From Dr. Jeff Masters:
Katrina is due south of the Mississippi-Louisiana border, and moving northward at 15 mph. On this course, the western edge of the eyewall will pass some 20 miles to the east of New Orleans, sparing that city a catastrophic hit. As the eye passes east of the city later this morning, north winds of about 100 mph will push waters from Lake Pontchartrain up to the top of the levee protecting the city, and possibly breach the levee and flood the city. This flooding is will not cause the kind of catastrophe that a direct hit by the right (east) eyewall would have, with its 140 mph winds and 15-20 foot storm surge. New Orleans will not suffer large loss of life from Katrina.
[…] Katrina is not hitting at maximum intensity and is sparing New Orleans a direct hit, and although the damage will be incredible, it could have been much, much worse.
Maybe there’ll be a New Orleans to go back to after all. We can hope.
We’re continuing to accumulate useful and interesting links in Katrina, next post down.
John Houghton, who does disaster relief work, comments:
The major Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) are:
The Red Cross federal charter requires us to respond to the human needs in disasters, and is responsible for the majority of Emergency Support Function (ESF) 6 Mass Care in the Federal Response Plan, and usually shoulders most of the cost themselves (we accepted money from the feds last fall (after much soul searching), and will probably accept it for Katrina). While both the Army and the SBC are “Religions with Agendas”, for this they are deserving of support, even though they have their own funding sources.
The Red Cross is going to need money the most—to buy food, rent trucks, pay for diesel fuel. And while this is certainly the biggest disaster at the moment, we also need to keep responding to our everyday disasters—household fires, tornados, etc. and that takes money.
The Salvation Army helps with feeding and sheltering, and the Southern Baptists have several big mobile kitchens that will be feeding the folks hot meals in the Gulf Coast for weeks. Never underestimate the power of a hot meal (especially since we’ll be starting with Heater Meals and MREs).
Call your Red Cross, see if they need help answering phones, or stuffing envelopes, or bookeeping. If your’re able to leave home for three weeks, they might even want to train and recruit you to work in the field for this (not a usual thing, but this isn’t a usual disaster).