My parents have done what they can to protect their boat, which is just on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, and have motored back up the road to Baton Rouge, where they’re busy battening down the hatches.
If it does, the first thing that will happen is that the city will lose power to the pumping stations that keep the Pontchartrain, the Mississippi, and the Gulf of Mexico out. The city being six feet below sea level, the water’s coming in, one way or another. It’s likely that one or more levees will fail, exacerbating the process. And NOAA is predicting a
15-foot 20- to 25-foot storm surge, followed by 20-foot 20- to 40-foot waves.
It’s long been known in Louisiana that computer models have predicted that, should New Orleans be hit dead-on with a hurricane like this one, the city could likely wind up under ten feet of water.
My thoughts are with everybody there, and with my loved ones just up the road. Here’s hoping that all of you and yours are safe.
[UPDATE, 1.14 pm: More alarming imagery here. My mother told me on the phone this morning that she thought that this storm could change the coastline of Louisiana as we know it. It’s hard, seeing this, not to think she’s right.]
[UPDATE, 2.23 pm: CNN now says computer models are suggesting that a dead-on hit of Katrina on NOLA could leave the city under 30 feet of water. Not ten. Jesus.]