Hurricane Betsy was an erratic hurricane with movement taking her nearly up 30 deg north then abruptly turning south around the southern tip of Florida. Key Largo was hit directly then the New Orleans area would be next.The death toll reached 75 when all was said & done.Both Florida & louisiana were very lucky as things could have been much worse.
Vital statistics as follows:
While much of the information on this and the other hurricane
pages linked below deal with Louisiana in general and the New Orleans area
in particular, a great deal of the information is general in nature an can
be applied to any area.
|Type||Lake Charles||New Orleans|
|Cat 1 once every...||8 Years||8 Years|
|Cat 2 once every...||19 Years||19 Years|
|Cat 3 once every...||35 Years||32 Years|
|Cat 4 once every...||72 Years||70 Years|
|Cat 5 once every...||210 Years||180 Years|
Since 1899, 25 storms have made direct hits on Louisiana, 12 of these were major storms - Catagory 3, 4, & 5
With that said - The Office of Emergency Preparedness estimates it would take 72 - 82 hours to evacuate the approximate 1.2 million people in the metro New Orleans area. The only escape route from New Orleans (Interstate 10) is well known for monumental traffic jams during rush hour, this will only become more packed if a quick evacuation is necessary. It must also be remembered that many other routes are through low lying areas and may flood early, and that when winds reach 55 mph most routes out of New Orleans will be closed.
72 hours before Andrew (August 1992) hit the Louisiana coast it was 6 hours East of Miami in the Atlantic Ocean and no one knew where it was going to go. A turn just hours before its Louisiana landfall would have put it right on top of New Orleans.
The following chart shows just how difficult deciding on when to call for an evacuation becomes. The chart shows different speeds of storms and the 72 hour distance from the New Orleans area. the further out to sea the storm is, the more difficult to predict where it will make landfall.
|Storm Speed||72 Hour Distance|
|5 mph||360 miles|
|8 mph||576 miles|
|10 mph||720 miles|
|12 mph||864 miles|
|15 mph||1080 miles|
Added to these problems is the fact that the Red Cross will no
longer man shelters South of Interstate 12 and the National Weather Service
has discovered that high rise buildings, thought to be good "shelters of
last resort", have problems of their own. Recent studies show that
winds at 100 - 300 feet can be as much as 50% stronger than those at ground
level. This can mean that 75 mph winds at ground level, a minimal
hurricane, could reach 300 mph on the 15th floor.
The City has designated shelters of last resort, but, the locations will not be given out until needed.
Evacuate Early! The sooner you start your evacuation the less chance you have of being caught in traffic, high winds, or rising
This page is provide for general information.
If a storm is approaching your area listen to official information from your local government and act accordingly.
Make your emergency plans well in advance and remember friends, neighbors
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