By all indications, it's going to be a big, slow moving drencher of a hurricane that could be The Big One capable of massive flooding -- and by all indications from its brush with Florida, this is an extremely wet hurricane.
For those I know down there, unless the maps look better by noon tomorrow, I would plan to get the hell out of town, just so you're sure you can get out. If this is the Big One, you don't want to get caught in a traffic jam.
Safety first. Booze soon after.
Apparently, the hurricane is becoming noticeably larger, and it is continuing to go a bit further west than expected. The 5am forecast shows the eye passing right over the eastern part of the city, but the hurricane has tracked even further west from that time. The hurricane is currently a CAT-3, but experts are saying it could strengthen to a CAT-4 or even a CAT-5 before hitting.
The risk, basically, is that the hurricane will create a one-two punch, where not only does it push ashore with a storm surge, but it's counterclockwise rotation will actually pull water into New Orleans too... specifically, Lake Pontchartrain to the north, which, along with the expected rain, has the potential to flood the center of the city to the extent that even New Orleans' famed pumping stations might be unable to deal with it, as they'd be under water too.
New Orleans would be a bowl, essentially, with no easy way to get water out of it, filled with industrial pollution, snakes, gators... and all the people who weren't able to get out in time. For more details on this theoretical disaster, please visit this site and listen to the broadcast... the one that predicts that a CAT-5 on this hurricane's current course could potentially kill over 40,000 people.
Experts thought that there was a 1 in 6 chance for a killer storm hitting New Orleans over the next 50 years. This storm's current forecast is shaping up to potentially become New Orleans' worst case scenario.