not too far from filling in the bowl
Google Earth Helps Place the Flow from a New Orleans Neighborhood into the Canal in Context

NASA's First Katrina Before and After Comparison


The images are shown in false color to make water visible against the land. Water is black or dark blue where it is colored with mud, vegetation is bright green, and clouds are light blue and white. The large images provided above provide a broader view of the region. They show flooding along the Mississippi and Alabama coast, particularly around Mobile Bay and parts of coastal Mississippi. The large images are at MODIS’ maximum resolution, but both the August 30 and August 27 images are available in additional resolutions from the MODIS Rapid Response Team.

NASA images courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

[My husband David points out that their description is confusing. I believe the turquoise blue color is shallow water in the city of New Orleans.] See also their Mississippi and Alabama coastal comparison photo.

And the water has had another 24 hours to rise since that photo was taken.

NASA update 8:48 PM, 8/31: The Washington Post has a NASA simulation using satellite maps of how much of New Orleans disappears under water as water levels rise.

(Via BoingBoing, hat tip to Lis Riba.)

MEANWHILE, there begins to be talk of a death toll in the thousands. (My personal estimate is that this is an event on the scale of the French heat wave in terms of its body count; I'm guessing low five figures.)

"We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water," and other people dead in attics, Mayor Ray Nagin said. Asked how many, he said: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands."

The frightening estimate came as Army engineers struggled to plug New Orleans' breached levees with giant sandbags and concrete barriers, while authorities drew up plans to clear out the tens of thousands of people left in the Big Easy and all but abandon the flooded-out city.

There will be a "total evacuation of the city. We have to. The city will not be functional for two or three months," Nagin said.

Most of those storm refugees — 15,000 to 20,000 people — were in the Superdome, which had become hot and stuffy, with broken toilets and nowhere for anyone to bathe. "It can no longer operate as a shelter of last resort," the mayor said.

Nagin estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people remained in New Orleans, a city of nearly half a million people. He said 14,000 to 15,000 a day could be evacuated.

In light of the situation, I can't imagine why the current Washington Post headline reads More than 25,000 People to be Evacualted. More? Yeah, I'd say 50,000 - 100,000 is more than 25,000. A whole hell of a lot more. From what planet are they reporting on this story? Perhaps NASA could be persuaded to give them a lift back.

UPDATE 9/7: NASA has more Katrina photos up.

Navigation aids

For those new to blogs, here are shortcuts to information about our collaborative maps project:

First of all, my Katrina archive contains all blog posts related to Katrina. The archive page is updated each time I make a new Katrina post, so it would be the best place to bookmark.  On the other hand, it contains many images, so on a dial-up connection it would be slow to load. Also, separately, I have an online album of Katrina map images, Katrina Floods New Orleans, 2005.

As of now, my individual Katrina posts related to maps are:

  1. New Orleans Levee Break(s) Before and After
  2. not too far from filling in the bowl
  3. NASA's First Katrina Before and After Comparison
  4. Google Earth Helps Place the Flow from a New Orleans Neighborhood into the Canal in Context
  5. DigitalGlobe's New Orleans Before and After Images Are Up
  6. How to Find Out if Your New Orleans House Is Under Water
  7. How to Find Out if Your New Orleans House Is Under Water, Part 2: We Really Need to Integrate Topo Maps and Known Water Depths into the System
  8. Escape Routes for Hurricane Victims
  9. Welcome, Forbes and BBC Readers
  10. Associated Press & Digital Globe Make Zoomable New Orleans Satellite Map Available
    Meanwhile, New Orleans Burns
  11. New Orleans: Notes from My Parents
  12. Welcome, New York Times Readers

Also, my sister, Karen Cramer Shea, has been guest-blogging for me while I was away over the weekend. Her posts are:

  1. Lost in Katrina
  2. Rebuilding New Orleans