Comparing the capability today with that at the time of Katrina, Dietrich said: "I think we have a very strong understanding of how hurricane wave storm develop and how they can threaten a coastal environment."
The models are now being tested by actual events. The winds were picking up early last night in New Orleans, said Bred Jacobs, CIO at Loyola University in the city. Jacobs was there for Katrina.
The university suspended operations on Tuesday, and students are sheltering in place. There is ample food and supplies, Jacobs said by email. "We worked to harden out IT facilities quite a bit since Katrina and are hoping to stay operational in our main data center," Jacobs said. "Tapes we shipped off site and we placed our hot-site on alert as a precaution."
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
Read more about high performance computing in Computerworld's High Performance Computing Topic Center.