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Context of 'Evening August 29, 2005: New Orleans Official Say May Open Convention Center as Temporary Refuge'

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In “Keeping its head above water: New Orleans faces doomsday scenario,” Houston Chronicle science reporter Eric Berger says New Orleans will be devastated by a major hurricane. According to scientists, “[i]n the face of an approaching storm,… the city’s less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston. Economically, the toll would be shattering… .” [Houston Chronicle, 12/1/2001]

Entity Tags: Eric Berger

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

Mayor Ray Nagin, a Democrat and a former cable television executive, is sworn into office as the mayor of New Orleans Parish, succeeding Marc H. Morial. [US Conference of Mayors, 5/13/2002; Josh Fecht, 9/28/2005]

Entity Tags: Marc H. Morial, Ray Nagin

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues its fifth forecast/advisory. Tropical Depression 12 has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Katrina. The NHC expects additional strengthening in the next 24 hours. The NHC models indicate that Katrina will keep building slowly eastward, moving across South Florida over the next 36-48 hours and into the Gulf of Mexico within 72 hours. The models, however, are inconsistent in predicting the next landfall. One model indicates Katrina will hit New Orleans, others indicate Katrina will make second landfall on the Northern Florida Peninsula. Other aspects of the NHC Advisory include:
bullet Location: At 25.6 N, 77.2 W
bullet Direction and speed: NW at 9 mph
bullet Maximum Sustained Winds: Near 45 mph with higher gusts
bullet Probability that Katrina’s eye will pass within 75 miles of:
bullet West Palm Beach, FL: 29 percent
bullet Panama City, FL: 10 percent
bullet Gulfport, MS: 3 percent
bullet New Orleans, LA: 2 percent [National Hurricane Center, 8/24/2005; National Hurricane Center, 8/24/2005; National Hurricane Center, 8/24/2005]

Entity Tags: Hurricane Katrina, National Hurricane Center

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

Around 7 pm this evening, LSU Hurricane Center scientists share their latest prediction models with emergency officials at the Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge. On the giant screen looming over the officials, scientists post the sum of all fears: New Orleans will go under. Everyone knows what that means: a major water rescue of untold thousands. [Time, 9/4/2005] The model predicts that Katrina’s storm surge may weaken and overtop New Orleans’ levees, causing massive flooding of Plaquemines Parish, New Orleans’ 9th Ward, Michoud area, and Mid-City, as well as large parts of Slidell. [Schleifstein, 8/27/2005; Daily Advertiser, 8/27/2005] The Times-Picayune will publish the projected storm surge map the next morning. [Times-Picayune, 8/28/2005 pdf file] Reportedly, the Center also e-mails their modeling results to state and federal agencies, including the National Hurricane Center. [MSNBC, 9/9/2005]

Entity Tags: LSU Hurricane Center, National Emergency Operations Center, National Hurricane Center

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

At some point this evening, city officials say they might open the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as a temporary refuge to shelter an estimated 50,000 people made homeless by the storm. [Times-Picayune, 8/30/2005] FEMA officials will later say that they knew nothing of this plan .

Entity Tags: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, City of New Orleans

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

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