I’m sure nobody wants to hear this from me, so here it is from Dr. Jeff Masters:
It’s time to leave New Orleans
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, much of it below sea level. While New Orleans must exist where it is, this is not natural. 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. 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.
Seems like sound advice from where I sit, but that’s a long ways away.