(Senior Storm Chaser)
Thu May 23 2002 08:25 PM
Re: Evacuations

Tough call. I'm roughly 80 miles north of the Gulf, but in a basin surrounded by Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. There are all kinds of surge and flooding predictions. In New Orleans and Metairie, we are relatively safe in a Cat-1, Cat-2 or fast moving Cat-3 scenario. A slow Cat-3, Cat-4 or Cat-5 can be castasrophic here. There's nowhere to pump the water if it's already topped the levees. You'd just have to let nature take its course and dry up over time. I might leave if a direct threat of a Cat-4 is upon us. Our worst scenarios on the East Bank (north bank) of the Mississippi are more or less a storm coming up from the SW or SE and passing just south of the City. Either way, all the water piles up and over the southern shores of Lake Pontchartrain and into the city (due to the north winds). Most of my neighbors evacuated for Georges, but I had the beer iced up. I kicked back and hung out at home. There were reports of a 4-8 hour trek 80 miles up the I-10 to B.R. Then when the storm didn't hit, it was a nightmare trying to get back into the city. Again, I chilled. I predicted we'd get 50mph winds and a 1/4" of rain - both came true. I would ride out a 4 if I knew my wife and kids would leave ahead of me without badgering me to come along. So it's a definite if a 1, 2 or 3 is heading this way; a maybe if a 4 is heading this way and a very serious doubt if a 5 was coming. Local Fox-8 did a Weathering the Storm (they do one every year) back in 98 or 99 that focued on what a Cat-5 would actually be like here. It was pretty scary. The idea of sustained hurricane force winds 12 hours prior to landfall is a little too much for my psyche. Maybe a terrified hour or two would be worth it, but not 20+. That's just insane. Kudos to Frank P for enlightening me on some of the other issues surrounding a Cat-5 because he's the resident forum member with experience.


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