It’s been a while since I mentioned it here, but I grew up in the southern part of Louisiana. Not terribly near the coast, but still way down south. Most folks have left the coastal areas now, and that’s a good thing. The next 12 to 24 hours are going to be very rough, as hurricane Gustav makes landfall somewhere near Houma, Louisiana. It’s not all that far from where Katrina made landfall three years ago this week. Though for levees, settlements, floods and homeowners, a small change can mean a decisive difference.
For our readers who don’t have an immediate mental geography of the southern United States, the diameter of the red area (this a radar image, so the red indicates very bad weather conditions indeed) is about 200km. The top sustained wind speeds will be over 190 kph (about the speed that Mercedes was going when it made your car shake as it whooshed past on the autobahn), with gusts up toward 240 kph (good cruising speed for a TGV). Katrina is fresh enough in people’s minds that compliance with the evacuation call was very good, but this could still be a devastating storm.