the reality on the ground in new orleans in the midst of tropical storm lee


As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  Once again, and for the second time in a week, flyingnorthblog finds itself in the path of a major storm – this time in New Orleans with Tropical Storm Lee.  Maybe someone is telling me I should be a weatherman?

The parties are still going on and the drinking on Bourbon Street persists.  In fact, last night Bourbon Street was quite festive, everyone running around, singing and dancing in the rain in the 75F [24C] degree weather, as umbrellas were useless.  As the day went on, the situation on the ground increasingly became even wetter and windier.  Yesterday, based heavily on the threat of flash flooding, Louisiana has declared a state of emergency, following the same announcement from Mississippi.  It is estimated that some parts of the gulf coast could receive up to 20 inches of rainfall.  And I’ll be here to bask in its glory.

In New Orleans, a city that is no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms, Mayor Mitch Landrieu has also declared a state of emergency.

So far in one day, New Orleans has seen 9 inches of rain, with some areas already having received 12 inches.  There is a tornado warning in effect this morning, and Lake Shore Drive is closed.  35,000 people have lost power.  The Army Corps of Engineers closed some floodgates along canals but had not moved to shut a massive flood structure on the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet shipping channel. Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Thus far, winds have been 60mph [95 kph], and Lee’s storm surge, projected around 4 to 5 feet, falls short of the 20-feet-plus seen during Hurricane Katrina.  Given the concerns of past storms, the levees are a big concern, but there seems little chance that they will be breached like happened in Katrina.  Still, there is great concern for flooding and flash flooding. 

The flyingnorthblog will continue to post updates from the center of the action in New Orleans.