As this is written the worst Carribean hurricane to date is aiming at New Orleans. This is the Gulf Coast equivalent of The Big One that is expected in California, except that this is a storm whereas that will be an earthquake. After dodging this bullet season after season, it seems the Big One, barring unforeseen circumstances, is about to happen. We will know tomorrow the magnitude of the disaster.
Mixter's Mix points to an AP story...
Catastrophic. Environmental disaster of biblical proportions. New Orleans may turn into a giant cesspool.
When Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans on Monday, it could turn one of America's most charming cities into a vast cesspool tainted with toxic chemicals, human waste and even coffins released by floodwaters from the city's legendary cemeteries.
Experts have warned for years that the levees and pumps that usually keep New Orleans dry have no chance against a direct hit by a Category 5 storm.
That's exactly what Katrina was as it churned toward the city. With top winds of 165 mph and the power to lift sea level by as much as 28 feet above normal, the storm threatened an environmental disaster of biblical proportions, one that could leave more than 1 million people homeless.
"All indications are that this is absolutely worst-case scenario," Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, said Sunday afternoon.
The center's latest computer simulations indicate that by Tuesday, vast swaths of New Orleans could be under water up to 30 feet deep. In the French Quarter, the water could reach 20 feet, easily submerging the district's iconic cast-iron balconies and bars.
Estimates predict that 60 percent to 80 percent of the city's houses will be destroyed by wind. With the flood damage, most of the people who live in and around New Orleans could be homeless.
"We're talking about in essence having -- in the continental United States -- having a refugee camp of a million people," van Heerden said.
I have heard that the Red Cross has no plans to send people into the area in advance to set up and man relief stations because it is too dangerous. Only after the storm has passed will those efforts begin.
Tonight we watch, wait and pray for God's grace. It is vain to pray for safety in the face of such monumental human vanity. God's grace is manifest in His willingness to love us despite our collective ignorance and rejection of Him in the aftermath of natural disasters such as this.
Official warning for New Orleans area, 8:00 pm local time...
...STORM SURGE FLOOD AND STORM TIDE IMPACTS...KATRINA ISEXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG THE NORTHERN GULF OFMEXICO COAST AS A CATASTROPHIC AND LIFE THREATENING HURRICANE. WHILEEXACT LANDFALL OF LANDFALL IS UNCERTAIN AT THIS TIME...SIGNIFICANTAND LIFE THREATENING STORM SURGE 18 TO 22 FEET ABOVE NORMAL. A FEW AREAS MAY EXPERIENCE STORM SURGE FLOODING AS HIGH AS 28 FEET ALONGWITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES NEAR AND TO THE EAST OFWHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. SECONDARY ROADS OUTSIDE LEVEEPROTECTION WILL LIKELY BECOME IMPASSABLE THIS EVENING AND TONIGHT.