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Hurricane Rita - Open Thread 2

My 18 hour ordeal to get from the Midwest to Virginia, while managing to avoid Houston is finally over, but frankly I'm too tired to retell the tale. Suffice it to say I am home safe and sound. My luggage - not so much...

The eye of Hurricane Rita is supposed to come ashore at 3AM (Eastern). I haven't seen my family for 2 weeks so I won't be monitoring the overnight developments - I'll be sleeping.

If you're watching or (God forbid) riding out the storm, do discuss the latest developments...

Paul Adds at 4am


In surfing around looking at pictures of the levee that was NOT breached, I found a good resource at Getty Images. If you'd lke to see the full sized image of a levve that was NOT breached but just had a little "spill over" click on the image for the full size.


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Comments (31)

The best live feed is out o... (Below threshold)

The best live feed is out of Lake Charles. Amazingly they're still on the air.


Matt,I'm not findi... (Below threshold)


I'm not finding the live feed on the kplc site. Do you have a direct link?


EricR,It should be... (Below threshold)


It should be on the banner on their page.


Alternatively, try:


Watching Kplctv.</... (Below threshold)

Watching Kplctv.

Eyewall hitting near Lake Charles right now.

Johnson Bayou, semi officially.

Their local station is still up much to their own surprise.

They are discussing how the wind noise has dropped and whether or not they've gotten inside the eye wall.

This is interesting to watch on the web as it is truly a small town station and they have a 25 year old (if he's lucky) meteorologist describing the situation right now

The rest are hunkered down in one inside room. On air crew wearing short sleeve shirts and baseball caps -- and one guy's son.

Crap, a guy just looked at the camera like something happened and then it dropped.

I was about to say that this is completely unfiltered news, but I can't even ping the feed server right now.

They mentioned that they had a few small holes in the roof.

Hope they only lost power. They were talkiing about how their satellite dishes should have been carried away a long time ago.

Kplc is down,Live ... (Below threshold)

Kplc is down,

Live shots of fires during the storm from Galveston and South East Houston being shown on CNN right now.

I can't believe that fire crews are out in this.

Big fire in Houston.

News crews on the west side of the eye (Port Arthur and Beaumont) are saying that it doesn't look very bad. Lake Charles and eastward are catching the brunt.

LA is getting pounded again.

Now saying that the storm is moving a little west and that Beaumont will get the western eyewall within the hour.

Still looks like SW LA is getting the worst of it.

I am not qualified to report on what is happening, so I will leave it here.

East side of Lake Charles is reporting sustained winds of over 100mph according to the LC Sheriff.

Who reports that 95% of the people got out of town.

Best wishes to all.

I've been using <a href="ht... (Below threshold)

I've been using this program NWS Radar Monitor 2 for Win9x/ME/Win2k/XP to keep an eye on things, it's working great. I have it set to Galveston.

Three questions I'm interes... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

Three questions I'm interested in regarding current flooding in New Orleans:

1. Are there any confirmed reports of any death(s) directly related to flooding caused by the breech of any levee previously breeched by Hurricane Katrina in and around New Orleans?

2. Are there any confirmed reports of any death(s) directly related to flooding caused by the breech of any levee not previously breeched in and around New Orleans?

3. Absent any death(s), are there any confirmed reports of any areas not previously flooded by Hurricane Katrina, now flooded as a result of any levee breeches?

Since it is early in the assessment and dissemination process, I have been unable to find any confirmed information on the above questions. Perhaps others who are closer to the situation will be able to provide more insight.

Cardinals Nation,1... (Below threshold)

Cardinals Nation,

1. Many people died when the levees originally breached. They weren't hiding in attics and floating around town DEAD for nothing.

2. WTF?

3. What's your point?

Beyond the fact that you are a Cardinal Fan (remember the guy with the sign?) this is something best left as dead as those folks alluded to in question #1. in your post.

What disturbs me is, too ma... (Below threshold)

What disturbs me is, too many people think the government can simply snap thier fingers and save lives and make everything good. How stupid can you be? All of you have experienced the failure of our government your entire life. Politics get in the way of common sense. It has always been that way since I have been old enough to pay attention to politics. Why do you expect them to perform any different now?

It's time for all of us to take a little responsibility for our own lives. If you cannot see that now, there's not much anyone can do for you.

The exceptions would be, of course, the infirm and disabled. No person, regardless of politics would deny them help. But you have all witnessed the incompetence of the local LA "leaders". Watching them trying to lay blame on the federal gov is pretty discusting, if you ask me.

There is so much CYA going ... (Below threshold)

There is so much CYA going on right now it really becomes duscusting beyond what I can bear. Makes me want to become a recluse with my shotgun. Just stay the hell away from me.

However, we have to try and make things better for our sons and daughters. I get so pissed off and frustrated with politicions I could scream. Almost all of them have forsaken the good of our country for the good of their party or personal gain.

My only strategy at this point is to vote against ALL incumbents. And just lay low and do what I have to do.

mesablue,#1: That... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:


#1: That's not what I asked, but good use of the emotive to deflect.

#2: I'm interested in the impact the actions/inactions of the ACoE had on the current situation in NO relative to the effects of Hurricane Rita, thus my preface of "Three questions I'm interested in regarding current flooding in New Orleans." The ACoE has been a hot topic on this blog as of late, so I feel the questions are quite germane.

#3: I don't have a point, and won't until I have the answers to my questions. I prefer to have facts before I make points, which has been an apparent departure from standard around here lately. And with the last three posts on this blog dedicated soley to the situation in New Orleans, and Paul's apparently omnipotent knowledge of all things ACoE, hydroengineering and Metropolitan New Orleans, I figured this is one of the best places to ask.

Yes, I'm a Cardinals fan - die hard and for life, but what has that got to do with some guy with a sign and the current situation in New Orleans? And exactly what sign are you talking about? Can you be more vague? And what, precisely, is "best left as left as dead as those folks alluded to in question #1. in your post"?

Interestingly on the news t... (Below threshold)

Interestingly on the news this morning, they ACoE addressed the breaching subject. "Breaching is a technical term that refers to a specific structural failure, the levees were not breached", the statement then went on to explain both the cause and type of failures occuring on the levees. Now as many times as Paul has jumped up peoples asses because the didn't use precisely the same definition as he did, or they "can't read" or has become hypertechnical in arguing one term thereby changing the entire tone and content of a post and then calls his readers idiots when they don't follow with him, I think he owes some people who have posted on this (and related recent)threads an apology. I don't really expect that to happen but it would be nice. What I expect is thousands of pictures showing water flowing through erosion channels caused by over topping and statement like well this levee still isnt breached according to the idiots below.

I understand Cardinals Nati... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

I understand Cardinals Nation's questions. He is attempting to assess the impact of the current flooding in NO. Paul's contention was that the COE misled the people into believing that the levees were safe and that people could return to their homes and should be held responsible for that. CN is trying to determine if that is valid. If the flooding is through one of the old breaches that had been temporarily repaired, then realistically, the COE could be blamed for that. They effected the repairs, so they should kow how safe they are. If the new problems occurred in an area that had previously been intact, the COE cannot be directly blamed for saying the levee was "safe." It had withstood Katrina, so they would have rightfully assumed that it could withstand a lesser storm.

Chad how stupid are you? Lo... (Below threshold)

Chad how stupid are you? Look at the pictures. See that sea wall in tattered pieces? DUH! That is structural failure.

Perhaps you can not comprehend the fact the corps is lying.

The only apology I owe is to other Wizbang readers for not banning dumbasses like you and CN.

I live down in SE Louisiana... (Below threshold)

I live down in SE Louisiana (just north of Lake Pontchartrain) and have been down here during Rita and following the local news coverage. While no one will publicly state it, the media believes and keeps pressing the point that the biggest concern was to make certain that areas that did not flood during Katrina would not flood as a result of Rita. It appears that their approach in closing off the 17th St. canal and the London Ave. canal was based on the assumption that storm surge was a greater danger to the city than rain. Based upon what has happened that appears to be a valid assumption. The failure of the repair on the east side of the Industrial Canal reflooded a neighborhood with 4-6 feet of water that was flooded with 8-12 feet of water three weeks ago. The flooding in the 9th Ward by the new public housing project is less than two feet in an area that had 4-5 feet, and the flooding there has already stopped.

Paul's primary argument seems to be that by closing off the 17th St. canal that Old Metairie could not pump out in the event of major rainfall. Valid point, but again the strategy seems to have been that storm surge was viewed to be the greatest danger. The rains have not been as significant as predicted for the most part, and even if they had hit the forecasts (4-6" over a 48 hour period), while some low areas would have flooded (I-10 at the railroad overpass and Elysian Fields at I-610), that rain would not have created a real threat to persons. The ACoE claimed that had rain become the greater danger that as soon as the storm passed they would have pulled the steel pilings blocking the canal so that pumping could begin. There are no casualties reported on the local news this morning.

9:22 A.M. - N.O. Police Chi... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

9:22 A.M. - N.O. Police Chief Eddie Compass: I just thank God that we haven’t heard any reports of fatalities. (Source)

feel free, I am sure I woul... (Below threshold)

feel free, I am sure I would survive, but thanks for making my point.

The only apology I owe i... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

The only apology I owe is to other Wizbang readers for not banning dumbasses like you and CN.

Ban me; but I hope you have the courage to tell everyone when you do. That way they'll know what's in store for them should they choose not to drink your Kool Aid.

And be careful who you call a "dumbass." So far you haven't shown one bit of proof about the ACoE "crime against against the citizens of New Orleans." * Without backing up a claim like that, you might end up wearing that label.

<a href="http://www.wwltv.... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

9:53 A.M. - Dan Hitchings, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with an update on the canal system: Industrial Canal: The waters in the canal topped the barrier, and eroded those parts of the levee and spilled into the city. That water is still pouring into the area.

40% of the Orleans pumps are up to capacity. It’ll take about two days to get the water out of the area, and we plan to start dropping sandbags into the canal breeches real soon – today most likely.

London Avenue Canal: A little bit of seeppage got through and put a small amount of water in the area.

17th Street Canal sheet pilings held pat, so there was no topping. We’re going to remove the sheet pilings soon and begin using pumps to get that water out. All the Jefferson Parish pumps are operating at 100%

ts>Paul's primary ... (Below threshold)


>Paul's primary argument seems to be that by closing off the 17th St. canal that Old Metairie could not pump out in the event of major rainfall.

No. My problem is that the Corps is lying. Apparently some people can't bring themselves to believe that it might just be true. They allowed people to stay in Jefferson who probably should not have been there.

At ~4am our time, they had a report on FOXNews. There was a "training effect" near New Orleans that produced "between 14 and 18 inches of rain."

That happened about 5 miles to the left of I-55. If that had happened just 18 miles to the right, all of Jefferson would be flooded and all the levees would have been breached.

SO FAR we have dodged that bullet. So the idiots can rant and rave, it was just stupid to not call for an evacuation.

Paul,Plese take th... (Below threshold)


Plese take this in the spirit in which it's written, because I'm not being intentionally antagonistic.

Nobody below God Himself could have built a worthy levee in three weeks. Period. Cement or steel are both woefully inadequate, because they rely upon their foundations. The only thing that will stand up to the immense pressure exerted by as huge a body of water as Pontchartrain is well-compacted earth. That only happens over time.

In my "neck of the woods" there are a whole bunch of folks with a whole bunch of experience with levees, from medium-sized lakes, to large reservoirs, to the Mississippi river. I've heard a few commenting on the N.O. situation, and their general consensus was that things were moving too quickly towards recovery. Unfortunately, the federal government (including the ACoE) were so pressured by public sentiment to get about rebuilding New Orleans, that pumping probably began far too early. The general procedure would have called for several weeks (perhaps a couple months) of building a "divider" between the two bodies of water (Pontchartrain proper, and the area of the city the lake had "annexed"), then starting pumping after that divider had been properly built and reinforced, adding to it as the waters receded.

All that said, I agree that people who had returned probably should have been re-evacuated, but I don't think those who had been allowed back in were in a whole lot of danger from re-flooding. As I said before, the rush to "fix" New Orleans is really the greatest enemy.

Paul, I have a lot of respect for you in the stands you have taken on several issues. I have gone further in my "off-the-blog" sentiments towards you, as you know. This is simply a request that you slow down your emotions a little bit before you start speaking of "banning dumbasses." There are many more bannable trolls running around than the dissenters on this topic.

Paul - You need to... (Below threshold)

Paul -

You need to do your research before you post. A Training Effect is a situation where the presentation on the radar dramatically overestimates actual precipitation, often by as much as 7 times observed totals.

So what you heard was FoxNews report erroneous information.

Jesus CHRIST Paul...YOU WER... (Below threshold)


You're the blogosphere's Kathleen Blanco: it's always everyone else's fault you always end up fighting and are "forced" to ban commenters, delete and ultimately close comments. Couldn't be anything YOU'RE doing, right?

You're like the blog equivalent of the guy who tells the woman, as she lies on the floor bleeding from the mouth..."Baby, you know you MADE me do that to you."


BoDiddly, For abou... (Below threshold)


For about the 10th time, I don't blame the Corps for the second flood. Not a bit. That is not my point and has never been my point.

My point is that they misrepresented their readiness for the second storm. -- A point proven in spades when the levee was BREACHED and the Corps was absolutely stunned by the development.

I DON'T blame them for the breach... But is their job to protect the citizens of the area and frankly they are clueless. They nearly got tens of thousands of people killed.

And about my "anger." I am not (that) angry at the Corps nearly as much as I am dumbasses who have no clue what they are talking about giving me lectures about things they know nothing about.

Like the dumbass yesterday who told me that the flooding was minor then when he saw it on TV and had to admit he was full of shit. Or the guy who said it was not a breach because if it were a breach, water would be "cascading" into the city. -- Another guy who didn't have a TV on but was telling me all about it..

If people want to disagree with one of my points ok... but spare me the explanation of how the waters around New Orleans work. I grew up on a bayou and have been navigating those waterways for 30+ years. Some guy in Iowa has no clue how it works.

Do a search on Wizbang.... You've never seen me tell Californians how earthquakes work or mid-westerners how to avoid a tornado. WHY? Because I don't know shit about it. You also won't see me pontificating on the healthcare issue. WHY? Because I don't know shit about it.

What on earth makes people who have no clue how the levees work or how many people are in town think they are experts?

Actually as I read the thre... (Below threshold)

Actually as I read the threads, you post about some "blathering idiot" and some statement he made that you disgree with. Then when some points out that maybe there is a difference in interpretation you blast them for being a dumbass.

"Update Are CNN and the Coprs of Idiots insane? These morons are reporting that the levees are in tact just that they are "JUST being 'over topped' on the previous repairs." Well I'm sure to the people who are being flooded AGAIN and the people who managed to get thru Katrina only to get floded today will feel so much better that the levees are in tact...

NEWS FLASH: The Levees are holding in tact... The "repairs" are 3 feet underwater but by golly the levees are in tact! I'm absolutly in disbelief that they are this stupid. "

The fact that the levees are intact does make a difference. Your right I dont live in New Orleans but I have lived in a number of flood plains and if the flood wall or levve holds but is over topped you still have protection once the flood crest passes. It doesnt mean much for the immediate flooding but it makes a difference afterwards.

Then you post:

NEW ORLEANS — The reported Industrial Canal levee breech is not from a new break in the levee, said John Bradberry of the Louisiana Department of Transportation. The waist-deep flooding today in the 9th Ward is caused by Hurricane Rita pushing waters over the top of the levees, he said.

“The 17th Street Canal and the London Avenue breaches are secure. We do not see any flooding in New Orleans proper. It’s raining in the area but there is no flooding on the lake at all from these areas.”

In Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, there were 27 levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina, including eight imposed to help with draining.

“All have been repaired to some degree,” he said. “The nature of the flooding we have today flowing into Chalmette through the breech experienced in the Industrial Canal is an over-the-top breech.”

Bradberry said he expects the flooding to subside in about two hours after Rita passes and the wind changes.

And accuse the offical of lying. specifically saying "Got that? There is no flooding in New Orleans and any flooding that is in New Orleans will be gone in a 2 hours."

but that isnt what the offical said. He said there was no flooding in New Orleans proper which as I understand it could be correct, and that the flooding would subside within in two hours, subside doesn't mean that everything will be dry but that no new flooding will occur.

Then you accuse the ACoE of trying to protect themselves by claiming the levees are intact. The Corps hasn't denied flooding is occuring they haven't told people (at least I am not aware of them telling people) that there was no danger. They didn't even encourage people to move back into the area. In fact I specifically remember the Feds saying it was too early. What they have said is that a specific type of failure has not occured. That doesn't make them liars it may make them poor communicators who are being overly precise. It also doesn't make them idiots, it makes them people with a very difficult job who have had the difficulty increased substantially by events out of their control.

Yesterday's break in the <a... (Below threshold) Chad ignorantly opined:... (Below threshold)

Chad ignorantly opined:

>He said there was no flooding in New Orleans proper which as I understand it could be correct,

Oh Chad... The 9th ward flooded. Do you know the 9th ward of what Chad? -- Here's a clue... It is NOT the 9th ward of Chicago. It is not the 9th ward of Topeka.

It is the 9th war of New Orleans you Dumbass. YES YOU ARE A DUMBASS.

You want to tell me New Orelans did not flood and you have no fucking idea where the flood is?!?!?!

You not just a dumbass you are an unrepentant dumbass.

At some point don't you get embarrassed that you are babbling about shit you know nothing about????

Your right I am unrepetant ... (Below threshold)

Your right I am unrepetant you arrogant abusive prick. I didnn't say there was no flooding I said that the offical said there was no flooding in New Orleans proper, which could have been true. In one of your responses to a comment you made the point that most of the flooding was occuring in parishes outside New Orleans proper. Since you didn't address the items about the flood subsiding, or the technical aspect of breaching vs. overtopping with channeling or erosion I will assume you are focusing on the least important aspect of my post because you know you are both wrong and a complete jackass. Have a nice life knowing that you are better than everyone else,if and when the hat is passed on your behalf again I hope people will remember what a miserable asswipe you are. Rot and Die turdbag. See I can be just as insulting as you and just so my eloquence wont be lost when you delete my comment you coward I will post it on my blog also. I would post the entire string and all the comments but you stike me as such a whiny pussy that you would complain about copyright issues.

Paul, I think the problem i... (Below threshold)

Paul, I think the problem is that MSM coverage is catering to people who don't know that any part of New Orleans exists beyond the Superdome and the French Quarter. Unfortunately, those are the two areas that most of the nation worries about--if they can't see the Saints play or go somewhere to get drunk & see public nakedness, they get in a tizzy--nevermind that the "life-support system" (for lack of a better term) for the environment that makes New Orleans so very special is in shambles (and will be, for years to come).

Also, you have engineers speaking on-camera to reporters (and to citizens) who have no concept of engineering matters. They don't want to create the impression that the levees are "gone," so they try to express that they aren't breached, that might indicate that they've completely washed away, but they talk about them being "overtopped." I don't think anybody thought they'd hold fast if storm surge and rain like they knew were probable from Rita came to town, but I think they were disappointed that they were so significantly overwhelmed. Whether their tactics were "CYA-conscious" or simply a case of being overly specific before a group of folks not interested in (or not knowing enough to make use of) specificity, I think they failed miserably in their communication of the situation, if nothing else. So I guess I pretty much agree with you on the actual areas of the ACoE's failure, though I do think that the public impression that New Orleans was "safe" had more to do with "conventional wisdom" than anything the ACoE told them.

One question I'd like to ask you directly, because you do know the area better than most folks--and I'm not being antagonistic. You may have answered this already, and if so, I apologize for missing it, but are the currently-flooded areas pretty much re-flooding of the areas underwater post-Katrina, or are there areas that survived Katrina that are now flooded because of levee failures in different areas? In the efforts of returning New Orleans to normal, I realize that it makes little difference, but additional damage beyond Katrina's toll would be worse than just re-sinking areas that were already pretty much ruined.

Something I would very much like for you to keep us posted on, as well: In my area, the Pearl River is prone to flooding, and the solution touted for many years would create a dam to protect greater Jackson, at the expense of several towns and cities that were not constructed in the natural flood plain. I would love to hear your take on the proposed solutions that are being considered on ways to protect New Orleans, as it relates to surrounding areas, as well as the City itself.

>Paul, I think the problem ... (Below threshold)

>Paul, I think the problem is that MSM coverage is catering to people who don't know that any part of New Orleans exists beyond the Superdome and the French Quarter.


>are the currently-flooded areas pretty much re-flooding of the areas underwater post-Katrina, or are there areas that survived Katrina that are now flooded because of levee failures in different areas?

I answered this at length but I'll be darned if I can find it now...

*Mostly* they are re-flooded. But it is not a perfect subset. Some new areas flooded that did not flood before but to what extent, I don't know.

As for thought on the Pearl river, I've never heard a thing about the dam project until I read your post so I have no idea. As for the proposed solutions for New Orleans, one of them is a multibazillion dollar flood gate(s) on the mouth(s) of Lake Pontchartrain. I have no idea what to think of it until I hear more on it, but it is technology we would be swiping from the Dutch so it apparently has been tested in real life.... Getting politicians in Southern Louisiana to manage the project however is a whole different ballgame.

The Pearl River dam to whic... (Below threshold)

The Pearl River dam to which I referred has pretty much been scrapped. You may do some research and dig up some of the details, but it was called the Shoccoe Dam Project.

What it essentially did was place a dam north of Jackson on the Pearl, with a spillway designed to close before more water flowed into the Metro Area than the existing river there could hold. It would be protecting hundreds of businesses and homes that are built in the "natural" flood plain of the Pearl (do an internet search for Jackson's "Easter Flood" of 1979 to see what happened back then). Trouble is, towns north of there (Carthage, Kosciusko, and others) which were not built in the natural flood plain, would be underwater when the spillway closed to protect Jackson. Folks got in a pretty big uproar that their homes and businesses, that had never before flooded, could have been submerged to protect folks who built on the banks, or in the low-lying flood plain that the river has used for centuries.

Like I said, that project has pretty much been scrapped, in favor of a "flood control lake" proposal, but I fear it will resurface after Jackson's next flood. I am just concerned that a similar "fix" for New Orleans may be considered, sacrificing those who built in the "right" place to save those who decided they'd rather live in a basin.






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