PDA

View Full Version : New Orleans Facing more Flooding from Rita



Pirschjaeger
09-21-2005, 08:24 AM
NEW ORLEANS - As rain from Hurricane Rita threatened to once again flood the city, the Army Corps of Engineers was racing to patch New Orleans' fractured levee system while residents were forced to decide yet again whether to stay or go.

Forecasters said the storm that swiped Florida on Tuesday could strengthen to a Category 4 and hit Texas by the end of the week. But a slight turn to the right was possible and engineers feared additional rain could swamp the city's levees.

The Army Corps of Engineers said New Orleans levees can only handle up to 6 inches of rain and a storm surge of 10 to 12 feet. Early Wednesday, Rita was a Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds.

"The protection is very tenuous at best," said Dave Wurtzel, the Corps official responsible for repairing the 17th Street Canal levee, whose huge breach during Katrina caused the worst of the floods.

Mayor Ray Nagin estimated that 400 to 500 residents were left in the city. The city plans to start to re-enforce the evacuation order Wednesday, he said. He did not give specifics on how the order will be enforced.

To people who refuse to leave, Nagin had this message: "We're all adults. We really don't want to take people out by gunpoint. We hope they see the threat... and obey the law."

The federal government's top official in the city, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, said the preparations in and around New Orleans included 500 buses for evacuation and enough water and military meals for 500,000 people.

"We are praying that the hurricane dissipates or that it weakens," said Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who declared a state of emergency. "This state can barely stand what happened to it."

In anticipation of another hurricane, the Corps drove a massive metal barrier across the 17th Street Canal bed to prevent a storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain from swamping New Orleans again.

Government engineers and private contractors also worked around the clock across New Orleans to repair the damage to the system of pumps, concrete floodwalls, earthen berms and canals that protect the below-sea-level city.

In addition, the corps had 800 giant sandbags weighing 6,000 to 15,000 pounds on hand just in case, and ordered 2,500 more to shore up low spots and plug any new breaches.

The scramble comes amid new questions about the city's flood-protection system. While the Army Corps has said flooding resulted because Katrina's storm surge exceeded what the barriers were designed to protect, investigations by The Washington Post and The New York Times on Wednesday quoted experts saying faulty design and inadequate construction played more of a factor.

Meteorologists also have questioned whether New Orleans got the full brunt of Katrina's Category 4 power, as the Corps has maintained. Both newspapers cited researchers arguing that storm surges didn't cascade over the floodwalls.

Rita's renewed threat to the levees forced the mayor to suspend the phased reopening of the city. In some areas where bars, restaurants and shops were opening their doors for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, people were boarding up windows and getting ready to leave town again.

"The ground's saturated, and a lot of the storm drains are clogged up with garbage," Frank Wills said as he packed up to leave his 150-year-old Creole cottage in uptown New Orleans. "If we get much at all, I think you'll see flooding where you never saw it before."

Even residents who have already been evacuated once faced the prospect of being uprooted again. At the Cajun Dome in Lafayette, emergency officials arranged to take the 1,000 refugees from the New Orleans area out on buses if Rita tracks north.

"Nobody here even wants to hear the word 'hurricane' right now," said Carlette Ragas, who has not been back to her home on Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, since Katrina.

The call for another evacuation of New Orleans came after repeated warnings from top federal officials, including President Bush, that the city was not yet safe because of the lack of full electricity, drinkable water and 911 emergency service.

Nagin ordered residents who had slipped back into still-closed parts of the city to leave immediately. He also urged everyone already settled back into Algiers, the only neighborhood now open to returning residents, to be ready to evacuate as early as Wednesday.

President Bush made his fifth trip to the Hurricane Katrina zone on Tuesday to meet with business and political leaders in Gulfport, Miss., and received a briefing in New Orleans on preparations for Hurricane Rita.

Bush also appeared with Nagin amid tensions between the mayor and Allen over who is in charge, and conflicting information on whether people should come or go. At one point this week, Nagin said Allen apparently regarded himself as "the new crowned federal mayor of New Orleans."

At a news conference later Tuesday, all appeared forgiven. "We may not always agree, but we have one mission, and that is to bring New Orleans back," Nagin said, hugging the admiral and presenting him with a "I (heart) N.O." T-shirt.

The process of recovering bodies and searching for survivors continued Tuesday. In one house in the Mid-City neighborhood, officials found both.

Rescue workers said John and Leola Lyons, both 72, stayed together through Katrina's howling winds and floods that filled their one-story house with 18 inches of water. Even after she died, he stayed.

Federal agents finally broke down the door and found John Lyons and his wife's remains, three weeks and a day after the storm.

"We have half a happy ending," said emergency medical technician Christopher Keller. "That's pretty good these days."

___

Associated Press Writers Mary Foster and Cain Burdeau in New Orleans, Brett Martel in Lafayette, La., and Stacey Plaisance in Baton Rouge, La., contributed to this report.

Pirschjaeger
09-21-2005, 08:24 AM
NEW ORLEANS - As rain from Hurricane Rita threatened to once again flood the city, the Army Corps of Engineers was racing to patch New Orleans' fractured levee system while residents were forced to decide yet again whether to stay or go.

Forecasters said the storm that swiped Florida on Tuesday could strengthen to a Category 4 and hit Texas by the end of the week. But a slight turn to the right was possible and engineers feared additional rain could swamp the city's levees.

The Army Corps of Engineers said New Orleans levees can only handle up to 6 inches of rain and a storm surge of 10 to 12 feet. Early Wednesday, Rita was a Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds.

"The protection is very tenuous at best," said Dave Wurtzel, the Corps official responsible for repairing the 17th Street Canal levee, whose huge breach during Katrina caused the worst of the floods.

Mayor Ray Nagin estimated that 400 to 500 residents were left in the city. The city plans to start to re-enforce the evacuation order Wednesday, he said. He did not give specifics on how the order will be enforced.

To people who refuse to leave, Nagin had this message: "We're all adults. We really don't want to take people out by gunpoint. We hope they see the threat... and obey the law."

The federal government's top official in the city, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, said the preparations in and around New Orleans included 500 buses for evacuation and enough water and military meals for 500,000 people.

"We are praying that the hurricane dissipates or that it weakens," said Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who declared a state of emergency. "This state can barely stand what happened to it."

In anticipation of another hurricane, the Corps drove a massive metal barrier across the 17th Street Canal bed to prevent a storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain from swamping New Orleans again.

Government engineers and private contractors also worked around the clock across New Orleans to repair the damage to the system of pumps, concrete floodwalls, earthen berms and canals that protect the below-sea-level city.

In addition, the corps had 800 giant sandbags weighing 6,000 to 15,000 pounds on hand just in case, and ordered 2,500 more to shore up low spots and plug any new breaches.

The scramble comes amid new questions about the city's flood-protection system. While the Army Corps has said flooding resulted because Katrina's storm surge exceeded what the barriers were designed to protect, investigations by The Washington Post and The New York Times on Wednesday quoted experts saying faulty design and inadequate construction played more of a factor.

Meteorologists also have questioned whether New Orleans got the full brunt of Katrina's Category 4 power, as the Corps has maintained. Both newspapers cited researchers arguing that storm surges didn't cascade over the floodwalls.

Rita's renewed threat to the levees forced the mayor to suspend the phased reopening of the city. In some areas where bars, restaurants and shops were opening their doors for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, people were boarding up windows and getting ready to leave town again.

"The ground's saturated, and a lot of the storm drains are clogged up with garbage," Frank Wills said as he packed up to leave his 150-year-old Creole cottage in uptown New Orleans. "If we get much at all, I think you'll see flooding where you never saw it before."

Even residents who have already been evacuated once faced the prospect of being uprooted again. At the Cajun Dome in Lafayette, emergency officials arranged to take the 1,000 refugees from the New Orleans area out on buses if Rita tracks north.

"Nobody here even wants to hear the word 'hurricane' right now," said Carlette Ragas, who has not been back to her home on Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, since Katrina.

The call for another evacuation of New Orleans came after repeated warnings from top federal officials, including President Bush, that the city was not yet safe because of the lack of full electricity, drinkable water and 911 emergency service.

Nagin ordered residents who had slipped back into still-closed parts of the city to leave immediately. He also urged everyone already settled back into Algiers, the only neighborhood now open to returning residents, to be ready to evacuate as early as Wednesday.

President Bush made his fifth trip to the Hurricane Katrina zone on Tuesday to meet with business and political leaders in Gulfport, Miss., and received a briefing in New Orleans on preparations for Hurricane Rita.

Bush also appeared with Nagin amid tensions between the mayor and Allen over who is in charge, and conflicting information on whether people should come or go. At one point this week, Nagin said Allen apparently regarded himself as "the new crowned federal mayor of New Orleans."

At a news conference later Tuesday, all appeared forgiven. "We may not always agree, but we have one mission, and that is to bring New Orleans back," Nagin said, hugging the admiral and presenting him with a "I (heart) N.O." T-shirt.

The process of recovering bodies and searching for survivors continued Tuesday. In one house in the Mid-City neighborhood, officials found both.

Rescue workers said John and Leola Lyons, both 72, stayed together through Katrina's howling winds and floods that filled their one-story house with 18 inches of water. Even after she died, he stayed.

Federal agents finally broke down the door and found John Lyons and his wife's remains, three weeks and a day after the storm.

"We have half a happy ending," said emergency medical technician Christopher Keller. "That's pretty good these days."

___

Associated Press Writers Mary Foster and Cain Burdeau in New Orleans, Brett Martel in Lafayette, La., and Stacey Plaisance in Baton Rouge, La., contributed to this report.

Pirschjaeger
09-21-2005, 08:30 AM
Let's hope for the best.

Fritz

TheGozr
09-21-2005, 09:43 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Bearcat99
09-21-2005, 05:17 PM
AS of this moment Rita is a Cat5 and headed for Texas.

Pirschjaeger
09-21-2005, 11:20 PM
GALVESTON, Texas - Gaining strength with frightening speed, Hurricane Rita swirled toward the Gulf Coast a Category 5, 175-mph monster Wednesday as more than 1.3 million people in Texas and Louisiana were sent packing on orders from authorities who learned a bitter lesson from Katrina.

"It's scary. It's really scary," Shalonda Dunn said as she and her 5- and 9-year-old daughters waited to board a bus arranged by emergency authorities in Galveston. "I'm glad we've got the opportunity to leave. ... You never know what can happen."

With Rita projected to hit Texas by Saturday, Gov. Rick Perry urged residents along the state's entire coast to begin evacuating. And New Orleans braced for the possibility that the storm could swamp the misery-stricken city all over again.

Galveston, low-lying parts of Corpus Christi and Houston, and mostly emptied-out New Orleans were under mandatory evacuation orders as Rita sideswiped the Florida Keys and began drawing energy with terrifying efficiency from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters said Rita could be the most intense hurricane on record ever to hit Texas, and easily one of the most powerful ever to plow into the U.S. mainland. Category 5 is the highest on the scale, and only three Category 5 hurricanes are known to have hit the U.S. mainland €" most recently, Andrew, which smashed South Florida in 1992.

The U.S. mainland has never been hit by both a Category 4 and a Category 5 in the same season. Katrina, at one point became a Category 5 storm, weakened slightly to a Category 4 hurricane just before coming ashore.

Government officials eager to show they had learned their lessons from the sluggish response to Katrina sent in hundreds of buses to evacuate the poor, moved out hospital and nursing home patients, dispatched truckloads of water, ice and ready-made meals, and put rescue and medical teams on standby. An Army general in Texas was told to be ready to assume control of a military task force in Rita's wake.

"We hope and pray that Hurricane Rita will not be a devastating storm, but we got to be ready for the worst," President Bush said in Washington.

Late Wednesday, Rita was centered about 570 miles east-southeast of Galveston and was moving west near 9 mph. Forecasters predicted it would come ashore along the central Texas coast between Galveston and Corpus Christi. Hurricane-force winds extended up to 70 miles from the center of the storm.

But with its breathtaking size €" tropical storm-force winds extending 370 miles across €" practically the entire western end of the U.S. Gulf Coast was in peril, and even a slight rightward turn could prove devastating to the fractured levees protecting New Orleans.

In the Galveston-Houston-Corpus Christi area, about 1.3 million people were under orders to get out, in addition to 20,000 or more along with the Louisiana coast. Special attention was given to hospitals and nursing homes, three weeks after scores of sick and elderly patients in the New Orleans area drowned in Katrina's floodwaters or died in the stifling heat while waiting to be rescued.

Military personnel in South Texas started moving north, too. Schools, businesses and universities were also shut down. Some sporting events were canceled.

Galveston was a virtual ghost town by mid-afternoon Wednesday. In neighborhoods throughout the island city, the few people left were packing the last of their valuables and getting ready to head north.

Helicopters, ambulances and buses were used to evacuate 200 patients from Galveston's only hospital. And at the Edgewater Retirement Community, a six-story building near the city's seawall, 200 elderly residents were not given a choice.

"They either go with a family member or they go with us, but this building is not safe sitting on the seawall with a major hurricane coming," said David Hastings, executive director. "I have had several say, `I don't want to go,' and I said, `I'm sorry, you're going.'"

Galveston, a city of 58,000 on a coastal island 8 feet above sea level, was the site of one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history: an unnamed hurricane in 1900 that killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people and practically wiped the city off the map.

The last major hurricane to strike the Houston area was Category-3 Alicia in 1983. It flooded downtown Houston, spawned 22 tornadoes and left 21 people dead.

In Houston, the state's largest city and home to the highest concentration of Katrina refugees, the area's geography makes evacuation particularly tricky. While many hurricane-prone cities are right on the coast, Houston is 60 miles inland, so a coastal suburban area of 2 million people must evacuate through a metropolitan area of 4 million people where the freeways are often clogged under the best of circumstances.

Mayor Bill White urged residents to look out for more than themselves.

"There will not be enough government vehicles to go and evacuate everybody in every area," he said. "We need neighbor caring for neighbor."

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt issued a stern warning to anyone staying behind that looting would not be tolerated and anyone caught stealing after the storm would be prosecuted.

At the Galveston Community Center, where 1,500 evacuees had been put on school buses to points inland, another lesson from Katrina was put into practice: To overcome the reluctance of people to evacuate without their pets, they were allowed to bring them along in crates.

"It was quite a sight," Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said. "We were able to put people on with their dog crates, their cat crates, their shopping carts. It went very well."

But Thomas warned late Wednesday that the city was nearly out of buses. She said those left on the island would have to find a way off or face riding out a storm that is "big enough to destroy part of the island, if not a great part of the county."

City Manager Steve LeBlanc said the storm surge could reach 50 feet. Galveston is protected by a seawall that is only 17 feet tall. More than 180 police officers were expected to stay behind to guard the city, along with 117 firefighters.

Rita approached as the death toll from Katrina passed the 1,000 mark €" to 1,036 €" in five Gulf Coast states. The body count in Louisiana alone was put at 799, most found in the receding floodwaters of New Orleans.

The Army Corps of Engineers raced to fortify the city's patched-up levees for fear the additional rain could swamp the walls and flood the city all over again. The Corps said New Orleans' levees can only handle up to 6 inches of rain and a storm surge of 10 to 12 feet.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin estimated only 400 to 500 people remained in the vulnerable east bank areas of the city. They, too, were ordered to evacuate. But only a few people lined up for the evacuation buses provided. Most of the people still in the city were believed to have their own cars.

"I don't think I can stay for another storm," said Keith Price, a nurse at New Orleans' University Hospital who stayed through Katrina and had to wade to safety through chest-deep water. "Until you are actually in that water, you really don't know how frightening it is."

Rita also forced some Katrina refugees to flee a hurricane for the second time in 3 1/2 weeks. More than 1,000 refugees who had been living in the civic center in Lake Charles, near the Texas state line, were being bused to shelters farther north.

"We all have to go along with the system right now, until things get better," said Ralph Russell of the New Orleans suburb of Harvey. "I just hope it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

Crude oil prices rose again on fears that Rita would smash into key oil installations in Texas and the gulf. Hundreds of workers were evacuated from offshore oil rigs. Texas, the heart of U.S. crude production, accounts for 25 percent of the nation's total oil output.

Rita is the 17th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, making this the fourth-busiest season since record-keeping started in 1851. The record is 21 tropical storms in 1933. The hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

fordfan25
09-22-2005, 01:00 AM
id like to know why were getting hit with so many and at such high power these past few years. im 28 and lived in south florida till i was about 14 and iv lived hear in north florida sence. i can say that this past few years have been the worst i can ever remember. its what 3 or 4 years streght we have been hit with 3 and 4 hurrcains in the same sesion. seems strange to me. i mean we would normaly see a couple of TS and maby a hurrican but this is crazy. like something out of a bad movie.

Lucius_Esox
09-22-2005, 10:12 AM
On British Tv today they showed a computer graphic of the Galverston area simulating a category 3 Hurricane,,, underwater,, most of it http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

This at the moment is a cat 5,, good god!!

They also said that Hurricanes go in 20yr cycles and that at the moment it is "high" time, meaning right in the middle of the worst period.

They then went on to say that a lot of a Hurricanes strength is derived from water temps, higher being responsible for stronger Hurricanes..

They then went on to talk about global warming http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

Obviousley I know not a lot about Hurricanes and the prog could have been scaremongering for ratings. But with my limited knowledge it does seem statistically improbable vis a vis the past frequency of cat 5 Hurricanes.


At least this time it seems something is being done about it in time!!!

Good luck to the people of the area http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Zyzbot
09-22-2005, 10:19 AM
http://www.weathermatrix.net/tropical/cat5storms.htm

According to this list there were two Category 5 storms in 1960 and two more in 1961 so perhaps they do come in long cycles.

Pirschjaeger
09-22-2005, 10:58 AM
They do come in cycles and this is well known and well documented. Also, like what was said two posts ago, this is the high point of the cycle. Expect next year to be bad also.

Besides the hurricane cycles we have another cycle at play. This is global warming. The global warning cycle is much slower than the hurricane cycles. IIRC, the global warming cycle is about 100 years. At this time, we are still in the rising temps of the warming cycle.

During the high point of the global warming the weather becomes more violent due to the higher temps. Add this to the high point of the hurricane cycle and you get even stronger storms.

Let's hope this year is the high point of the combination.

Fritz