Tropical Storm Gustav is expected to pass close to Jamaica today, and then move into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will, in all probability, gain strength and hit the Gulf Coast as a hurricane.
Of course, it's too early yet to tell where it will hit--anywhere from the Florida panhandle to Texas. And it's always possible it could hit New Orleans.
I don't want anyone to be harmed during this storm--although it's already killed several in Haiti--but all I can think is, "Please, not New Orleans again."
Three years ago, I remember watching the weather reports closely. We had just been to New Orleans the previous month with Kim and Steve, and the "bon temps" were still fresh in my mind. We were there during Tropical Storm Cindy, which was later upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, and made it out just before they closed the airport because of heavy rains from Hurricane Dennis. On the 29th, I had the day off, and I remember sitting out on the deck talking to my Mom on the phone as we watched the news reports coming in that Katrina was hitting New Orleans. I had a sense of "They'll ride it out, it'll be okay."
Later that day, the levees began to breach, but it wasn't until the following day, when I was back at work, that I began to hear that the levees had completely failed in several spots, and virtually the entire city was flooded. Two days after the Louisiana landfall, 85% of New Orleans was under water.
I can still feel the horror I felt then, as I watched my favorite city descend into mayhem and madness. I'm sure none of us will ever forget it. I won't go into the politics of it all--there was a complete breakdown on virtually every level. I'll just keep everyone who is in harm's way in my prayers, and keep thinking, "Please, not New Orleans again."