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I don’t like doing blog entries on subjects like this, but it’s time to face reality. The “Big Easy -- the heart of the Marti Gras celebration and Bourbon Street, is going to see destruction in the next few days that may be far worse than anything we’ve seen happen to a United States city in recent times. Hundreds may die, and thousands may lose their homes, their livelihood, and all of their belongings.

The city of New Orleans is a geographic “bowl, and is built mostly under sea level. With a Category 5 Hurricane, the strongest level of hurricane, approaching the city and set to make landfall tomorrow morning, massive flooding, disease, and devastation are likely to occur. Nearly every meteorologist who is covering the hurricane has said there is almost no way to prevent the city from being almost completely submerged.

It will be, and has been, one of the most televised natural disasters in history. Millions around the world are literally watching and waiting for billions of dollars of damage to occur. CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, as well as thousands of independent TV stations are also extensively covering the storm. There also will be a few new technologies that make storm information more accessible for individuals.

Google Earth, which allows users to view aerial and 3d imagery of most of the planet, has a huge library of 3rd party hacks and modifications available. (Yes, I understand DaniWeb has had too much Google related news lately, but I promise its relevant!)

One such hack, available at Google Earth Hacks displays an updated satellite image of Hurricane Katrina, which is overlaid over the Gulf of Mexico in the main view. It allows weather enthusiasts (like myself) to see exactly how big the storm is and where it is positioned.

Online information seekers can also find interesting web cams located in the heart of the city. It’s very likely these cameras will be knocked out as the storm cuts off power and telecommunications, but while they last, its something worth checking out.

Katrina’s eye was last reported by an air force crew who flew into the eye of the storm to be roughly 30 miles wide, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Center reports that sustained winds are up to 160 miles per hour in the eye wall.

This hurricane will be the fourth Category 5 hurricane ever to reach land in the United States. (Andrew was the last one.) There are many places to get rapid news updates on the net, including the NOAA Hurricane Center, AccuWeather, The Weather Channel, and the Times-Picayune.

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Last Post by vieome
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Hello,

I am a ham radio operator, and during times of weather emergencies, a number of us use our radios to communicate information to civil authorities, such as the National Weather Service, the Red Cross, or FEMA.

One of the methods of communication involves a "voice over IP" or using our radios with the internet to converse with other stations.

If you would like to listen in on our conversations concerning the hurricane, you can listen in here:

http://www.irlp.net/

And look at the instructions on how to listen directly from your computer. Bear in mind that these communications are not like a newscast: there will be pauses when no one is talking. The system is meant to be inbound and outbound... reports will come in from the field, such as "there is a powerline down", and official statements will come out from the weather service, such as "a tornado warning has been issued for Hanson county".

Christian

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Thoughts, best wishes and prayers go out to the people of the area. I'm sure the world will be watching with anxiety for the people of a place which touches the hearts of many, many folk around the globe with its unique and wonderful culture.

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kc0arf -- Thank you for that very interesting reply. I will be listening in to see how things pan out on the airwaves. As the winds and rain picks up in New Orleans, I hope the city will be able to be resilient and recover from this.

Some good news: The storm has weakened to a Category 4 according to NOAA. Still devastating, but any weakening is good news.

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According to CNN, a small section of the Superdome's soft roof has "opened up." The Superdome is being used as a shelter for roughly 10 thousand people who could not leave the city by any other means.

National Guard troops are positioned inside the structure, and are handing out food rations and keeping order.

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Katrina is now a Level 3 hurricane. It is moving northward and will disintegrate as it moves away from the ocean.

Parts of New Orleans are covered up over 6 feet of water. More later.

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Hello,

No problem on the radio information. If you have a shortwave receiver, you might be able to tune in 14.325 MHz USB and listen to other traffic there. I have heard exchanges from various authorities and weather offices this morning, as the hurricane is knocking out a lot of the communications infrostructure.

Christian

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Well it seems that the worst case scenario for New Orleans at least has not come to fruition. The levies which keep the water our of the city were not breached. That said, the rainfall alone has caused plenty of flooding, just not to the levels expected.

I must say CNN and the other news stations are over-covering this story at this point. When it was going to hit New Orleans and destroy the city it was worth covering 24 hours a day, but at this point there are other stories that should be covered, and all they can talk about is the hurricane. But then, I guess they do this with every hurricane.

I am seeing Dr. John tonight at the local jazz club. He is from New Orleans and I was concerned he might not play if his city was under water. Guess I'll get to see him afterall.

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CNN is now reporting that the levee which was holding back Lake Pontchartrain has breached, and that the City is being inundated with a flood that cannot be held back. It appears that 80% of New Orleans will end up under water.

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Seems the CNN news story reporting that the levee had breached was subsequently withdrawn from view and replaced with the story which had previously been featured, some several hours earlier. Hopefully, it may have been withdrawn as incorrect.

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Looks like most of the residential areas near the two canals have been indeed completely flooded by lake water. The water has followed highways and subsequently is flooding the downtown area.

Although N.O. was spared the worst of the storm, the aftermath is devastating.

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As more news comes in, it is becoming increasingly obvious that this is a disaster of huge proportions, and that the worst may be yet to come. Authorities still have no idea how to evacuate the people who need rescue, and the infrastructure damage is overwhelming.

From a just arrived message sent by a work colleague, whose home is now underwater near the intial levee breach:

The hardest thing is recognising that we may not have merely lost our house and possessions, but our city as well. I'm not sure whether they'll be able to rebuild New Orleans.

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I guess the state of the planet is of concern to us all.

I am located in Zimbabwe and Last thursday I expeiranced my first earth quake a very unusual thing for this part of the world.
The othere thing is it has been raining for like three mnths everyday...

Danny I enjoyed your article very much

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