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Ivan - flirting with abolute disaster

Weather Underground: Tropical Weather

Although it's getting comparatively little play in warnings and news, Ivan is very, very close to causing the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

Why do I say that? Because it is aiming right at New Orleans - BUT is expect to take a turn to the right just beforee it hits. If the forecasters have misjudged that turn Ivan could strike New Orleans directly and since New Orleans is essentially a big sink hole - it's all below sea level - emergency preparedness authorities there have predicted that "tens of thousands could die" and the city would be under 10 or more feet of water for at least the next six months!

In other words, a major American city could be wiped from the map. That's pretty scary stuff. Truth is - no one is sure what will happen. But studies with computer models show these kinds of results. Over and over again New Orleans has dodged the bullet. It leads a charmed life. Big storms come close, but they don't hit.

IN the case of Ivan the worst storm surge will be to the right of center. So it's not at all clear what will happen if - as predicted - Ivan hits well to the right (east) of New Orleans and causes a much lesser storm surge. My guess is it's all or nothing where New Orleans is concerned.

Bottom line - it seems to me more people in the news and forecasting business should be more concerned about this possibility. Bit everyone seemed so focused on Florida taking a third hit that until now they have virtually ignored what could be the worst natural disaster ever.

Meanwhile, folks in New Orleans who know have either left - or are planning to take what they call "vertical evacuatioin." What's that - get into a tall building.

Posted by Greg Stone at September 15, 2004 05:03 AM