Katrina Coming to Town Near You
90% of people killed by hurricanes die by drowning. Main cause of death is storm surge, immense sea waves driven against the coast. Hurricanes rotate counter-clockwise in Northern Hemisphere. A hurricane making landfall headed north onto Gulf Coast is worst on its eastern side where 150 mph winds drive the surge onto the coast. On the western side the winds are coming from land to sea, diminishing storm surge. Katrina was headed for landfall twenty miles west of New Orleans. Hours before hitting the coast it veered right and came ashore twenty miles east of the city instead. The storm surges on the east side of the storm, along the Mississippi coast, were more than twenty feet of water. Had the storm not veered, those storm surges would have been in New Orleans. 1,836 people died in the storm. Had there been twenty feet more water than there was, everyone remaining in New Orleans would have drowned, 120 thousand people. It was that close.