AT 700 AM CDT...1200Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE GUSTAV WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 24.7 NORTH...LONGITUDE 85.5 WEST OR ABOUT 375 MILES...
605 KM...SOUTHEAST OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.
GUSTAV IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 16 MPH...26 KM/HR...AND
THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS WITH
SOME DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED EXPECTED ON MONDAY. ON THIS TRACK...
GUSTAV WILL BE MOVING ACROSS THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO TODAY...AND
MAKE LANDFALL ON THE NORTHERN GULF COAST ON MONDAY.
REPORTS FROM AIR FORCE RESERVE AND NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT
INDICATE THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 120
MPH...195 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. GUSTAV IS A CATEGORY THREE
HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME RESTRENGTHENING IS
FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS...AND GUSTAV COULD REGAIN
CATEGORY FOUR STRENGTH LATER TODAY OR TONIGHT. FLUCTUATIONS IN
STRENGTH ARE LIKELY...BUT GUSTAV IS FORECAST TO REMAIN A MAJOR
HURRICANE UNTIL LANDFALL.
GUSTAV IS A LARGE TROPICAL CYCLONE. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND
OUTWARD UP TO 50 MILES...85 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL
STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 200 MILES...325 KM. THE NOAA
AUTOMATED STATION AT PULASKI SHOAL LIGHT FLORIDA RECENTLY REPORTED
2-MINUTE AVERAGE WINDS OF 51 MPH...81 KM/HR...WITH A GUST OF
60 MPH...96 KM/HR.
THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY THE AIR FORCE
HURRICANE HUNTER IS 960 MB...28.35 INCHES.
AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM SURGE OF 18 TO 25 FEET ABOVE NORMAL
TIDAL LEVELS IS EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER
OF GUSTAV CROSSES THE NORTHERN GULF COAST. A STORM SURGE OF 1 TO
3 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS IS POSSIBLE IN THE DRY TORTUGAS AS
GUSTAV PASSES TO ITS WEST.
GUSTAV IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO
12 INCHES OVER PORTION OF LOUISIANA...SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI AND
SOUTHERN ARKANSAS...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF UP TO 20
INCHES POSSIBLE THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING. ADDITIONAL RAINFALL
AMOUNTS OF ABOUT AN INCH ARE POSSIBLE OVER FLORIDA KEYS AND
ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE CENTRAL GULF COAST LATER
We are not going to Mobile, gas stations running out of gas and people going nuts like they do..rightly so...don't want to get caught with your pants down! Een though it is not projected to go in at Mobile, they are saying bands that will spawn tornado's will be coming through...so we are staying put. I am sad. Missing my nephews birthday. - Not meant to be though. Feeling very Eeyorish.
Hoping for safety for you and yours Edgar. Praying that something causes Gustav to dissipate some and just be a storm. Praying even.
Water threatens when natural barriers gone
By Maurice Tamman
NYT Regional Newspapers
Published: Monday, October 9, 2006 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 9, 2006 at 5:56 a.m.
Isle de Jean Charles, La. | Demen Naquin lifted his arms away from the sides of his electric wheelchair and gently, slowly, flapped them up and down.
"We knew a storm was coming when the big black birds with 6-foot wings came," he said in broken English.
"A frigatebird," said the 79-year-old former chief of the Beloxi-Chitimache-Choctaw tribe.
The French-tinged Native American and Cajun communities on the edge of the Louisiana delta have spent generations below most Americans' gaze and just above sea level. They made their living on the water while enjoying a detente with the cyclones that battered their fishing boats and buffeted their homes.
It didn't matter that Naquin and others "down the bayou" in Terrebonne Parish lived in one of the nation's three hurricane hot spots, where hurricanes have hit an average of once every seven years for the past century and a half.
Hurricanes blew, floods came. When it was over, they shoveled the mud from their homes and shrugged. They knew the Mississippi delta's vast marshes, swamps and hammocks blocked all but the worst storm surge coming off the Gulf of Mexico.
When the water receded, they climbed back into their shrimp and oyster boats and went back to work.
That has changed.
Today most of the natural barriers have gone. And the traditional communities along the bayou have become like the frigatebirds: a warning of what inland communities will face soon.
The communities here are dying as old-timers die out and people move away. Those who stay are being forced to raise their homes two stories off the ground as insurance from flooding.
The decline began nearly 100 years ago, when engineers blocked the Mississippi from flowing into the delta. Without the river's replenishing sediment, the delta started disappearing. Today, 20,000 acres a year sinks below the water.
Another 138,000 acres may be been lost just last year as a result of hurricanes Rita and Katrina, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey report.
"It's all completely wiped out," said Wenceslaus Billiot, Naquin's neighbor and brother-in-law. "If we get a 30-foot wave, there ain't nothing to stop it. Not like in the old day."
Forty yards from Naquin's and Billiot's front doors is water; in the 1960s it was land.
Today, fishermen catch black-tipped sharks where cows grazed in the 1960s.
While experts debate whether the sharks foretell the death of the delta and the communities that rely on the water for a living, the isolated communities on the fringes of the Louisiana bayou are barely clinging on. Their problems are a mishmash of economic and natural factors.
If nothing is done to repair the delta, the land Naquin and Billiot live on might also disappear below the water, a casualty of raging storms and human meddling.
The tribe has lived on Isle de Jean Charles, off Pointe au Chenes, near the end of solid land in Terrebonne, for about 150 years. When the two men were growing up, the island's houses only flooded during the very worst of storms.
A distant storm like Hurricane Rita, which passed offshore about 150 miles west last year, wouldn't have been a problem, they said. As Rita passed, however, the water rose a foot above Naquin's dining room table.
Now, he is moving across the street to a new home raised up two stories. It is his first concession to flooding.
Next door, Billiot has raised his house twice.
Other homeowners are clamoring to raise their older homes up to two stories, like the newest homes, and local businesses can't keep up.
"We've done 1,000 estimates since Rita," said Lori Pennison, who operates Barry's House Leveling with her husband.
The company is raising three homes a month and is fully booked for the next year.
"This is the worst it has ever been," she said. "That's why we need other house raisers."
The area's vulnerability to storms is apparent at almost every turn along the twisting roads that follow the bayous from Houma toward the Gulf of Mexico, through Chauvin southeast to Pointe au Chenes or southwest to Cocodrie.
Along Bayou Petit Caillou in Chauvin, Kenneth Lyons, 48, wades into the water to work on a 52-foot shrimp boat's rudder.
Technically, the boat is sitting in a dry dock hemmed in by the bayou on one side and a road on the other.
"At one time in the 1970s, I could work back here on dry land," he says.
Lyons drapes acetylene torch hoses over a shoulder and goes to work, cutting through a slab of 1-inch-thick steel to make a stabilizer for a rudder.
Sparks bounce of his hip-waders, and the torch's flame boils the water 2 feet below.
Eventually, he says, the sinking land and hurricanes will force all of the area's communities inland.
"The future isn't looking too bright."
Louisiana State University professor Ivor van Heerdon, who has studied hurricanes and the deltas of Louisiana for decades, said much of the Terrebonne Parish could disappear with one bad storm.
"Move Katrina 50 miles west and (the southern Mississippi River delta) totally sinks. It's all under water."
He still thinks the area can be saved if some of the Mississippi can be directed back into the delta, allowing its wetlands to rebuild.
Every two miles of healthy wetlands knocks down a storm surge by a foot, he said.
"What we need are armored levees to protect people, wetlands to protect the levees and barrier islands to protect the wetlands," he said.
Maurice Tamman writes for the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Fla.
the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port or LOOP--where America uploads approximately 1.2 million barrels of imports each day--is directly in the hurricane path; there is also a good bit of refining and other infrastructural damage in the models.
...The LOOP is an important piece of infrastructure, and it is right in the bullseye. A 20 mile left or right shift, and 10 or 15 knots of wind speed means the difference between days and months of repair/recovery time. NHC track is Bad for the LOOP; some tracks to the east are better (not so good for NOLA, though)....
LOOP is the only facility in the Gulf to unload VLCC tankers which carry over 2 million barrels of crude. They can in theory be "litered" by unloading onto smaller tankers that can make it into the Gulf Coast ports but this is very lenghty timing and the spare capacity of these smaller tankers is slim.
Nagin called it a hurricane of the century!?! What was Katrina, then?
I end today where this journey began - on August 29th, the date of the most catastrophic event I have ever experienced. Now here we are again, awaiting our fate with Hurricane Gustav (and perhaps Hanna). Many of us are evacuating early. This would otherwise be standard protocol, had Katrina not imbued the underlying fear that we may not be coming back (and that what we leave behind might perish).
In any case, it's been two months since I've updated the blog. I'd like to share some good news - we have moved in. I am truly grateful to all who have assisted along the way. Most recently, two friends A___ and I___ helped me move in early July; my neighbor John K. worked with me to install my appliances; and of course, the good folks at lowernine.org continue to lend a hand when needed.
I'll not make this entry long. I want to get it out before midnight. And photos say more than I ever could through writing. But since this will be my last blog entry, I do want to express my gratitude for this enlightening, challenging, confidence-building experience. A friend told me once, "Jump. And build your wings on the way down." Over the past year, I've proven to myself time and again that I can build my own wings. It feels really good.
On the flip side, my energy is now almost completely drained. And although I am proud of this accomplishment, I have no desire to plunge into it again. So, now I know for sure that I don't want to go into construction (but I am actually considering Architecture). I look around my still-unfinished-but-liveable house, and the small projects seem almost impossible. I know that I must take it one day at a time.
The other piece of really good news is that I've been selected for the 3rd round of Historic Grant funding! My long-time readers will remember my disappointment at not having been chosen for the 1st round. It seems more than serendipitous that I would be chosen now when I'm feeling that I can't do anymore.... if I believed in that sort of thing.
...Thanks for reading, y'all. Thanks for supporting me! Never forget how you/we rose into action in response to Katrina. Our humanity is the greatest weapon we have. Thanks again, y'all.
I haven't chased down all my old links on the loss of much of the natural barrier, the causes of that, and the various points of view on what to do about it, but here's a pretty good fast looked up link on some of the issues/complications of natural barrier rebuilding..