New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina

I don't know why, but Hurricane Katrina and its impact on New Orleans is very fascinating to me. I went to bed last night and Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane (for more information on hurricane categories, click here). I woke up this morning and it was a Category 5 hurricane. Here is an image of the storm:

They were talking about how New Orleans is below sea level. It is also surrounded on multiple sides by significant water. Here is a Google Map. Here is a NASA picture on Wikipedia. Here is a topo map from terraserver. This means that every drop of water in New Orleans has to be pumped out. I started to do some research and thinking about this. If I were in New Orleans, my big worry would be the pumps failing. If they loose power. If they get flooded and cannot keep up. If I were a journalist in New Orleans, I would find one of these pumping stations and report from there.

But this got me wondering what kind of pumps they used and how many they had. It took me a bit of research, so here is what I found out. Currently, the pumps they use are Wood Screw Pumps (don't bother googling for screw pumps…you won't get any information on these). These pumps are more like power assisted syphons. The best site I found was this one. If you want a good description of the pumps, scroll all the way to the bottom for a good diagram.

These pumps appear to have a very good record and can pump a TON of water. If they hold up, I think they will do ok. But, if I were a reporter, I would still broadcast from one. Imagine the picture you could get.

This afternoon after church, I watched Fox News and the Weather Channel while surfing on the internet. I came across this site talking about the "worst case scenario" for New Orleans. Basically, this storm fits the bill.

New Orleans has already issued an evacuation order. Here is a link of the evacuation plan from the city. They have also opened up the SuperDome as a shelter. I have mixed feelings about all this. If I lived in New Orleans and my house were above sea level, I would stay. I would have my house strengthened and reinforced so I could stay. I would board up the windows, hunker down, and ride it out. Here is why:

1. Have you seen the roads? They are parking lots. I would stay at home because, as scary as it would be, it would be so much worse to be trapped in a car
2. Have you thought what would happen if that many people got scared and started a riot in the SuperDome? How about if the structure starts to have problems, but they–the goverment–won't let you out. I would rather not have to worry about other people.

Something else….if I lived in an area where this could happen, I would have supplies on hand at my house to board up everything. There is no way I would go to the storm to have to go to the store. Imagine how much they would charge.

Well, I guess we can only watch and pray for the people down there. Remember, God is God and is in control.

Oh, before I quit writing, here is a collection of other links I found that may be of interest:

BTW, where do I sign up for Jim Cantore (the Weather Channel guy) or a news reporter who gets to go to all these places? That would be an awesome job!

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