Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Earth Observatory provides these before and after photos of New Orleans.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, much of New Orleans is under water in the top satellite image, taken on August 30, 2005, at 11:45 a.m. CDT by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Early news reports say that as much as 80 percent of the city is flooded after levies (sic - dumbasses don't know the plural of levee is levees) failed to hold Katrina’s massive storm surge back. The flooding is getting worse as water slowly seeps into the city from Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River.

On Saturday, August 27, 2005, New Orleans formed a tan and green grid sandwiched between the lake shore and the river in the lower image. Three days later, dark pools of water covered the eastern half of the city, and a large section of Lake Pontchartrain ballooned into the region immediately west of the city. Widespread flooding is visible elsewhere in the top image. Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas have nearly blended into a single body of water, separated only by a narrow strip of land. Dark smudges line the rivers flowing into both lakes, a sign that water covers the ground around them.

The images are shown in false color to make water visible against the land. Water is black or dark blue where it is colored with mud, vegetation is bright green, and clouds are light blue and white. The large images provided above provide a broader view of the region. They show flooding along the Mississippi and Louisiana coast, particularly around Mobile Bay and parts of coastal Mississippi. The large images are at MODIS’ maximum resolution, but are available from the MODIS Rapid Response Team in additional resolutions.

NASA images courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

You may get a better perspective from this shot of downtown New Orleans:

You can see even better, more compelling photographs on television. The point I want to make is that we have this incredible technology that brings us high-resolution imagery from hundreds of miles in space, yet, Mother Nature's wrath cannot be soothed. Nor can a hurricane be dissuaded from making its way to death and destruction. Or can it? Couldn't we "seed" them, when they are first generated, with something (I don't know … dry ice perhaps) that would dissipate its energy source - the heat it thrives on from the waters of the Atlantic?

There are brilliant minds that can figure this out – after all, we have flying cars, don't we? All it takes is money. How much money will it cost to rebuild this wonderful city, if it even can be rebuilt. The lives are lost, the history of New Orleans submerged and hidden from view.

Is the Café du Monde still there? Jackson Square? The Cathedral? Margaritaville? Those wonderful bed and breakfast locations in the Vieux Carré? What about the street car named "Desire" over in the garden district on Rue St. Charles?

Man, I am really saddened. Dallas is now sheltering more than 1,000 souls from N'awlins and more are expected soon.

Last night, Stomps With Foot said that Venezuela has offered and sent aid – wait, isn't this the nation whose president that Grand Panjandrum Pat Robertson wants to have assassinated. The irony, the irony.