Category 3 Katrina pounding Gulf coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:17 PM GMT on August 29, 2005

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Katrina has spared New Orleans a direct hit. Although the damage will be incredible, it could have been much, much worse. At 10am CDT the eyewall of Hurricane Katrina moved ashore along the Louisiana-Mississippi border between New Orleans and Gulfport, almost the exact spot Hurricane Camille devastated in 1969. The worst of Katrina is now being experienced everywhere along the coast. The National Weather Service is reporting that the levees in Orleans and St Bernard parishes have been overtopped by the storm surge, and there are reports of life-threatening flooding, roof damage, and building collapses in the city. However, the storm's passage to the east of the city means that New Orleans has escaped the catastrophic blow a direct hit would have delivered, and heavy loss of life is not expected in New Orleans.

Bay Saint Louis, Biloxi, and Gulfport Mississippi will take the full force of Katrina's right eyewall, and a storm surge of 15-20 feet is likely along the west and central Mississippi coast. Katrina will continue to weaken as she interacts with land, but will maintain hurricane intensity until about midnight tonight, when she will be nearly 200 miles inland. Tornado warnings have been issued for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida in the past hour, and tornadoes will continue to be a serious threat throughout the day. Heavy rains will also be a major problem, and rainfall amounts of 8 inches have already occurred near the Louisiana-Mississippi border.

As of 11am EDT, communications with four National Weather Service offices have failed. No radar information is available from the NWS offices in New Orleans and Lake Charles in Louisiana, and Jackson in Mississippi. The NWS offices are still able to send out warnings and forecasts.

Now that Katrina is moving ashore, the Hurricane Hunters have flown their final flight into the storm. A special thanks need to be given to the Air Force Hurricane Hunters based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, who have flown Katrina around the clock while their families remained on the ground in Biloxi. Biloxi will suffer Katrina's harshest blow, and many of the Hurricane Hunters will see their homes destroyed or heavily damaged.

Dr. Jeff Masters


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54. StormJunkie
4:04 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
I am sure many have been over this this morning and I am not complaining, but can some one please explain the following facts.

During Sat outage last night half of the W side of Katrina dissappeared while she appeared to be getting her convection back prior to the Sat outage.

She is over land and gaining strength again.

What is the deal.

I have heard radio reports that the pumps have failed and that at least one levy broke. I also heard about a hotel or apartment complex colapse.
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53. Orleans77
4:07 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
thanks..i hope so
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52. Valence
4:03 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Oh, here we go with the conspiracy theories again. That the gov't did something to the storm during the period of satellite blackout to cause her to weaken.

Why did she weaken? If you can, check our the water vapor loop for sat and early sundy. As Katrina intensified, she was able to create her own environment, effectively pushing the trof out of the way. As she approaced land, the water got cooler, and she naturally weakened (from 175 to 160), as was expected.

However, when you add that weakening to the front half of the storm moving over land, Katrina was no longer in control of her environment. The Trof was not affecting her, causing a good deal of shear on the W side of the storm. Its also why she made the late turn to the NNE.
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51. AySz88
12:03 PM EDT on August 29, 2005
bkdelong: The first link I posted works for me, but the buoy place doesn't.

I trust Orleans I think; until recently, all that he's said has been verified as something that the national media or the local news feeds said.
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50. ruthlilycat
4:05 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
I just clicked that link aysz88 and that is all about the hurricane.

I'm also wondering why they built NO on a swamp??? That doesn't make sense to me.
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49. oriondarkwood
11:47 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
Orleans77,

I am sad to hear about you may have lost a friend and that the city you love. A city with a long and rich history will be forever changed maybe never reclaiming its past glory.
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48. CosmicEvents
4:02 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Orleans......I think your friend is fine. Just the cell phone communications lost. I haven't heard of any serious flooding in the French Quarter, in fact they say there's little flooding there.
.
.
On another point.....it's a weird coincidence that leftyy dissapeared from the blog at the exact time that the storm was passing by where STORMTOP lives. Hope he's okay. Seems like that area took the brunt of the storm.
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47. Gatorbait05
4:01 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Valence New Orleans was a US Navy port created be dredging swamp and creating landmass on that. Because of the point it was at (3 bodies of water). It became a major port for trade and gre thereafter.
46. AySz88
12:01 PM EDT on August 29, 2005
Valance: Yes, it was a swamp at first, then they built on it, and then it started sinking because of the environmental damage. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3204/02.html describes it, I think... *is starting to get his links all mixed up*
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45. kerigangirl
4:00 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
It lost it's punch so fast due to the dry pellets they were dropping in her as she got close to the shore.
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44. hugofran
4:01 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Last night, the eye began to weaken over shallow waters. That, combined with the weather front from the west really caused the storm to disorganize rather quickly. This storm is no dud, sadly many people will be killed, and there will be billions in property damage. I do agree that it could have been much worse. The forecasters were judging landfall on what they had to look at. Cat 5 yesterday evening, 175 mph winds, 904 mb. I donít think anyone would have predicted the rapid weakening that we are currently seeing.
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43. AySz88
12:00 PM EDT on August 29, 2005
Oops, I think I misread, there are some oil rigs at http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/ but those only give you rigs that have weather instruments and stations, I think.
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42. westernmob
3:55 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Here in Mobile, just a lot of tree damage. No major stuctural damage known here in Mobile proper. I am in Western Mobile County a mile from the regional airport. Looks like mostly tree damage.

WKRG Channel 5 says that the Highway 90 causeway is completely covered in water, and that Water Street in downtown mobile is completely covered.
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41. bkdelong
11:59 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
AySz88: Getting a "host not found" for that. The URL typed correctly?
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40. jxnkrock
3:58 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Hodgedog:
Orleans how about some linkage to these "stories" you are pushing out here?? Ive found no AP references to this hotel collapse you speak of.


Man, 77 has been throwing out unverified claims of death and destruction ever since i started reading this blog yesterday afternoon. He never posts links to his claims so please people, do not believe his BS.
39. Valence
3:58 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Perhaps someone can answer a question for me:

Every news source covering this storm has driven home the point that NO is below sea level. Every drop of water that falls there has to be pumped out, using the pumps and the levy system that was build around 1900. So it begs the question...how did the city get there in the first place? Wouldn't it have just been a swamp?
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38. AySz88
11:57 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
bkdelong: Experimental Oil Rig Impact Forecast
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37. Valence
3:52 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
icebar-

I agree, the news coverage of what Could happen in NO was appropriate. Im only concerned that the Nat'l coverage focused too much on that particular location.

I know that MS and AL were in the cone, but they way the storm was being talked about they may have had a false send of security. I hope the local coverage there stressed the need to take proper action, whether evac, shelter, or how to prepare your home.
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36. bkdelong
11:53 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
Does anyone have a map or GPS locations of oil rigs in the Gulf? I'd like to plot them on a map against the radar images.

Also, I've posted Google Earth/GPS locations of Weather Channel field reporters so you can "fly to" their locations while watching them on TV. Neat to see what the camera is pointing at.
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35. OHGamer
11:48 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
It is still probably wiser to err on the side of caution and prepare for the worst case scenario than to underplay the threat and end up caught in a direct hit completely unprepared. Katrina is a warning call for major urban areas like New Orleans that a strong hit can cause major damage, and a direct hit would indeed be catastrophic, and that the political will needs to be found to develop more efficient systems to deal with not only sheltering those who lack the means to escape on their own, but providing shelter so that evacuation routes do not have to become gridlocked parking lots.
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34. AySz88
11:52 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
Correction: WWLTV live winds are back down. >.<
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33. WSI
3:47 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
All you people saying that the storm was hyped amaze me. These storms are unpredictable. It could have easily destroyed New Orleans. EASILY. Instead it wobbled slightly and the intensity decreased a little. JUST enough to avert the destruction as predicted. It probably has destroyed many parts of cities and towns along the coast. This storm is ALREADY in the record books and will probably break more records unfortunately. Lives were saved from people heeding the warnings about the potential this storm carried to the coastline. Nothing was hyped, and damage estimates haven't even started to be tallied. The storm isn't even over yet and you people are coming out of the woodwork saying people hyped the storm. If you stop, and look at the potential this storm had as it slammed into the coastline, you'll see. At that point I would expect the asinine posts about how hyped this storm was to stop.
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32. wpb05
3:45 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Bush just said he is going to authorize releases of oil from the Strategic Reserve
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31. Dosadi
3:47 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
O77- We're hoping for the best for you and your friend.

Any more word on the Oil platforms? I recall in the earlier (this AM) Dr. Masters thread something about losing contact with 26 platforms and another 24 listing - Is there a link to that information or further clarification?

Bloomberg.UK is suggesting releasing the strategic reserve is more than likely.

Link
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30. afs
3:44 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Guru... There's a whole lot of lucky people on the Gulf Coast today. I stayed up and was watching Katrina come into Louisiana. Katrina was a extremely powerful and dangerous until it hit that first tiny coastal island, and then the whole storm fell apart. It almost looked like the storm spun off and shifted around the island, and just sucked the life right out of it.

Never seen anything like it, but I'm awful relieved it happened.
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29. icebear7
3:47 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Guru does have a point. The last minute drop in strength will only encourage the attitude that the unthinkable will never happen.

that, i do agree with, but since that drop in strength was beyond human ability to predict, the weather professionals and news media should not be blamed as if they were crying wolf. NOBODY knew for sure, true, but i'm glad most people took actions to keep themselves safe
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28. Orleans77
3:47 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
AP

"This is a devastating hit _ we've got boats that have gone into buildings," Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said as he maneuvered around downed trees in the city. "What you're looking at is Camille II."
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27. BenBurch
3:45 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Orleans77 - I think your friend should be OK. The water is not extremely cold, so even if he needs to hold onto something and tread water he should make it. As I understand it, most deaths of people who are not pinned underwater come from hypothermia, and that should not be a factor here.
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26. AySz88
11:45 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
Correction: WWLTV real-time winds are back up.
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25. hodgedog
11:46 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
Orleans how about some linkage to these "stories" you are pushing out here?? Ive found no AP references to this hotel collapse you speak of.
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24. HurricaneGuru
3:45 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
I love duds too, but it was still -
touted as the mother of all storms. This was a dud in comparison to all the statements made regarding its destruction of New Orleans. All in all, I think in the future it will only make more people ignore calls for evacuation. We shall see the pros and cons of all the hype.

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23. MandyFSU
3:43 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
OH Orleans! I'm SO sorry... hope for the best though, honey. You can't be sure yet.
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22. Valence
3:44 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Guru does have a point. The last minute drop in strength will only encourage the attitude that the unthinkable will never happen.

Miami kept avoid a massive strike for serveral year. Then Adrew came by in 1992. Not enough people evactuated, figuring it would turn away. They were wrong.
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21. Orleans77
3:45 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
President Bush will announce today that he will authorize releases from the Strategic Oil Reserve
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20. icebear7
3:42 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
whatever guru
it certainly looked like it was going to be the worst case scenario, there was no point in pretending that it couldn't get that bad. prepare for the worst, hope for the best, may be cliche', but nonetheless it may have saved many lives, and each life out of the way of danger is worth all the nailbiting and hype
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19. AySz88
11:44 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
Yes HurricaneGuru, how you're calling it a "dud" almost before it's even half-over. Anything can still happen.
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18. Orleans77
3:44 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
thanks
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17. hodgedog
11:43 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
Guru you are a troll SHUTUP
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16. afs
3:36 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
I that's what you call a "dud," then I LOVE duds.

I was worried sick about the people in New Orleans. I don't know how Katrina disintegrated from a Cat 5 to a mid 3 as quickly as it did, but I'm incredibly relieved that it did.
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15. Valence
3:39 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
It looks like the MS coast is going to get the hardest hit from this storm. With all of the news focus on the potential damange to NO, i hope everyone in MS made the proper perperations to stay safe.

And while the city of NO has not received catastrophic damage, the flooding there will be immense. Im sure the water is coming over the leevies on the Lake Ponchatrain, so lets hope the hold up and dont suffer a break. The finger of LA will drastically reshaped thaks to Katrina. Lets hope the residents there got out and we dont have too much loss of life.

Storm sure of 22 feet reported near the LA/MS border.
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14. prttyeyez2002
3:39 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Keep praying 77..you know how cell service goes...your friend will be fine...shaken maybe but keep the faith. I'll keep ya'll in my thoughts and prayers.
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13. Orleans77
3:41 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
6 story hotel in Biloxi total collapse...per AP...

storm surge in Biloxi/Gulfpport estimated at 23 feet///per AP
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12. HurricaneGuru
3:37 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Nothing self-congratulatory about this statement at all.
It is a fact that there is some damage reported. But not what all the doomsday sayers will screaching about. Argue with my statement don't attack me personally. Does the below statement contain anything you can argue with?

Well, it was touted as the mother of all storms. This was a dud in comparison to all the statements made regarding its destruction of New Orleans. All in all, I think in the future it will only make more people ignore calls for evacuation. We shall see the pros and cons of all the hype.
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11. Orleans77
3:39 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
NO emergency management has fielded 622 calls from people trapped..they can not yet respond...

NO Radar is definitively out@!
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10. wxfan
3:38 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
Guru, you're an idiot. The devastation in NOLA is remarkably catastrophic. Sure, the worst that possibly could have happened probably did not, but hundreds of lives, if not thousands, are still at serious risk in NOLA and surrounding areas.
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9. AySz88
11:38 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
Some helpful links:

Four simultaneous local news feeds

Intermittent:WWLTV/KHOU webcast (from Baton Rouge) (Open in Windows Media Player)

Alternate: KHOU Server

CURRENTLY DOWN:New Orleans Long-Range Radar Loop (Alternate Presentation)
CURRENTLY DOWN:NO Radar Analyzed on Wunderground (for tornadoes, etc.)

VORTEX Recon Decoder (Raw)

GOES Ch.4 IR Loop (Updates every 30 min)
GOES-12 Interactive Map (Updates every 15ish min; set options then click hurricane in picture to animate)

Lake Pontchartrain & Area Water Levels (1, 2, 3)
Near-Katrina Buoy Measurements

New Orleans Winds (click a site, then "Real-Time")
DOWN:(Direct link to real-time winds at WWL-TV station)
(Direct link to St. Charles Parish DEP: Hahnville, Louisiana)

OLD:Projected Flooding from Katrina
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8. Orleans77
3:39 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
now a report of a tornado in downtown biloxi....tocuhdown confirmed
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7. prttyeyez2002
3:37 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
I hear ya ice...she definitely proved she was no DUD !!!
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6. Orleans77
3:33 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
im back...

in my heart i fear my friend is gone....

UPDATES...

East New Orleans is under 10 feet of water and rising...

French Quarter has some flooding...

Rest of city is dry although some spillage is now occuring from lake side..

100's of people are on their roofs in the southeast part of LA, awaiting rescue...rescuers will not reach them for hours...

Downtonw Mobile is under 10 feet of water...Mobile / Gulfport got hit very very hard...Many people trapped...

10% of NO structures completely destroyed...alot bettr than expected...French Quarter / Bourbon Street largely intact...

Mobile / Gulfrport - estimates of 50% complete structure failure....

The worst of it seems to have passed NO in winds...flooding is the unknown at this point...

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5. hugofran
3:30 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
The storm seems to be getting weaker by the hour. That is a very good sign! Still, there will be a lot of damage and flooding, but nothing compared to a Cat 5. The people down there are should thank God or the lucky stars that the storm weakened to a low 4 or high 3 before impact!
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4. sachmet
3:32 PM GMT on August 29, 2005
HurricaneGuru: It isn't over yet. Hold your self-congratulatory BS until it's all over. Especially if the damage reports coming in are just the tip of the actual damage occurring.
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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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