Posted tagged ‘Katrina’

Oil Rig Explodes off Louisiana Coast

September 2, 2010

Here we go again…

According to reports, an offshore oil rig has exploded in the Gulf of Mexico this morning. The explosion took place west of the site of the April blast that caused a massive oil spill and clean up effort.

It sounds like this explosion is not as bad as the previous one so let’s hope that all are accounted for and that we don’t have another massive spill.

From the Associated Press:

The Coast Guard said initial reports indicated all 13 crew members from the rig were in the water. One was injured, but there were no deaths.

The platform owned by Mariner Energy is in about 2,500 feet of water, the Coast Guard said, and was not currently producing.

About 206 million gallons of oil from an undersea well spilled into the Gulf after BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

From CNN:

The accident took place 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana on the Vermilion Oil rig 380, which is owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy.

The Coast Guard has multiple helicopters, an airplane and several Coast Guard cutters en route. It’s unknown if there are any injuries.

Category 4 Hurricane Heads for Cuba

November 9, 2008

It appears that Cuba is about to get slammed by another Category 4 storm, Hurricane Paloma. Former President Fidel Castro has warned of new challenges for an island still reeling from two other recent storms.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami believes that Paloma could weaken slightly but will likely still be a major hurricane when it makes landfall early Sunday with maximum sustained winds of about 110 MPH.

From MSNBC:

Paloma’s outer rain bands began striking the southern coast of Cuba after the storm knocked out power across much of Grand Cayman Island. A hurricane warning was in effect across the central and eastern provinces of Cuba, and civil defense authorities were overseeing efforts to protect life and property.

“Although it may weaken a bit, we have to pay full attention to this storm,” top Cuban meteorologist Jose Rubiera said on state television and radio.

Nearly 1 million people along the low-lying southern coast had been evacuated, NBC News reported. Cuba regularly evacuates large numbers of people for tropical storms and hurricanes — a measure that historically has prevented major loss of life during natural disasters.

In an essay published Saturday in Cuban state media, Fidel Castro said Paloma would surely damage roads and new crops planted after hurricanes Gustav and Ike hit in late August and early September. Those two storms caused an estimated $9.4 billion in damage and destroyed nearly a third of Cuba’s crops, causing widespread shortages of fresh produce.

Warnings Given to All Residents as Hurricane Ike Nears Texas

September 12, 2008

My wife’s uncle and aunt are on their way out of Houston as we speak as Hurricane Ike is barreling towards the coast.  As Ike nears the Houston area, the National Weather Service issued a stern warning to people living in small houses on Galveston Island that they faced “certain death” from flooding if they remained in their homes.

From the New York Times:

Forecasters said the wall of water being pushed onshore by the mammoth storm could cause floods of 15 to 22 feet above sea level, enough to cover many houses on the island, where a hurricane killed more than 8,000 people in 1900.

“Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single-family one- or two-story homes will face certain death,” the National Weather Service said in a local bulletin. “Many residences of average construction directly on the coast will be destroyed.”

The dire warning came as residents of Houston and Galveston rushed to board up their houses and move inland and Hurricane Ike moved closer to the two cities. By Friday morning, the unusually wide storm was more than 500 miles across and was rated Category 2, with 105 mile per hour winds at its center, churning across the Gulf of Mexico about 230 miles southeast of Galveston, according to The National Hurricane Center.

A mandatory evacuation was ordered for Galveston, and hurricane warnings were issued for a 400-mile stretch of coastline that stretched from south of Corpus Christi to Morgan City, La.

Thousands fled the island earlier in the day in private cars or on government-chartered buses, but a few diehards insisted they would stay in their homes. One was Denise Scurry, a 46-year-old pool hall employee who was sitting on a milk crate Thursday afternoon in downtown Galveston near her two-story home, reading “Thugs and the Women Who Love Them” and sipping brandy.

“It ain’t going to be nothing but wind and rain,” she said. “Everybody’s all excited about nothing.”

Look Out Texas…Here Comes Ike

September 12, 2008

Cars and trucks are heading inland and chemical companies have buttoned up their plants today as a major Hurricane Ike is taking aim at the heart of the U.S. refining industry and threatened to send a wall of water crashing toward Houston.

From the Associated Press:

Nearly 1 million people along the Texas coast were ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm, which was expected to strike late Friday or early Saturday. But in a calculated risk aimed at avoiding total gridlock, authorities told most people in the nation’s fourth-largest city to just hunker down.

Ike was steering almost directly for Houston, where gleaming skyscrapers, the nation’s biggest refinery and NASA’s Johnson Space Center lie in areas vulnerable to wind and floodwaters. Forecasters said the storm was likely to come ashore as a Category 3, with winds up to 130 mph.

But the storm was so big, it could inflict a punishing blow even in those areas that do not get a direct hit. Forecasters warned that because of Ike’s size and the state’s shallow coastal waters, it could produce a surge, or wall of water, 20 feet high, and waves of perhaps 50 feet. It could also dump 10 inches or more of rain.

Hurricane Ike Makes Landfall South of Havana

September 9, 2008

Could New Orleans or Houston be next?

From MSNBC:

Hurricane Ike powered ashore Tuesday in western Cuba’s province of Pinar del Rio, forecasters said, the second time Ike made landfall on the island nation.

On Monday, Ike tore across Cuba’s eastern side, ravaging homes, killing at least four people and forcing 1.2 million to evacuate.

Residents in Texas and northern Mexico braced for Ike’s next wallop.

Winds howled and heavy rains fell across Havana, where streets were empty of cars and people Tuesday morning. Towering waves broke over the graceful Malecon seaside promenade, which police barricaded off late Monday. Many of the historic apartment buildings along its length are in poor repair and vulnerable to collapse.

Police spread out across the city to halt all but emergency and official traffic. Roadways were strewn with tree branches and rocks, and the rubble from crumbling balconies littered sidewalks. Navigation was banned in Havana Bay, its usually placid surface stirred up by white-capped waves.

Cuba, which has carried out well-executed evacuations over the years, ordered hundreds of thousands of people — more than a tenth of its 11 million people — to seek safety with friends and relatives or at government shelters, state television reported.

About 80 percent of the 1,000 homes in Banes Holguin — in the area where Ike made landfall on Monday — were said to be damaged or destroyed.

By Tuesday morning, Havana was experiencing “heavy winds and rains”, NBC News reported.

Hurricane Ike Sets Sights on Southeastern US

September 4, 2008

Tropical Storm Ike today became the fifth hurricane in the Atlantic this season as it was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Following on the heels of Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna, Ike is currently moving west over the west-central waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Gustav barreled into coastal Louisiana on Monday as a Category 2 hurricane, following one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history, and leaving massive power outages in its wake. Hanna briefly became the fourth Atlantic hurricane of the season before slamming with deadly force into Haiti, where scores of people have died in recent flooding.

Hanna was downgraded to a tropical storm Tuesday as it moved on over the southeastern Bahamas and it is growing larger, but not stronger, as it moves north. “A turn to the northwest with an increase in forward speed is expected over the next 24 hours,” the National Hurricane Center said. Hanna is expected to strike somewhere in the Southeastern U.S. on Friday, and is currently on course to hit the U.S. in Virginia.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist issued a state of emergency on Tuesday and officials in South Carolina and Georgia said they were monitoring the situation from operation centers. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said FEMA officials were already preparing should Hanna hit the East Coast.

Hurricane Gustav Makes Landfall West of New Orleans

September 1, 2008

Hurricane Gustav has finally made landfall on the Louisiana coast this morning and it appears that the brunt of the storm will be passing to the south and west of New Orleans. It appears that the city will be spared destruction on the scale of Hurricane Katrina three years ago but the people of the Gulf Coast are not out of the woods just yet.

From the New York Times:

Bill Haber/Associated Press

Credit: Bill Haber/Associated Press

Hurricane Gustav made landfall along the Louisiana coast late Monday morning, and with the center of the storm striking 70 miles southwest of New Orleans.

While and the storm lashed the Gulf Coast with strong winds and rain, it was downgraded from category 3 to category 2, on a scale of 1 to 5, because its winds had slowed to 110 miles an hour from 115 m.p.h., according to the National Weather Service. Officials at the Army Corps of Engineers said that New Orleans’ levee system was being severely tested, but they did not think that the hurricane would cause water to flow over its walls. If the levees were not overtopped, that would be good news for the city, since “overtopping” can cause levees to fail.The center of the storm struck land at Cocodrie, La., about 70 miles southwest of New Orleans, the National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin at 11 a.m., ET. As the hurricane moves inland, the broad path of the storm plotted by the National Hurricane Center showed it likely to pass through the towns of New Iberia, Baton Rouge, Houma, Morgan City and Thibodaux.

Dave Martin / Reuters

Credit: Dave Martin / Reuters

The atmosphere in the emergency operations center in New Orleans was tense. Workers on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal — considered a particularly weak link in the city’s levee protection system — said that the water level in the canal was a little more than 10 feet above normal, or about three feet from the top of the floodwalls. There was some reported spillover at the west floodwall, though officials said the water level there was no longer rising.

From MSNBC:

A weakened Hurricane Gustav slammed into the heart of Louisiana’s fishing and oil industry Monday, avoiding a direct hit on flood-prone New Orleans and boosting hope that the city would avoid catastrophic flooding.

Wind-driven water was sloshing over the top of the Industrial Canal’s floodwall, but city officials and the Army Corps of Engineers said they expected the levees, still only partially rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, would hold. The canal broke during hurricanes Betsy and Katrina, flooding St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward.

Stephen Morton / Getty Images

Credit: Stephen Morton / Getty Images

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gustav hit around 10:30 a.m. EDT Monday near the Cocodrie, a low-lying community in Louisiana’s Cajun country about 72 miles southwest of New Orleans. Forecasters once feared a storm that chased nearly 2 million from the coast would arrive as a devastating Category 4 with much more powerful winds.

While New Orleans avoided a direct hit, the storm could be devastating where it did strike. For most of the past half century, the bayou communities that thrived in the Barataria basin have watched their land literally disappear. A combination of factors — oil drilling, hurricanes, river levees, damming of rivers — have destroyed marshes and swamps that once flourished in this river delta.

From CNN:

There were reports of water going over the Industrial Canal levee near a railroad bridge, said Chris Macaluso, a spokesman for the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration. The Port of New Orleans will raise the bridge to ease pressure on the system, he said.

The Industrial Canal levee failed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, devastating the Lower Ninth Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said two Navy boats that were being scrapped at a facility on the canal broke away from their moorings and were driven against the pilings of a nearby bridge.

A tow boat was being dispatched to retrieve the vessels, the agency said. Brandon Touchard, emergency coordinator of St. Charles Parish, said that five barges had also come loose there.

Gustav made landfall Monday morning near the coastal town of Cocodrie, Louisiana, about 80 miles southwest of New Orleans.

Batten Down the Hatches: Gustav Set to Hit Gulf Coast Monday Morning

September 1, 2008

It’s almost here! The “Storm of the Century”, Hurricane Gustav, is starting to bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the Gulf Coast. Not that there is anyone left in New Orleans to witness it (other than CNN, Fox News, NBC etc…)

From MSNBC:

With a historic evacuation of nearly 2 million people from the Louisiana coast complete, gun-toting police and National Guardsmen stood watch as rain started to fall on this city’s empty streets Sunday night — and even presidential politics took a back seat as the nation waited to see if Hurricane Gustav would be another Katrina.

The storm was set to crash ashore late Monday morning with frightful force, testing the three years of planning and rebuilding that followed Katrina’s devastating blow to the Gulf Coast. The storm has already killed at least 94 people on its path through the Caribbean.

Painfully aware of the failings that led to that horrific suffering and more than 1,600 deaths, this time officials moved beyond merely insisting tourists and residents leave south Louisiana. They threatened arrest, loaded thousands onto buses and warned that anyone who remained behind would not be rescued.

Col. Mike Edmondson, state police commander, said he believed that 90 percent of the population had fled the Louisiana coast. The exodus of 1.9 million people is the largest evacuation in state history, and thousands more had left from Mississippi, Alabama and flood-prone southeast Texas.

Late Sunday, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued one last plea to the roughly 100,000 people still left on the coast: “If you’ve not evacuated, please do so. There are still a few hours left.”

Hurricane Gustav Approaches New Orleans

August 31, 2008

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has ordered residents to evacuate the city as Hurricane Gustav is expected to batter the U.S. Gulf Coast harder than Katrina did just three years ago.

From AFP:

Killer Hurricane Gustav churned toward the US Gulf Coast Sunday where residents jammed highways on mandatory orders to evacuate New Orleans, still battered by the 2005 Hurricane Katrina catastrophe.

A slightly weakened Gustav — still a dangerous Category 3 storm with winds near 125 miles (205 kilometers) per hour — battered Cuba Sunday after claiming at least 81 lives in its tear across the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica.

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, desperate to avoid a replay of the 2005 Katrina catastrophe, ordered the city emptied on Sunday in the face of what he called “the storm of the century” and roads quickly filled with fleeing residents.

From the Washington Post:

Federal and local relief officials began preparations for the storm last week, and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was expected to fly to Louisiana again Sunday. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, are scheduled to make a stop in Jackson, Miss., Sunday to be briefed on the preparations for the storm, which threatened to overshadow the Republican Party convention that begins Monday.

The White House, which was strongly criticized for a slow response when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans three years ago, announced early Sunday that Bush might forego his Minnesota trip.

From Bloomberg:

President George W. Bush declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and ordered federal aid. Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana issued state emergency and disaster declarations and alerted National Guard units.

The Army Corps of Engineers stockpiled sandbags to repair any breaches in the New Orleans levees, said Bill Irwin, the Corps’s FEMA liaison. Katrina’s damage to the ring of barriers surrounding the below-sea-level city in 2005 caused flooding of 80 percent of the area and forced 250,000 residents to flee.

The Corps has worked to strengthen the levees since Katrina. Work isn’t scheduled to be complete until 2011.

The storm may flood all of New Orleans in the worst case, Mayor Nagin said, adding that the city’s West Bank, which was spared by Katrina, is also at risk. The storm surge is predicted to be between 15 to 24 feet and levees protecting the West Bank are probably about 8 to 10 feet high, Nagin said.

Gustav Strengthens Into Hurricane, Heads For Gulf Coast

August 29, 2008

On the three year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, residents of New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast are bracing for another major storm.

From the Associated Press:

Gustav became a hurricane again on Friday as it plowed toward Cayman Islands resorts, the start of a buildup that could take it to the U.S. Gulf Coast as a fearsome Category-3 storm three years after Hurricane Katrina.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gustav could grow to a Category 3 storm, with winds above 111 mph (180 kph), by the time it hits the US Gulf coast next week. Gustav could strike anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to Texas, but forecasters said there’s a better-than-ever chance that New Orleans will get slammed by at least tropical-storm-force winds.


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