Friday, August 29, 2008

How much misinformation can Jeff Masters put in one blog post?

I really enjoy Weather Underground, and I am grateful for the great work Dr. Masters does on this weather site. Those of us who live on the Gulf Coast really benefit from a centralized source of weather information, particularly regarding the tropics.

HOWEVER, the paragraph I quote below disappoints me.I take Dr. Masters' point, and I will almost certainly evacuate New Orleans by Sunday. But Dr. Masters is mimicking lies that people not as bright as he have been telling for years.

Let's take a look (I have bolded the untruths and put my responses in italics):

"Today is the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's catastrophic hit on the Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama coast. Unfortunately, I think that people living in New Orleans should mark the anniversary of Katrina by getting the heck out of the city.You live at the bottom of a bowl, ten or so feet below sea level."

No, I don't. I live in the heart of the city; my house is above sea level, as are many houses in New Orleans.


"This is not natural."

Perhaps not. But air conditioning is not "natural," nor is living near a volcano, nor is living on a major fault line. Having a weather blog is not "natural" either.

"Nature wants to fill up this bowl with huge quantities of Gulf of Mexico sea water. There is a storm capable of doing that bearing down on you. If you live in New Orleans, I suggest you take a little Labor Day holiday--sooner, rather than later, to beat the rush--and get out of town. Gustav is going to come close to you, and there's no sense messing with a major hurricane capable of pushing a Category 3 storm surge to your doorstep. Don't test those Category 3 rated--but untested--levees. Conventional pre-Katrina wisdom suggested that the city needed 72 hours to evacuate.  With the population about half of the pre-Katrina population, that lead time is about 60 hours."

Actually, the relevant figure--the metropolitan population, which is the population that's supposed to evacuate--is well over 80 percent, I believe.  And metro New Orleans has perfected evacuation better than any other metro area in North America (contraflow WORKED and saved thousands of lives before Katrina).

"With Gustav likely to bring tropical storm force winds to the city by Monday afternoon, that means that tonight is a good time to start evacuating--Saturday morning at the latest. Voluntary evacuations have already begun, which is a good idea."

I agree.  But please don't spread lies that serve the interests of those trying to cover up their inadequacies so clearly on display in August and September of 2005.

3 comments:

GENTILLY YARD ART said...

i live on the outback of the city in gentilly terrcace.

my lot is 8 feet above sea level with a house on 3 foot brick peirs.

this neighborhood was built in the early 30's and has never flooded.

it was the london ave canal that caused us our misery.

thank you for putting this message out to the lazy glen beckian part of america.

Sara said...

So funny... I had just read the good Dr.'s blog an had some of the saem thoughts. Thanks for writing them down.

adrastos said...

Mr. Wet convinced hims to edit the comment. Me, I'm 6 feet above sea level.