or west.
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1142. fortlauderdalegirl
1:22 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Steve Gregory just updated his analysis. It is pretty insightful. Click over to read.
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1141. shoreacres
1:13 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
SouthernLady - soy milk!!! You can mix w/a little evaporated (NOT sweetened condensed!). We raised a baby squirrel on the stuff and he lived for 8 years - loved Letterman and orange popsicles in his later years ;-)
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1140. mobile0504
1:20 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
It is easy not to evacuate, because noone has been able to pin point where the storm is going. Everyone thinks it won't hit where they are. Maybe the models will quit shifting back and forth between LA and MS/AL and pin point something...Im getting a headache ...
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1139. IKE
1:18 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
I think this storm is going in east of New Orleans...maybe those that stay behind will be okay. Some folks just won't leave no matter what. My mom is the same way. I left for Ivan, Opal, and Dennis, She stayed home here in Defuniak Springs, Fl. and rode them all out. She has more b*lls then I do!
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1138. cajunkid
8:16 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
I know Orleans77, the Quarter was busy all day while I boarded up my Girls store. People even took pictures of me. They aren't taking this storm serious.
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1137. JaxAdjuster
1:17 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
They are not thinking! If they were, they'd be getting out of NO.
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1136. Orleans77
1:14 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
THe local TV (CH4) just said that up to 20% of NO Residents are expected to stay...not evacuate...thts 600,000 people...i understand the 60,000 tht have no cars,...but what are the pother 540,000 people thinking???
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1135. cajunkid
8:13 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
To anyone in New Orleans, I just took RIVER ROAD to Baton Rouge and it only took 90 min. no traffic!!
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1134. stmarylalady
1:01 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
My officer just reported that hwy 90 here in st mary parish, the west bound lane has pretty heavy traffic but they are moving along well. Probably folks from terrebonne and lafourche parishes.
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1133. westernmob
1:11 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Josh,

Lord! I hope not. That would put my house in the NW eyewall here in West Mobile County, AL. I am praying for landfall in the Southern Lousiana marsh in sparsely poulated areas.
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1132. boiredfish
1:12 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Several Aggies playing in the Texans/Cowboys game.........
WWHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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1131. SouthernLady
1:11 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Thanks Jax...we have the squirrel taken care of as much as can be...Now back to Katrina, sorry guys, got a soft heart...
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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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