Gauging Gustav

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Water spills over the top of a levee on the Industrial Canal in New Orleans.

Water spills over the top of a levee on the Industrial Canal in New Orleans. Source: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

As of this posting, Hurricane Gustav has made landfall on the Gulf Coast southwest of New Orleans, and he's hitting it hard. Not, at this point, in Katrina fashion, but it's still no joke. The levees are holding, but water is sloshing over the tops of them. Winds are snapping off tree limbs and doing enough damage to cause major power outages. What's definitely different, this time around, is the human response. According to the AP, the Louisiana Coast is "all-but-deserted," as officials stated early and often, in no uncertain terms, that everyone must evacuate. We'll take an hour to get a full update from the coast, and wrap with a quick update from Ken Rudin about how Gustav — and Sarah Palin — are playing at the RNC in St. Paul.

UPDATE: Click here to find the US Geological Survey's real-time map of water levels along the Gulf Coast.
Click here for Andy Carvin's social media project on Gustav, chock-full of user-provided updates on the storm.



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I hate to say this, but until Katrina literally overwhelmed the bulwarks against nature, we pretty much gave little credence to the power of Mother Nature. (As that old commercial: "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!) We'd forgotten the power of wind and water - (I'm trying to find the line from the Tao).

We wowed at the destructiveness of the Christmas Tsunami, but that was a world a way. Now, after Katrina and the Cedar, Iowa and hence Mississippi floods, we again respect water.

So, for this time, people will respect the power. Since Gustav downgraded, rather than upgrades as Katrina did, will people conveniently forget for the next one?

Sent by susan | 2:17 PM | 9-1-2008

here's that passage from the Tao to which I referred. it's the Ursula LeGuin translation:

8. Easy by nature

True goodness
is like water.
Water is good
for everything.
It doesn't compete.

It goes right
to the low loathsome places,
and so finds the way.

For a house,
the good thing is level ground.
In thinking,
depth is good.
The good of giving is magnanimity;
of speaking, honesty;
a government, order.
The good of work is skill,
and of action, timing.

No competition,
so no blame.

Sent by susan | 2:21 PM | 9-1-2008

I wonder how the folks in Florida feel, knowing that so much media, faith, and political attention is being paid to New Orleans and Louisiana with an impending storm. Meanwhile, they're still cleaning up from Faye and expect more, weekly.

Sent by Bill Fenstermaker | 2:22 PM | 9-1-2008

I also wonder if the "Jerry's Kids" telethon will suffer from lack of attention this year.

Sent by Bill Fenstermaker | 2:24 PM | 9-1-2008

A caller mentioned the newspaper-stuffed levies. Here's a link to some investigation on that.

Sent by Karl Braun | 2:57 PM | 9-1-2008

bush's term is ending on sorry note

Sent by Hudson Pitts | 3:42 PM | 9-1-2008