Hurricane Gustav

UPDATE (8:30AM Monday, Sept 1st): Gustav made landfall on the central coast of Louisiana and has dropped to a Category 2 hurricane.  Nearly 100K people without power in the New Orleans area

UPDATE (2PM Saturday, August 30th) : Gustav has been upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145mph.

The latest tracking model of Hurricane Gustav has it making landfall in Louisiana’s central coast with a “cone of uncertainty” stretching from Houston to the Mississippi/Alabama coastal boundary.  Right now, the margin of error is 250 miles east of west of that point (a pretty wide margin of error).  The closer Gustav gets to the Gulf Coast, the more narrow this cone will become as the landfall prediction becomes more accurate.

A couple of Justine’s friends are evacuating from New Orleans and headed to Houston to stay with us for a few days as the storm blows through.  Better safe than sorry.  We’re glad they decided to join us for a few days.

We have plenty of food and water (and alcohol) to weather the storm if it drifts our way.

I almost hope the storm hits the Texas coast instead of Louisiana, because I think we could take the hit much easier than they could.  All the official quotes I’ve heard about New Orleans say the levees are built back up to “pre-Katrina” standards.  Which means they still suck.

New Orleans government may call for mandatory evacuations sometime today or tomorrow (if they haven’t already).  This will mean access to contraflow lanes to move everyone away from the Louisiana coast much faster, in theory.  I hope all my friends and family in the New Orleans area have gotten out before that happens.

On a personal note, I’ve been pretty disgusted with local news coverage of hurricanes ever since Hurricane Rita.  Because of this, I usually rely on national sites like NOAA or the NHC for my hurricane data.  I prefer to get my news from sites that simply display the weather data without interpretation that you get from reporters trying to speculate the details of the hurricane.

Hurricane reporting that uses words like “might”, “could” and “possibly” is simply speculation.  I’d rather get the statistics from the original source and make my own judgment of the direction and severity of the storm.

That being said, I think we do a better job at the newspaper than most other local news outlets, but we still have room for improvement.

I find it fascinating (but not very enlightening) to make note of which local TV station uses the “best” spinning hurricane graphics and the most ominous hurricane “theme” music.  Someone should do a Youtube montage of these some day to show the ridiculousness of it all.

Regardless of the news coverage, I hope everyone on the Louisiana coast is safe from harm this weekend.

Take care, folks.

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