Monday, August 29, 2005


7:33 a.m.
After some form of unconsciousness, we return to see Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center at his post. Makes us feel like a slacker, he does.

The storm is on shore, and the surge is huge. Up to four feet of water over a highway in Mississippi. Plaquemines Parish, La., was the epicenter; then again, the eye is about 42 miles across, so there's plenty of epicenter to the hurricane.

1:40 a.m.
Jefferson Parish Fire Department units ordered to stand down.

Wind gust of 107 mph in NO. Forecasters expect sustained winds at that speed starting in the next couple hours.

1:30 a.m.
One more thought, and then a little break:

We read, with disgust, the remarks of some conservatives who blamed the imminent wollop to New Orleans as a sign from a wrathful God, condemning NO's hedonism. We read, with satisfaction, the swift condemnation of such remarks. The condemnation came from other conservatives.

1:13 a.m.
The ABC affiliate in NO reports looting.

1:01 a.m.
Wind gust of 90 mph reported in downtown New Orleans.

12:54 a.m.
More live vid coming in. CNN has a sodium-tinted shot overlooking the SuperDome. Yes, it's still there. Curtains of rain, too. The lights are still on. We wonder if the National Guard will enforce the SuperDome's no-smoking policy. Doubt it.

Did you know that CNN is your Hurricane Headquarters?

12:48 a.m.
Finally, some fresh vid. It's only a static shot showing the tops of some trees, but at least it's live. That's on MSNBC. Over at Fox they have a herky-jerk vidphone shot showing some high rises and a rainy business district. Fox also has a crawl saying that Katrina has killed again. Three dead in Louisiana, apparently from a storm-related wreck.

CNN had a commercial. At least it's not for Enzyte.

12:42 a.m.
Another damned Enzyte commercial! Bob dives into the pool! Bob loses his trunks! Bob steps out naked and even impresses the black woman!

God, how we loath Bob.

Back to the storm. Maybe some lessening on the southwest side of the hurricane, or maybe the ground-based radar is overwhelmed and can't see past what's already in its face. The satellite snap seems to confirm the latter theory.

Current wind gusts of 63 mph in NO. Predicted landfall in New Orleans: 7 a.m. Central.

MSNBC is showing Brian Williams -- on tape -- at the SuperDome. Another case of letting the talent rest so he can shine for the daytime audience. Where are the Iron Men of broadcasting? If Dan Rather was still around we'd expect to see him tied to a tree all night long. Especially if he scored some smack.

12:30 a.m.
You know it's a lull when CNN interviews a PR specialist with Ritz-Carlton Hotels about "hurricane hospitality." Jesus, no wonder people hate the media. If reporters aren't out in the wind and rain, they're interviewing flacks about how hurricanes treat their guests during deadly storms. It's a feel-good world, ain't it?

This just in: Station 42040 of the National Data Buoy Center reports a wave height of 38.1 feet. The buoy is located 64 nautical miles south of Dauphin Island, Ala.

12:05 a.m.
Katrina is still a Category 5 storm -- 160 mph sustained winds, storm surge up to 30 feet in New Orleans.

Bonnie Schneider, a CNN meteorologist, is really into this hurricane. She seems to dig her wind speeds. We dig her.

Cherry-picking the 'net, we came across this nugget: WWL-TV reports that the SuperDome has a single primary generator. It is underground.

11:40 p.m.
We are sorely disappointed at the lack of good (or even fresh) vid. One live and shaky remote cam from WVUE, showing a parking lot, some trees and the hints of waves in the darkness beyond. Videophone reports from CNN and Fox. It's slow going right now.

MSNBC has Lisa Daniels pulling a late-nighter. Fox has Greg Jarrett and the mandatory Foxbabe in the sidecar. The A-Teams must be catching a few Zs before the eyewall brushes New Orleans at sunrise.

Relacore for your belly fat. Enzyte to increase your manhood. Damn, but we are sick of Smiling Bob and his dangly bits at every commercial break.

11:25 p.m.
Like rust, Max Mayfield from the National Hurricane Center never sleeps. Earlier tonight he was lining them up and knocking them down -- on MSNBC, then CNN, then Fox. Best part: He didn't repeat his lines. He mixed it up and gave fresh stuff to each outlet.

On CNN right now: David Mattingly on the French Quarter, via videophone. Showing some snips of interviews with drunken fools in a daiquiri go-between joint. The sight of all those spinning daiquiri blenders -- a wall of frozen, intoxicating goodness -- made us flash back to previous lives.

As a person: Great times had by all in America's best city. We loved visiting New Orleans because it felt like a foreign country and you didn't have to cross any borders, excepting the frightening Pontchartrain causeway.

As a former reporter: Watching Mattingly and Fox's Shep Smith on the Quarter made us long to be Right There, notepad and recorder in the pockets of a slicker. We miss that part of life, the experience of parachuting into a situation, talking to as many people as possible, capturing the scene for history.

We even miss the surly moments of that life. Shep Smith had one on Sunday. He pigeonholed a bystander and asked the man what he was doing outside, walking his dogs as a hurricane loomed.

"None of your f--king business," the man replied.

Nothing beats reporting.

Katrina is now 170 miles from New Orleans. The heart of the storm looks a little smaller than it did an hour ago, but that's partly because the hurricane's leading edges are already over land.

11:08 p.m.
CNN's Aaron Brown called it "the storm of our lifetime." Another reason we like the guy, despite his decidedly thoughtful, un-TV ways.

MSNBC had Tucker Carlson on live. His interviewing technique is awful, just awful. Carlson hasn't met a hurricane question he can't dumb down; no wonder he kept getting monosyllabic answers from his guests.

11 p.m. CDT
The latest word from the National Weather Service has the hurricane slamming into southeastern Louisiana as a strong Category 4, with winds around 150 mph. Small consolation; as Max Mayfield from the National Hurricane Center put it, the difference between a 4 and a 5 is the difference between being run over by a semi or a train. Either way, the smackdown is extreme.

Then there is this warning from the NWS:



We're keeping an eye via the cables. More TK.


Anonymous said...

Get over it. You people should have left town when you were told to instead of thinking it was going to miss you like the other 4 did. You were told that a Hurricane was coming on August 23rd and you should have followed the news story. You have no one to blame but yourself. You did not see any rich people, or people who appear to have an IQ on TV crying because they left days before the storm came like they were told. It is a tragic event in any case, but every one that lives in that city knows they are surrounded by water and that those levees were in poor shape. And for ALL the people that said " I did not know it could happen to us" just remember the Hurricanes of 1722,1794,1856,1893,1909,1915,1947,1956,1965,1985,1998,2002. And remember Hurricane Georges in 1998, when they knew they could not evacuate everyone so they opened up The Louisiana Superdome and those stupid people looted it. That was pathetic. I don't feel sorry people that can't follow directions and blame everything on other people. And most of you are right "white people did this to you". President Bush prayed for weeks for a giant thunderstorm to come wipe out your little city.

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