The conditions look very good for Hurricane Katrina to be a very nasty affair when it hits land. There’s little or no shear to tear it apart, and the water in the Gulf is bathtub hot. If it hits on or near New Orleans, well, this is about the most Not Good of the Not Good scenarios.
From Wunderground’s Dr. Jeff Masters’ weblog:
I’d hate to be an Emergency Management official in New Orleans right now. Katrina is pretty much following the NHC forecast, and appears likely to pass VERY close to New Orleans. I’m surprised they haven’t ordered an evacuation of the city yet. While the odds of a catastropic hit that would completely flood the city of New Orleans are probably 10%, that is way too high in my opinion to justify leaving the people in the city. If I lived in the city, I would evactuate NOW! There is a very good reason that the Coroner’s office in New Orleans keeps 10,000 body bags on hand. The risks are too great from this storm, and a weekend away from the city would be nice anyway, right? GO! New Orleans needs a full 72 hours to evacuate, and landfall is already less than 72 hours away. Get out now and beat the rush. You’re not going to have to go to work or school on Monday anyway. If an evacuation is ordered, not everyone who wants to get out may be able to do so–particularly the 60,000 poor people with no cars.