Monday, September 1, 2008

Gustav making landfall in Terrebonne Parish

Right now, Gustav is making landfall just west of Grand Isle, LA officially as a category 3 hurricane, though probably in reality as a strong category 2. Gustav has had some moments of intensification throughout the last 24 hours (like finally regaining a complete eyewall an hour before landfall), but never regained category 4 status, and thankfully spared southeast Louisiana a worst-case scenario. It's still much too early, but I think Gustav will be remembered as the first true test of post-Katrina Louisiana, a test we will hopefully pass.

But it's not over yet.

About an hour ago, an elevated observing station in Southwest Pass - at the tip of Plaquemines parish on the MS River - recorded peak sustained winds of near 100mph with gusts to 117mph. The primary threat to the region remains the storm surge, and winds are also still on the increase in metro New Orleans for the next few hours. Water continues to push into Lake Pontchartrain. The newly reconstructed floodwall in the West Bank will be vulnerable. Floodgates have been closed on the Harvey canal in the West Bank in an attempt to keep the storm surge out. Overnight, Plaquemines parish officials constructed an emergency levee over LA-23 highway in an attempt to control the surge there. And the eyewall is yet to reach Houma, where it is forecasted to make a direct hit with 100mph winds.

By all accounts, the preparations stage of Gustav was a success. Nearly 2 million people were evacuated in one of the largest, most orderly mass movements of people in American history. Coordination at all levels of government was good. Now we have to wait and see if it was enough.

You can watch WWL-TV live online for complete coverage of the landfall. Also,'s BridgeCam is giving live shots outside. And the NYTimes is posting eyewitness reports.

Gustav at landfall

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