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Hurricane Katrina Coverage

August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina is about to lay the holy wrath down upon New Orleans and the gulf coast of Louisiana/Mississippi. More on that in a minute. My favorite quote of the day was a woman who said, "This came from God, the way it came so fast out of nowhere." Idiot, the storm has been forming for the past week plus. You'd think that in the year 2005 people would understand that hurricanes happen to move heat out of the equatorial area and transfer it up toward the north pole. But some people still get stuck in 3000 year old thinking, blaming perfectly reasonable and explainable weather events of "acts of God". Yes, a Category 5 hurricane hitting New Orleans is a horrible thing. But it's a perfectly rational thing that can be explained with maps and figures by people who know weather much, much, MUCH more than I do. I worked in TV news long enough to know that there's so much that I don't know about weather, but that others do know. And that weather patterns are not an "act of God". But I suppose you'll tell yourself whatever you have to in order to make it through a four-hour long line at the Superdome.

Slight BB6 spoiler. Janelle won the America's Choice vote for the phone call from home. I won't tell you who the call was from (it may or may not be a surprise to you). I voted for her several times on Why? Hoping that her winning would piss off the "Nerd Herd" (aka "Cappy's Cult"), the group of five, now down to four, that have made the show difficult to watch online at times this year due to their annoying personalities and often sharply mean-spirited attitudes (Ivette in particular.) A direct quote from a live update post on "Feeds are back Jan won the AC and talked to [name withheld] and Ivette is inconsolable." The "Ivette is inconsolable" part made it all worthwhile to me. The delusional Nerd Herd thinks that the voting was rigged because Janelle won. No, she won because America can't stand you. Capeché?

Though, I'm sure when Ivette gets out, she'll blame her not winning it on WFOR, the CBS affiliate in Miami, pre-empting Thursday's show for hurricane coverage. Whatever the case, she lost. HAHAHAHA. One more recap quote regarding the Nerd Herd: "April and Maggie are both telling Ivette, 'There is no way America picked Janelle.'"

Someone flew a banner plane over about a week and a half ago calling for Jennifer and Busto (April) to give their DOR (Departure On Request), but if I was doing it, I'd fly a plane that said, "BB6: No Jury, Amer. Choice Picks The Winner." That's not a true statement (at least from what we've been told... but in the "Summer of Secrets", I'd LOVE for it to play out that way), but I think it would cause the Nerd Herd to turn on each other.

My bro Matt text-messaged me last night to let me know that he spotted Heavin' Steven last night in Nashville, who he tells me is "pushing three bills" (300 pounds.) He was smoking and having dinner with his parents, from what I was told. Funny stuff, for sure. For the uninformed, Heavin' Steven is a kid that Matt and I knew when we were younger. And that's all I have to say about that.

As I type this, it's 10:45 PM Eastern time. I've been watching Hurricane Katrina coverage all day on TV. Fox News and The Weather Channel were covering it heavy early, but CNN and MSNBC jumped on board later in the day, giving a bonanza of coverage. A Category 5 hurricane hitting New Orleans direct is a "worst case scenario", since New Orleans sits 12' below sea level and is surrounded by Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the Mississippi River to the south. Actually, think of it like bowling, where hitting just to the right of the city would be worse (I say that because, from what the meteorologists said on TV, that would overload Lake Pontchartrain and send all of that water into New Orleans.)

Hurricane Katrina's projected path
This is the National Hurricane Center's projected path for Hurricane Katrina.

Earlier today I e-mailed my friend Marvin Tarver, who is the nightside Executive Producer at Tampa Bay's 10. Marvin worked in New Orleans for several years, and he warned me about three years ago about how a hurricane hitting New Orleans would leave Bourbon Street under 5-6' of water. But a Cat. 5? Wow. In the e-mail, I remarked that the National Weather Service referred to Hurricane Katrina as "AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE" (their all-caps, not mine), as opposed to a gentle Cat. 5. I asked Marvin how his friends down there were holding up. He told me: "My friends in New Orleans are hunkered down as best as they can. Most of them are media types who are out covering the storm's approach." Considering how hard I once tried to get a TV job in New Orleans (and that WGNO, the ABC affiliate there, contacted me about a job about three months after I got the Tampa job at WTSP), in hindsight maybe it's a good thing that I never ended up there. Yikes. One of the best cities in the world, and it could suffer extreme destruction. Dammit. You might recall that I begged Hurricane Ivan to spare New Orleans in my 9/15/2004 column. Ivan veered right... but no such luck in this case.

Meanwhile, I'm concerned about my family and friends in Nashville, which is now in the projected path of what will be Tropical Storm Katrina on Tuesday. A Tropical Storm hitting Nashville?!? Believe it. That's how big/powerful Katrina is. Notice where it's anticipated to go on the projected path graphic (taken from the 8/28/2005 11 PM EDT National Hurricane Center Advisory), On one of the cable news networks, they even showed a red area extending to Nashville for "severe" flooding. That's frightening. Things are going to be messed up in the south for quite awhile, and in New Orleans... I can't even fathom what is going to happen there.

You know what the grand irony would be? My parents, brother and sister coming down to Tampa from Nashville to escape a hurricane/tropical storm. Not that they'd need to do that (barring something REALLY unforeseen), but my place would be open to them if need be.

Time to publish this and watch some more hurricane coverage before I get some sleep (I caught a two hour nap earlier so I could stay up a little later.)

Hang in there, New Orleans...

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