Back to previous post: The Word Made Visible

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Apocalypse deferred; likely damage merely “incredible”

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

August 29, 2005

Posted by Teresa at 12:59 AM *

Check-in pages: type in a quick comment to let people know you’re okay, and where you are.

Jim Macdonald’s page at SFF Net.

Patrick Connors’ check-in page.

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network has a web form for submitting names and addresses of people for whom a health and welfare check is desired; it says on the web page, “Your inquiry will be sent to the disaster area, where SATERN personnel will attempt to locate the person or persons about whom you are inquiring.”

Romance Writers of America check-in page.

craigslist>New Orleans>lost & found has been pressed into use as a check-in page.

(Thank you, Debra Doyle, for the SATERN and RWA links.)

Who’s good right now:

The Times-Picayune was hanging in there like a champ, but the last story I saw from them was about how they were having to evacuate to another location. (Signs of stress: They had a typo in their lead.) Let’s hope they reappear.

I’m leaving the New Orleans webcams in the links list, mostly because my heart isn’t yet up to the task of deleting them, but I doubt any of them are operational.

My current favorite source for what’s going on in New Orleans itself is the NOLA View weblog, a.k.a.

A local station, WWLTV, is continuing to update its website with local news reports, a text-only weblog, streaming video, and lots of pictures—if you can get to them.

For all the others feeling the brunt of Katrina, I can’t improve on the well-organized and constantly updated Wikipedia entry.

If you know of a good site, the comment thread’s right there.

Basic info and primary data:

Boing Boing and its readers have been collecting links to aerial and satellite images of the areas hit by Katrina.

Boing Boing has also been collecting reports of and links to phony Katrina aid scam websites. This was predictable; fraudulent victim-relief collection scams pop up like mushrooms any time there’s a major disaster.

NOAA/NWS’s National Hurricane Center website.

The National Weather Service Telecommunication Operations Center, the National Weather Service Forecast Office for New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and the NWS Nonprecipitation Warnings. Even the weather junkies amongst us have never seen the NWS use language like they’ve used tonight. It’s terrifying.

Wikipedia is doing a magnificent job of collecting and compiling information on Katrina.

New Orleans webcams. Some are down; others are still in operation.

More NOLA webcams.

Even more NOLA webcams. There’s some overlap from site to site.

Brian Robak has a spectacular collection of animated and still radar and satellite images.

A satellite image of New Orleans, for reference.

The concise New Orleans Hurricane Impact Study Area page, with assorted useful links, maps, and charts, including a shaded wireframe map of areas of New Orleans that are below sea level.

News compilers and knowledgeable watchers:

Jeff Masters’ extremely knowledgeable Weather Underground site.

Steve Gregory’s Weather Underground page.

Stormtrack: Frequent updates, bleakly humorous titles.

New Orleans Metroblog is collecting storm reports and substantial first-person accounts.

So is the NOLA View weblog.

MetaFilter is accumulating material as usual: much signal, much noise.

Insomnia is collecting storm reports at his Live Journal.

Background articles

Hurricane Risk for New Orleans: one of the two prescient articles everyone’s quoting.

Chris Mooney’s Thinking Big about Hurricanes: the other prescient and much-quoted article.

And another bit from Chris Mooney.

“Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? ‘Times-Picayune’ Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues” by Will Bunch, in Editor & Publisher. A very strong article which lays out Bush & Co.’s consistent policy of stripping funding from levee maintenance and hurricane preparedness in the Gulf Coast area in order to reallocate those funds to the Department of Homeland Security and the war in Iraq.

An old Making Light post about New Orleans’ vulnerability.

Popular Mechanics published an article on what could happen if New Orleans gets hit by a Cat. 5 hurricane. The article might have gotten more attention if it hadn’t been published 9/11/01.

Charlie Stross on The potential cost of Katrina, and its impact on the American economy.

Damage from Katrina stuns Troops in Iraq.

Comments on Katrina:
#1 ::: Richard Parker ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 01:45 AM:

By dropping an end-quote, you appear to have conflated the links to Jeff Masters's and Steve Gregory's Weather Underground pages.

#2 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:53 AM:

There seems to be some kind of markup error with this post on your Live Journal feed, btw. (Could be a temp glitch, but thought you should know.)

#3 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:54 AM:

Whoops. Hadn't seen Richard Parker's comment--it's probably caused by the same thing.

#4 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 04:01 AM:

Also, the satelite image site doesn't allow image linking. You can go to the satelite image page and then pick New Orleans.

#5 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:35 AM:

There is an interesting occasional blurriness to the French Quarter cam that I think translates to when gusts hit.

#6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:38 AM:

Markup error fixed.

#7 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:58 AM:

I've received my travelling orders, fly to Houston today, then overland to Points South and East by available transportation. The Red Cross has a partnership with HumVee owners, this will probably be useful over the next couple of weeks. I've been recruited for Response Technology, so I'll have some computer access and may have some sitting-around time for updates. Don't count on it, though.
The sun is coming up, time to get packing. And return 13 library books.
Someone keep an eye on Tropical Depression 13 for me?

#8 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:08 AM:

High tide on the Louisiana coast seems to have been in the 4:30 - 6:30 AM range. According to, New Orleans is reporting 68 mph winds with much higher gusts, whereas Empire, LA (on the coast), seems to be reporting 12 mph winds. I wonder if thet is because the reporting equipment is knocked out or whether Empire is in the rather big eye now.

#9 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:33 AM:

I talked to my aunt last night. She lives in a small town in eastern Mississippi, about 190 miles from the coast; they were anticipating the storm to still be a category 1 hurricane when it reached them. Here in Nashville, we have tropical storm warnings for tomorrow. We agreed we were grateful all the same; after all, we weren't stuck in New Orleans. She did her medical training at Charity Hospital there, and was contemplating, with horror, what working there this week was going to be like.

#10 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:37 AM:

I hear from David in the other room that Bill Senior in Ft. Lauderdale reports that his house has not had electricity since last Thursday. The heat index is going up to 106 there today.

#11 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 08:09 AM:

The NO web cams seem to have gone down about 6:19 local time in a bunch, suggesting that the power went out.

#12 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 08:33 AM:

Sorry about the glitches. That's what I get for posting quickly that late at night.

#13 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:07 AM:

The Houston alt/rock station is taking calls from people who've been on cell phones with relatives who're holed up in NO. The owner of the Crowne Plaza on Bourbon and Canal says he just lost power a little while ago and is now running on generators, but there's no flooding yet. He has some minor roof damage right now. People in the Superdome say the same thing... small roof leaks, no flooding yet.

#14 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:30 AM:

It looks as though the centre will pass east of New Orleans and be somewhere close to the border with Mississippi.

And a levee breach on the Industrial Canal at Tennessee Street.

#15 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:42 AM:

The TV feed over the internet has broken up badly. I've found Tennessee Street on Google Earth, and it's on the east side of a canal linking the river and the lake, the wrong side for a breach to affect central New Orleans.

#16 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:57 AM:

Reports now from the Hyatt Regency -- lots of windows breaking and showering glass into the atrium.

Lost power about 06:30.

No mention of casualties.

#17 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:09 PM:

It would be a good idea to mention that if you want to volunteer DO NOT pack up and head south! If you have the skills and/or experience needed, contact your local Red Cross or other relief agencies to join a coordinated team. If you donít have the skills and/or experience, your showing up causes MANY more problems than it can solve. The area has plenty of willing bodies available already, homeless ones that have to be fed, etc. Donít add to bad logistics for good reasons.

If you CAN volunteer but donít have the skills and/or experience and/or canít go there, call your local relief agencies anyway. Those that are sending teams will have some staffing shortages for their local operations, jobs that donít require S&R or disaster relief experience.

#18 ::: Bill Shunn ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:41 PM:

Josh Benton has created a check-in site at

#19 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:04 PM:

Via a discussion at Peg Kerr's blog:
A little article discussing how money for finishing and fitting the levees was filtered away to the war in Iraq. Walter Maestri, he who is oft quoted in the prescient articles, has a few quotes in there as well.

#20 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:41 PM:

I hope, when this all ends, I have a chance to buy Walter Maestri a beer. He sounds like a remarkable individual. From a few hours ago:

The normally unflappable Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Director Walter Maestri broke into tears as he broadcast a call to help for anyone who could offer food or water to officials at the parish's emergency operations center in Marrero.
This comes from New Orleans local news, so not much we can do in the immediate.

#21 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 04:59 PM:

Have y'all seen this map yet? It's a super cool use of the Google Maps technology--you can add markers to the map of New Orleans to report on the status of various areas of the city.

#22 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 05:17 PM:

From today's Times-Picayune:

"New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said Wednesday there are likely thousands dead in the city from Hurricane Katrina and the resulting flood.
"We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water," and other people dead in attics, Nagin said. Asked how many, he said: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands."
Nagin estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people remained in New Orleans, a city of nearly half a million people. He said 14,000 to 15,000 a day could be evacuated."

There's another check-in forum at

An estimate somewhere between 50 and 100 thousand people leaves an awfully big margin of error.

#23 ::: d ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 02:13 PM:

Moveon has set up a system for folks to offer free housing to katrina refugees, folks in the southeast are most urgently needed:

#24 ::: Zed ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:00 PM:

In the NOLA Craigslist personal ads, altruistic men are offering shelter to hot refugees (well, those of whom have computers, power, Internet access and the free time to cruise Craigslist.) Many of the ads in the linked MeFi post have been deleted, but there are new ones.

#25 ::: Charity ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:10 PM:

Via Caitlin R Kiernan's blog, this article? op/ed? about the possible death toll, tough choices, and the uselesness of pointing fingers:
Pompeii on Ole Miss: Facing Katrina's Toll, Fully

#26 ::: Andrew Gray ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:05 PM:

A couple of rather demonstrative photographs, from the USAF via Usenet:

Satellite photograph, night of 27 Sept 2003
Satellite photograph, night of 31 Aug 2005

(accompanying story; yellow is city lights and fires)

#27 ::: Glen Blankenship ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 06:29 PM:

Better than satellite photos:

Google Earth users:

NOAA Cessna aircraft have taken hi-res photos of NOLA and nearby coastal areas.

Go to for links to the .kmz placemark files. Open the placemarks, and click on the placemark nearest your particular area of interest. The popup will then display a link to download the 4k x 4k overlay image files.

These are very LARGE files. Don't try to open too many of them at once.

The alignment of the overlays is a bit rough. You may want to right-click the overlay and select "edit" so you can tweak the alignment yourself.

These are very high-res images, capable of determining extent-of-damage for individual addresses.

I'm a moderately experienced aerial-recon interpreter - if anyone has any particular questions about what they're seeing in these photos, let me know.

#28 ::: Glen Blankenship ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 06:30 PM:

Also, Google Maps online has added a DigitalGlobe post-flood satellite-image layer. Just zoom in on the NOLA area, and click the red "Katrina" button that appears.

#29 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:08 AM:

Discussion of hurricane intensity and global climate change, from experts, along with appallingly insensitive comments.

#30 ::: Serge is pretty sure there is spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2007, 04:17 AM:

Spam? (Being cautious about saying so after last goofup.)

#31 ::: P J Evans sees probable spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 03:22 PM:

At least, it's irrelevant to the thread, and way past time.

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.