I have been locked into this blog since Floyd in '99, about 2 months after I moved to Daytona from Colorado. I worked until they kicked everyone off the barrier island, boarded my house up the next day, and then realized I couldn't leave because all the evac routes were gridlock and they were telling people to stay if they hadn't already left because it was better to be in a house with no roof than a car. I had no clue how lucky I was that he decided to turn and just give us a little "brush off", which was pretty scary even so.
I've been glued to the NOAA visible and IR loops all day, with NOLA on my mind, among other things. I'm going to throw out a COMPLETELY unscientific set of observations and conclusion and let the experts here throw darts at me while we see what's really going to happen with Rita.
To show how much I have learned from you guys and gals, I could tell as soon as I fired up the NOAA loops this morning that an eyewall replacement was going on. Couple of years ago an eyewall replacement to me would have probably meant cataract surgery. As has been pointed out several times today, by watching the forecasted track superimposed on the loops, it's obvious that Rita has been "cheating" the NHC all day by maybe 30-40 miles northeast every three hours.
Now my real question. As I look at the structure of the storm now, there appears to be a central area that is the storm proper, and then the outflow and surrounding "stuff" that is very extended in the northeast quadrant. When I overlay the ground radar on the visible, there are already some pretty severe squalls around Lake Ponchartrain. By using the very scientific method of measuring the "storm proper" with the cap of a pen lying on my desk, and assuming that this central area does not significantly change in size, the storm making landfall somewhere in the area between Lake Charles and Abbeville would put NOLA on the edge of this central area. I have read reports today that even 6 inches of rain could severely stress the repairs to the levees. Having lived through the tropical storm area of 5 hurricanes, 6 inches of rain is a joke, especially if it is already raining there now.
I hope this is not coming off as Chicken Littleism. I am merely taking my admittedly amateur level knowledge and drawing a certain conclusion. The best way to learn is to screw up, so please, if I am wrong, have at it. I want to be wrong on this, believe me. My tax dollars are at work there.
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