Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby

Debby has been established as a tropical storm. The current forecast says that "a tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Louisiana from the mouth of the Pearl River westward to Morgan City, not including the city of New Orleans or Lake Pontchartrain" but please note that the storm is projected to make a sharp turn left (West) before landfall and head, with the center over water, toward the south Texas coast after landfall. Houstonians, pay attention; we're not directly in the forecast path, but if Debby survives its initial Louisiana landfall, we're not out of harm's way yet either.

Sources: National Hurricane Center; Weather Underground.

UPDATE Sun. morning 6/24 about 8:10am: the strong (northeast) side of Debby is forecast to hit the Florida panhandle and the Mississippi/Alabama coastline; it may be doing that now. And Louisiana is still under a warning. With a radius of 200 mi, Debby can do all this with the center still over water in its approximately due-westward track, and I think it may visit Houston about next weekend, possibly as a Cat. 1 hurricane. But don't take my word for it; use those links above.

UPDATE Sun. morning 6/24 about 8:45 am: now the Houston Chronicle's SciGuy (Eric Berger) says, "The official forecast understates the shift in the models, most of which are now bringing Debby to the northern Gulf coast. (Here’s the latest European model, for example, which yesterday brought Debby into Texas near Matagorda Bay. It now targets central Louisiana)." Maybe it won't come here after all. ADDED: Berger's "Models Map" shows an increasing consensus among the models of a landfall in southeastern Louisiana. Yes, he says, there is potential danger of flooding in New Orleans, not from storm surge but from heavy rainfall overwhelming the city's pumping system.

UPDATE Sun. afternoon 6/24 about 5:00 pm: Here's Bryan of Why Now?, writing from the Florida panhandle:
The 4PM update shows a totally new track forecast with Apalachicola as the new target. The Warning for Louisiana has been discontinued. From the local wind I knew that the storm was to the East of my location, but it is moving slowly, indicating weak steering, so anything is still possible. The slow movement also impedes strengthening as cooler water is pulled to the surface which reduces available energy.
And so it goes northward into Florida... unless something changes again. Hellooo, climate change denialists... are you ready to surrender yet?


  1. I hate to think that very little has changed in NO since Katrina, but I suspect that is the case.

  2. karmanot - from a political standpoint, New Orleans spent from 2005 to 2008 on Bush's shit list because they tended to vote Democratic (Jindal as governor notwithstanding), so in their worst and most needful post-Katrina state, NO had practically no help from the feral gummint. Bush was completely comfortable with the notion that residents would blame the Democrats in office for the damage that was not prevented (notwithstanding the federal scope of much of what needed to be done), so he did nothing.

    It was DAYS after disaster struck before Bush even toured the area by air. Then he used NO as a backdrop for a political set piece, and then disappeared. He just didn't give a flying fuck.

    As for O, my guess is that it is just not on his priority list to undertake what must surely be expensive repairs and modifications to render NO "safe" ... to the extent that can be done at all.

    Long-term, NO is probably finished. But maybe something unexpected will happen...

  3. The danger to the Big Easy from a storm like this is the slow movement that increases the rainfall. If this thing ends up in Louisiana traveling at 5mph it could dump 10 to 20 inches of rain, as big as it is, and the pumps couldn't handle it.

    It's not the wind, it's the water that gets you.

  4. Bryan - that's what Eric Berger pointed out (and I cribbed from him). It's the fatal flaw in New Orleans, the thing that will require systemic changes to address. They won't be cheap, but it's one of America's significant ports; what are we going to do? let it go under because its residents vote Democratic? (Grrr... I take pains never to meet GeeDubya Bush, not that he's hard for me to avoid...)

  5. "Long-term, NO is probably finished" The neglect of one of America's most beautiful and historic cities is a sad incitement of America. The same argument can be made for the entire Gulf coast. Very sad.

  6. "The same argument can be made for the entire Gulf coast." - karmanot

    And the entire Gulf of Mexico, after Deepwater Horizon. And Prince William Sound, AK, after the Exxon Valdez spill. And the Pacific Ocean, after the Fukushima disaster. And... well, how about California, which is contemplating allowing logging sequoias? It's not just New Orleans: the crew that holds power these days is determined to rewrite environmental protections to allow unlimited profit from unlimited destruction, and they're winning. Are you ready to yield? no? neither am I!

  7. Corporations are amoral, programmed to make money. They don't care if they frack the ancient aquifers, poison the air, befoul the land if they are making money in the short term. So we should make the CEOs of said companies live in the very places they ruin, breathing the air, making their kids eat the three-headed glowing fish....

    It might work....

  8. ellroon, the problem is that often enough, "the very places they ruin" are vast in extent: virtually ALL of Prince William Sound, a goodly portion of the Gulf of Mexico, a whole OCEAN eastward from Fukushima to your coast. One family forced to live in one bad place is nowhere nearly adequate compensation IMHO for that degree of indifferent irresponsibility.

    We don't need a human death penalty, but we damned surely need a corporate death penalty. Then the CEO will go from "most powerful figure at XYZ Enterprises" to "most powerful figure at... um... the town dump?" And the corp will presumably stop doing what it was doing, and its money could be, by legal compulsion, redirected toward repairing the damage it caused.

    All I'm asking is a fundamental change in the way capitalism operates... :-)



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