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Update [2005-9-6 13:27:25 by Federalist]:
I had to insert this update at the top. The 2004 Hurricane "Pam" simulation summary found on FEMA'S OWN WEBSITE [Google cache], foretold overtopped levees -- other problems -- in NOLA.
Original post:

I felt compelled to post these this evening.  Let it be known, I am a meteorologist.  Last Saturday and Sunday I sat back, like many in my field did, and watched in horror as hurricane Katrina -- a storm of nearly unparalleled strength in recorded history -- barreled toward a certain landfall at or near New Orleans.  What was most eerie about the situation was absolutely knowing what horrors and destruction were about to unfold along the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans.  I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when these things happen -- knowing beforehand that weather is surely about to kill.  Yet, I was powerless to stop it.  My only hope was that people had taken the warnings seriously and that FEMA and others were prepared to respond to what would undoubtedly be a horrific catastrophe.

Much more below the fold.

Everyone I know in meteorology understood that New Orleans was living on borrowed time.  This scenario -- NOLA taking a direct hit from a major hurricane -- had been discussed ad infinitum in meteorology (and emergency management) circles for years as being one of the most (if not the most) deadly serious weather disasters America could ever face.  Unfortunately, last weekend, New Orleans' time had run out.

It should be said over and over again, the resulting devastation in New Orleans was absolutely not some sort of unforeseen surprise.  When I hear Bush or any of his political appointees in FEMA and Homeland Security (all of whom are in full "CYA mode") talk about not anticipating the level of devestation in New Orleans, I become infuriated!!!  It was well known -- well before landfall -- by local emergency managers, scientists, and anyone with common sense what devestation awaited those locations in Katrina's path, NOLA specifically.  Of course, in this Administration, science means about as much as last week's losing lottery ticket -- used chewing gum wrapper.

Anyway, we in the United States are lucky to be served by the most advanced government-run weather service on the globe.  The National Weather Service (NWS) is a science-driven agency who's mission is to protect lives and property from weather hazards.  Without getting too long-winded in my gratitude and accolades for the job those in the Weather Service do, just take it from me that they perform a phenomenal service for the citizens of our nation (BTW, in case you're wondering, I do not work for the NWS -- directly or indirectly -- or any agency of the federal goverment).  Regardless of what Sen. Rick Santorum thinks about the Weather Service, American taxpayers certainly get their money's worth from this federal agency.

On the eve of Katrina's landfall, the professional forecasters at regional National Weather Service offices across the southeast and the agency's National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami gave dire warnings on what was sure to be a weather calamity that this county has not seen in over a century (since the Galveston, TX hurricane of 1900).  The regional Weather Service office at New Orleans/Slidell, LA was -- understandably -- on "red alert".  The public warnings and advisories issued by personnel at the Slidell office spelled out, in horrific detail, what was about to unfold in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.  These selfless, dedicated civil servants, who themselves were in the direct path of this killer, gave all the forewarning anyone in the government should ever need to start gearing up for a massive response.  Yet, this incompetent Administration failed miserably.  It should have been a "slam dunk"...

To prove my point, the following four official NWS "wire" bulletins were just some of the warnings issued by either the National Hurricane Center or the Slidell NWS office -- up to several days before New Orleans met it's fate when Katrina plowed ashore near Slidell along the LA/MS border -- to highlight, in almost gross detail, the impending emergency.  This is only a very small subset of the total number of warnings issued by the NWS before and during Katrina's landfall.  I have posted these advisories in their entirety (any emphasis is mine) for credibility and effect.  Keep in mind, all of the following advisories were public statements issued by the NHC or the Slidell office and were available to anyone (i.e., other government agencies, media, regular folks with a NOAA weather radio or internet connection) in realtime.  As someone who reads Weather Service bulletins often, I was made speechless by the strength of the language contained within these bulletins.  The Weather Service, well aware of the risks of "crying wolf", has never been an agency with an affinity for hype.  Their Katrina warnings, however, were bleak...and spot on:

WTNT32 KNHC 282041
TCPAT2
BULLETIN
HURRICANE KATRINA ADVISORY NUMBER  24
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
4 PM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

...POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC HURRICANE KATRINA HEADED FOR THE NORTHERN GULF COAST...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE NORTH CENTRAL GULF COAST FROM MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA EASTWARD TO THE ALABAMA/FLORIDA BORDER...INCLUDING THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE COMPLETED THIS EVENING.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE WATCH ARE IN EFFECT FROM EAST OF THE ALABAMA/FLORIDA BORDER TO DESTIN FLORIDA...AND FROM WEST OF MORGAN CITY TO INTRACOASTAL CITY LOUISIANA.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS ALSO IN EFFECT FROM DESTIN FLORIDA EASTWARD TO INDIAN PASS FLORIDA...AND FROM INTRACOASTAL CITY LOUISIANA WESTWARD TO CAMERON LOUISIANA.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 4 PM CDT...2100Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE KATRINA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 26.9 NORTH... LONGITUDE 89.0 WEST OR ABOUT 150 MILES SOUTH OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

KATRINA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 13 MPH...AND A GRADUAL TURN TO THE NORTH IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  ON THIS TRACK THE CENTER OF THE HURRICANE WILL BE NEAR THE NORTHERN GULF COAST EARLY MONDAY.  HOWEVER...CONDITIONS ARE ALREADY BEGINNING TO DETERIORATE ALONG PORTIONS OF THE CENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN GULF COAST...AND WILL CONTINUE TO WORSEN THROUGH THE NIGHT.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 165 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. KATRINA IS A POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.  SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN STRENGTH ARE LIKELY UNTIL LANDFALL.  KATRINA IS EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL AT CATEGORY FOUR OR FIVE INTENSITY.  WINDS AFFECTING THE UPPER FLOORS OF HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY STRONGER THAN THOSE NEAR GROUND LEVEL.

KATRINA IS A LARGE HURRICANE.  HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 105 MILES FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES.  SUSTAINED TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ARE OCCURRING OVER THE SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA COAST.  SOUTHWEST PASS...NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER...RECENTLY REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 48 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 53 MPH.

A NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER PLANE REPORTED A MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE OF 902 MB...26.64 INCHES.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 18 TO 22 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...LOCALLY AS HIGH AS 28 FEET...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. SOME LEVEES IN THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA COULD BE OVERTOPPED.  SIGNIFICANT STORM SURGE FLOODING WILL OCCUR ELSEWHERE ALONG THE CENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO COAST.

RAINFALL TOTALS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 15 INCHES...ARE POSSIBLE ALONG THE PATH OF KATRINA ACROSS THE GULF COAST AND THE TENNESSEE VALLEY.  RAINFALL TOTALS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE OHIO VALLEY INTO THE EASTERN GREAT LAKES REGION TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY.

ISOLATED TORNADOES WILL BE POSSIBLE BEGINNING THIS EVENING OVER SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF LOUISIANA...MISSISSIPPI...AND ALABAMA...AND OVER THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE.

REPEATING THE 4 PM CDT POSITION...26.9 N... 89.0 W.  MOVEMENT TOWARD...NORTHWEST NEAR 13 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...165 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 902 MB.

AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT 7 PM CDT FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 10 PM CDT.

FORECASTER PASCH

WWUS74 KLIX 281550
NPWLIX

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...

.HURRICANE KATRINA...A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.

MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.

THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.

AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE...OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE...ARE CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.

ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET...DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE!

WWUS74 KLIX 282139
NPWLIX

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
413 PM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE KATRINA CONTINUES TO APPROACH THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA...
...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...

MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.

THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.

AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WATCH IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE...OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE...ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE NEXT 24 TO 36 HOURS.

WWUS74 KLIX 291122
NPWLIX

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
619 AM CDT MON AUG 29 2005

...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE KATRINA MOVING ACROSS LOWER PLAQUEMINES PARISH...
...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...

THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW POSSIBLY TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. MANY WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED.

$$

'nuff said.  "We never anticipated XXXX" is not a valid excuse!

Update [2005-9-6 5:13:32 by Federalist]:
For anyone interested in reading more about NOLA's well-known hurricane exposure, Louisiana State University has a good website to browse through. There is a lot of information here -- including analysis of storm surge/flooding forecast models in the New Orleans study area:

http://www.publichealth.hurricane.lsu.edu/
http://www.hurricane.lsu.edu/floodprediction/

Also, the New Scientist journal also has a good article which quotes LSU coastal scientist Greg Stone:

"This is a scenario that a lot of scientists, engineers, and managers have thought about for a long time. We hate to see it happen, but it was inevitable."
This disaster absolutely was not an unknown threat...

Update [2005-9-6 5:54:31 by Federalist]:
I would like to point out (something which is probably already obvious) that the four bulletins above were not meant to be the wake-up call that New Orleans had a hurricane problem! That issue was already well, well-known. It was too late to reduce NOLA's exposure. However, the official information coming from the Weather Service (and reiterated by many) should have been taken (by FEMA, et. al.) as a huge freakin' cue that this was the "big one", that response preparations should be fully engaged, and to expect worst-case scenario conditions -- as spelled-out explicitly in those advisories and by the director of the NHC during briefings to the media and others.

Update [2005-9-6 11:6:40 by Federalist]:
Take this Michael Chertoff! While looking through various advisories from the NWS, I found this one from the Slidell office dated 9 AM CDT on Monday, August 29th (I cropped the statement to cut down on length -- bolding and underline emphasis is mine):
WTUS84 KLIX 291359
HLSLIX
LAZ038-040-050-056>070-MSZ080>082-291600-

HURRICANE KATRINA LOCAL STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
900 AM CDT MON AUG 29 2005

...HURRICANE KATRINA DIRECT HIT FOR NEW ORLEANS AND MISSISSIPPI COAST...

...LEVEES OVERTOPPED IN ORLEANS AND ST BERNARD PARISHES...

...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE MOVING ACROSS NEW ORLEANS AND MISSISSIPPI COAST...

...HURRICANE WARNING IN EFFECT FOR SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AND COASTAL MISSISSIPPI FROM MORGAN CITY EAST TO THE ALABAMA FLORIDA BORDER....

...EXTENSIVE AND LIFE THREATENING STORM SURGE FLOODING OCCURRING ALONG THE LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI COAST AT THIS TIME.

(... snip ...)

...STORM SURGE FLOOD AND STORM TIDE IMPACTS...
KATRINA MAKING LANDFALL IN EASTERN NEW ORLEANS AND MISSISSIPPI COAST AREA THIS MORNING. EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING HURRICANE...SIGNIFICANT AND LIFE THREATENING STORM SURGE 18 TO 22 FEET ABOVE NORMAL IS OCCURRING. LEVEES HAVE BEEN OVERTOPPED IN ORLEANS AND ST BERNARD PARISHES. IN ADDITION DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES ARE OCCURRING ON TOP OF THE STORM SURGE NEAR THE COAST. SEVERE TIDAL FLOODING WILL CONTINUE IN THESE AREAS. IN ADDITION...SEVERE STORM SURGE FLOODING IS PROBABLY OCCURRING IN SOUTHEAST ST TAMMANY PARISH AND IN HANCOCK...HARRISON AND JACKSON COUNTIES IN COASTAL MISSISSIPPI.

(... snip ...)


Um, so much for Chertoff's Meet the Press claim that the levees didn't become a problem until Tuesday... Re-jected! This is information that Homeland Security and FEMA should have been on top of! Unreal.

For the time being, these statements are still archived on a number of NOAA/NWS websites. For example, the statement above is online here.

Eventually, this data will "expire" and be cleaned off this particular server -- as all old data is. Rest assured, though, this is not the only archive of these bulletins.

Update [2005-9-6 11:25:59 by Federalist]:
mnhtnbb in comments found the link to a great National Geographic article, which details the coastal problems that NOLA and SE LA face. That article is online here.
The Louisiana bayou, hardest working marsh in America, is in big trouble—with dire consequences for residents, the nearby city of New Orleans, and seafood lovers everywhere.
Hum... Print date was October 2004 (thanks sarac) -- obviously well before Katrina hit!

Update [2005-9-7 2:19:14 by Federalist]:
thebes in comments notes that the NWS was reporting, as early as 8:14 AM CDT Monday, that the levee along the Industrial Canal in NOLA was breached.

Also, I couldn't help thinking that Sen. Rick Santorum's bill (S. 786) proposing partial privatization of the NWS (BTW, Accu-Weather founder Joel Myers and Co. are big Rick Santorum donors) is looking like quite a political liability in light of recent events. The bill is atrocious. Calling Casey and Pennacchio campaigns...

Originally posted to Federalist on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 12:08 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Feed Me! ... (4.00)
    Please? :)
    •  I'm wondering if you should put (4.00)
      "I'm a Meteorologist" somewhere in your title?
      •  Done -- that makes sense. n/t (4.00)
        •  Recomended (none)
          Good post, this is being spun at about 10k rpm. I remember seeing something about this in National Geographic YEARS ago.  
          Bushco got away with 9/11 and Iraq, can they dodge this bullet too?
          Things like this diary must be constantly brought forward so folks will understand just how criminal this is!
          •  I've known this for years... (4.00)
            And my only qualification is being an insatiable reader..

            Bushies denying this makes my blood boil.

            "Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines" Steven Wright

            by wrights on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 04:10:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly!!!!!! (4.00)
              My father is a retired meteorologist, so maybe I was a tad more "weather aware" but still, when Georges and Ivan threatened New Orleans (but turned away), the national news outfits covered the potential danger if New Orleans was to take a direct hit from a strong hurricane.

              I hope that many more experts come forward to speak truth to power.  For far too long many sat on the sidelines while things got worse and worse because tradition dictated neutrality.  Well now is the time to chuck tradition aside because your country needs you.

          •  Link to National Geographic article (4.00)
            Here it is.

            http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0410/feature5/

            But Bush doesn't read, so how could he possibly know?

            •  Johnnie on the spot! (none)
              Thanks for the link.
              •  Oct 2004? (none)
                This story in USA TODAY beats your by 4 years!

                Choice quotes:

                "A slow-moving Category 3 or any Category 4 or 5 hurricane passing within 20 or 30 miles of New Orleans would be devastating,"

                The storm surge -- water pushed into a mound by hurricane winds -- would pour over the Pontchartrain levee and flood the city. A severe hurricane could push floodwaters inside the New Orleans bowl as high as 20-30 feet, covering most homes and the first three or four stories of buildings in the city, he says. "This brings a great risk of casualties."

                In this type of scenario the metro area could be submerged for more than 10 weeks, says Walter S. Maestri, Director of Emergency Management for Jefferson Parish, which encompasses more than half of the city. In those 10 weeks, residents would need drinking water, food and a dry place to live.

                Besides the major problems flooding would bring, there is also concern about a potentially explosive and deadly problem. Suhayda says flooding of the whole city could easily mix industrial and household chemicals into a toxic and volatile mix. Coupled with an estimated 100,000 tons of sediment, a cleanup could take several months. In the worst case scenario, the mix of toxic chemicals could make some areas of the city uninhabitable. "It could take several years for the city to recover fully, economically, from a strong hurricane," says Suhayda.

                Gee, Preznit Bush. If we only knew then what we know now...wait, we did know you were a heartless asshole.

                Inquiry that does not achieve coordination of behaviour is not inquiry but simply wordplay - Richard Rorty

                by BuckMulligan on Wed Sep 07, 2005 at 10:16:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  By the way... (none)
          ...when Bush and his apologists say that they couldn't be proactive because Blanco hadn't given the high sign, THEY ARE LYING.
    •  I wish I could give you a 10 (4.00)
      But all's I got is this 4 & a recommend.

      Wow.  

      I hope you will volunteer to testify at the hearings we should all be demanding of our Senators & Congresspeople.

      Even I knew it was going to be catastrophic, days in advance.  The President has no excuse.  Nobody could be that ignorant.  

      The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

      by x on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:05:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks :) (4.00)
        I know there are many, much more skilled and knowledgeable than I -- to be sure, who know the truth and could give very pointed testimony to Congress.  I hope that happens!  IT ABSOLUTELY SHOULD.  If we had a Democratic Congress, that would be a given...  We'll see what happens.  I think this is way too big for GOPers in Congress to sweep under the rug this time.
    •  Even earlier warning of levee break (4.00)
      A flash flood warning due to the levee break in the industrial canal was issued at 8:14 AM CDT on Monday morning!! That's a full 24 hours before Sec. Chertoff and Gen Myers sat down to breakfast with their fictional Tuesday morning newspapers saying "New Orleans dodged a bullet".

      They knew (or should have known) first thing Monday morning and they DID NOTHING.

      BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
      FLASH FLOOD WARNING
      NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
      814 AM CDT MON AUG 29 2005

      THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS ISSUED A

      * FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
        ORLEANS PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA
        THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...NEW ORLEANS
        ST. BERNARD PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA
        THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF CHALMETTE

      • UNTIL 215 PM CDT

      • A LEVEE BREACH OCCURRED ALONG THE INDUSTRIAL CANAL AT TENNESSE
        STREET. 3 TO 8 FEET OF WATER IS EXPECTED DUE TO THE BREACH.

      * LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO ARABI AND
        9TH WARD OF NEW ORLEANS.

      DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE
      ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS
      SAFELY. VEHICLES CAUGHT IN RISING WATER SHOULD BE ABANDONED QUICKLY.
      MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.

      A FLASH FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING.
      IF YOU ARE IN THE WARNING AREA MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND IMMEDIATELY.
      RESIDENTS LIVING ALONG STREAMS AND CREEKS SHOULD TAKE IMMEDIATE
      PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS
      SWIFTLY FLOWING WATERS OR WATERS OF UNKNOWN DEPTH BY FOOT OR BY
      AUTOMOBILE.

      http://tinyurl.com/ch2n4

      America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. --Abraham Lincoln

      by thebes on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 02:44:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you. Recommended. (4.00)
    I hope enough people are still awake tonight to get this on the recommended list.

    A question:  When you saw news reports of people lining up for the Superdome on the Sunday before the   storm, were you thinking, "Why are they not evacuating everyone in that city?"

    •  Yes (4.00)
      I also wondered whether the Superdome would hold, and why they didn't bus them out of town as was done in Florida a couple of years back. But I figured that they didn't have anyplace to evacuate so many people to outside of the city.
    •  Yes (4.00)
      Indeed, I was.  I understand the enormous amount of effort and energy required to do so...but evacuating everyone was an absolutely necessary given the seriousness of the situation...

      I know it's going to be very hard to believe this (especially for anyone who lived through the horror), but New Orleans actually got off "easy" given the incredible intensity of this storm.  Had Katrina come ashore 50 miles farther west, the damage to the entire city could have been total and irreparable -- anyone left in the city (including the Superdome) would have been in absolute grave danger.  50 miles...that's all.  Given that level of the threat, every effort should have been make on the local, state, and federal side of things to totally clear NOLA out.

      •  Right (4.00)
        I was thinking reading those warnings you posted (and reading them last Sunday) that it could have been much much worse, but perhaps in a different way.  Instead of having all buildings in New Orleans blown apart by wind and battered by giant waves, the city slowly drowned, just as people were sounding the 'all clear'.  

        To me, the scenario that actually played out was the worst possible, because it was literally inflicted by the federal government and entirely preventable.  

        •  Second-worst scenario (none)

          It really is the second-worst scenario. Had the hurricane made landfall near NO itself, the evacuees who made it to the Superdome probably would have died long before they were able to get there--and it's possible that the Superdome itself could have been destroyed.

          Sitting on the outside we have a different perspective. I think (most of) the evacuees would prefer to be alive rather than dead; had the hurricane struck NO directly, most of them probably wouldn't be alive.

          I don't want to sound callous--and I am in utter outrage over the reports I'm hearing here at dKos and in the general media--but a death toll in the thousands is better than a death toll in the hundreds of thousands.

      •  But more evacuations were simply not possible (none)
        Many have lamented that we could not evacuate everyone. But how? If we had a crystal ball and could go back in time so that we'd know that Katrina was going to hit in August 2005 maybe we could have demanded of this current administration true hurricane preparedness, but we didn't.  So you're mayor of New Orleans on Friday August 26th -- what do you do given that you didn't have enough buses let alone drivers to get the roughly 100,000 folks out of the city?

        Getting folks to the Superdome was the least bad scenaro given the tools that the mayor had to work with. SIGH.

        •  I agree (4.00)
          Without Federal help, that is pretty much all the the local authorities could do.  I don't want to sound insensitive toward those who did tragically perish in the Superdome, but as it turned out, the survival rate there (despite the utterly hideous conditions) was likely much higher than it was out in the unprotected, flooded city.  However, with a slight shift in her track, Katrina's human toll could have been much worse -- certainly even at the Superdome.  The Feds just should have been there beforehand...
        •  Wrongly diverted resources (none)
          What if the up to 7,000 Louisiana National Guardsmen were in their home state with their attendent vehicles INSTEAD of in Iraq?  Might that have made a difference?  Those 2 1/2 ton trucks hold a lot of people.
          •  Surely it would have (none)
            Not beforehand IMO but most certainly in the critial days right afterwards when they could have made the difference in keeping order in New Orleans, getting food and water to NO and rescuing more folks from flooded areas.

            Beforehand even the addition of those missing trucks wouldn't be enough to get 100,000 out of town. The transportation need was even bigger than that.

        •  Indeed (4.00)
          You know, for those interested to find out what state and local officials did in the few days before Katrina hit, the blogs at the Weather Underground are probably a good source of information.  Jeff Masters' blog on that site allows comments, and I was reading them on late Friday and Saturday as Katrina was headed directly for NOLA.  People reading that blog were sending in news updates constantly and monitoring local media.  I distinctly recall feeling sick to my stomach as someone reported Mayor Nagin saying in an interview that those who didn't evacuate as directed would be waiting for the search and rescue/recovery teams to come find them.  
        •  I don't know. (none)
          My first thought was "the superdome? sounds like a super-dumb idea". But that's just me.

          "conservatives are the worshipers of dead radicals".

          by gandalf on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:47:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah but most of those folks survived! (none)
            It was hell on earth but they remained among the living awaiting rescue on Tuesday. FEMA had been the FEMA of James Lee Witt, odds are they would have been bused out a helluva lot sooner.

            Like I said, the least bad of terrible choices.

    •  Dirth of News Reporting (4.00)
      If Google is a gauge of the amount of news reporting and /or interest in Katrina before Gulf landfall, it is my opinion not enough national attention was being given, even after the White House declared a national emergency on the 26th and Mayor Nagin evacuated NO on the 28th.  I searched Google for news on the 27th and 28th, and had to get to the 3rd page of US headlines to find a story, whereas before Florida landfall it was on the front page of US news as I recall.  I emailed friends that not enough attention was being paid to Katrina on the 28th, especially after seeing the most emphatic and forceful order to evacuate by Mayor Nagin, the most emphatic pre-disaster order I have ever seem a public official give.  If a fairly casual observer of weather such as myself sensed danger, where was the federal response?
  •  Anyone who was on DailyKos (4.00)
    on Saturday night knew, too. Darksyde put up a diary that had similar information -- I had had no clue what was up before I saw that, but pretty quickly, all of us here were watching the approach of the storm with dread, as if we were counting down the minutes to an execution. These exact storm warnings were posted all over the internet with comments such as "National Weather Service officially loses control over its bowels," and there was intense chatter online about the fact that no one had seen such dire warnings before. The whole "no one could have foreseen" line is a transparent lie to anyone who was paying attention in the 48 hours before the storm hit. The only thing we couldn't have foreseen was that there would be dereliction of duty on the part of the federal government to a degree that can best be described as "pure evil."  
    •  We live in a country (4.00)
      where an average left leaning blog reader is more informed than the government and its lackeys.

      wonder what's wrong with this picture.
       

      'Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it'. - GBS

      by stevej on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:21:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sunday night (4.00)
      I went to bed with tears in my eyes for the suffering ahead. Literally. I am so not an alarmist, and I am rarely moved by national stories of disaster (believing the media hypes things), but I was so upset and alarmed by those NWS warnings I was shaking. On Sunday! I walked up to the bedroom of my 6 year-old son's, picked him up from his bed, and hugged him for a long, long time. I told my wife what I had just read, and we talked about how awful it was. I remember saying, "New Orleans! A whole city! And it could be gone ... "

      It never once occured to me that FEMA and the Bush Administration wasn't mobilizing every resource available for this catastrophe, and I have no respect for the Bush Administration's competence whatsoever. It was just inconceivable that any human being with an intelligence beyond cretin level could have missed the significance of what was about to happen. My God, how could they have missed this? How could they be so dense, so incompetent, so lacking in basic imagination and foresight to not be prepared?

      I'm almost numb by what happened, but when I really think about it again ... my mind just freezes up from the sheer horror and tragedy of the stupidity.

      •  I understand that (none)
        I couldn't sleep Sunday night.  I finally dozed-off, from pure exhaustion, for an hour or so before work early Monday morning...
      •  It NEVER occured to me either that FEMA was not (4.00)
        doing a damn thing to prepare.  I watch weather so I read all the bulletins and recognized the change in tone of the messages from past experience.  It was so weird because I didn't hear a sense of REAL urgency in Bush's tone when he addressed the nation on Sunday and urged evacuation.  The words were sort of there, but the tone wasn't.  I can't find another way of describing how I felt but a tired old word like weird.  Quickly my feelings went to outright rage, but first I was stunned.

        I have never had an ounce of confidence in BushCo or the GOP leadership, but I thought at least they would have responded to this castatrophe if nothing else but to feed their own egos.

        I just NEVER occured to me that they would not have been playing with all their toys - helicopters, big trucks, heavy equipment, truck-loads of provisions, armies of rescue workers and peace keepers.  I thought they would want to be heroes.

        It turns out they wanted to be villains.

        •  Rice comments (none)
          Says Condoleezza Rice, "Nobody, especially the president, would have left people unattended on the basis of race," she said in Alabama adding: "I don't believe for a minute anybody allowed people to suffer because they are African-Americans. I just don't believe it for a minute."

          Note that she doesn't mention whether the same can be said of the poor or of Democrats.

          •  You see (none)
            she's not poor or Democratic. But the administration trots her out whenever there's a question involving race ...
          •  I don't think it was race because they did this (4.00)
            across the region.  You just aren't hearing that from GOP shill MS Gov. Barbour.

            They didn't lift a finger because their ideology dictates that government should not be in the "business" of rescue and relief.  Be very clear on that point.  They think government is a "business" to profit from - not a collective service to the citizens of the United States.

            The abandoned Americans.

    •  It was on the weather channel too (none)
      And it was obvious the storm was huge, and due to hit at high tide (absolute worst time).

      I told my daughter on Sunday that NO was going to be hit really hard, she was lucky she'd been there, and I was sorry I'd never been.

      I don't even really watch the weather channel, but I caught the pics when my husband was watching it. Of course, I heard the chatter here too...

  •  You said it! (unintentionally) (4.00)
    It should be said over and over again, the resulting detestation in New Orleans was absolutely not some sort of unforeseen surprise.

    Of course it wasn't unforseen.  Everyone knows the GOP detests poor, black Democrats.

    Yeah, typo...I know.  Apt, nonetheless.

    What did the President know and when did he stop knowing it?

    by Pyewacket on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 12:28:46 AM PDT

  •  Wow..I guess Bush got lucky.. (4.00)
    What would have happened if it had been a direct HIT on New Orleans and came in as a 5? Maybe then he would have had a real excuse. Thanks for the diary. It was like reliving the entire 24 hours leading up to it hitting land fall. Please send to Arron Brown and Keith O. Way Recommended. Bush=Toast. I cannot imagine what you must have been going through once Katrina left Florida and started heading towards a direct hit on New Orleans. This is reminding me of hearing that Before Clinton left office he told George Bush..The most important thing the United States has to worry about is Osama bin Laden and Terrorist striking on US Soil Are there any other things we need to dig up that are going to destroy us or the world because of George Bush and his lack of leadership and incompetence?  The man just doesnt listen to ANYTHING. ASSHOLE. Thank you Mr. Weatherman.  
  •  Santorum and the privatizing of weather info (4.00)
    from Lawrence, Kansas

    The bill, as written, would still allow the National Weather Service to provide severe weather warnings to the public. But it insists that the service not provide "a service or product ... that is or could be provided by the private sector."

    Myers said the bill was intended to keep for-profit businesses -- like newspapers, utility companies, energy traders and agricultural interests -- from getting taxpayer-financed weather data.

    "If they want that information, they should pay for it," he said. "If agribusiness wants information about whether the frost is going to hurt the citrus crop, they should pay for ."

    •  Yeah, my question here ... (4.00)
      is where does it stop??  Santorum's argument (ignoring how utterly idiotic it is) is a slippery-slope if I ever heard one!  It's the slippery-slope of privatization.  How long 'till we hear: "If people want to know a killer hurricane is coming their way, they should pay for it!"

      People already pay, with their tax dollars, for the National Weather Service and the enormous amount of knowledge and technological infrastructure developed to track and forecast storms.  Sure, meteorology is an imperfect science.  I challenge anyone to name a perfect one.  But, personally, I'd rather the federal government (theoretically accountable to the people) be in charge of such critical, life-saving services than some private, unregulated, unaccountable corporate entity (read Accu-Weather and the like).

      •  Weather (4.00)
        Isn't that just a theory?
      •  NWS privatization (4.00)
        Is one of the left over initiatives from the anti-government Reagan years. Santorum pushes it only because Accuweather, one of the half dozen private weather forecasting firms, is based at State College, PA, next to Penn State University.

        NWS privatization is just another wacky conservative idea. You pay for most weather forecasting services, except for major storm warnings, which remain with NWS, so that private firms escape the legal liability of disaster forecasting.

        The Reagan zealots tried to privatize nearly everything, including topo map production services from the U.S. Geological Survey. They did privatize satellite imaging services from LANDSAT for a decade. The result is always the same, rich corporations are the only entities that can afford privatized data services, and everyone else loses, even though our tax dollars pay for the infrastructure to provide those services, like the weather and LANDSAT satellites.

        Governor Brian Schweitzer on seeking the presidency; "I'm not half that smart and I'm none too pretty."

        by Ed in Montana on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:15:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We REALLY need to start an (4.00)
      anti-privatization movement on the basis of national security of all types. There are just certain things that should not be privatized, weather being one, electrical grids being another.

      It's Jamie Gorelick's fault that FEMA was so slow in responding.

      by lecsmith on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 04:18:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They are paying for it. n/t (none)
  •  didn't that new 3 star general say something like (4.00)
    hell..we are not soothsayers...how could we have known?
  •  Marvelous, recommend (none)
    and hope you will be a witness for the prosecution. thank you.

    Bush has got to go. Keep surfin, keep rockin, Baja Margie alias Pargie

    by Pargie on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:21:19 AM PDT

  •  Why don't you guys... (none)
    Stop beating around the bush!

    Tell us, in words we can understand!
    </snark>

    "Every day, in every way, I think I'm going to vomit."

    by seronimous on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:35:17 AM PDT

  •  How could we have [not] known? (4.00)
    Thanks for posting those.  I remember the feeling I got while reading the sequential reports was like watching a fast train headed for a car stalled on the tracks.

    There was no way the feds could not have known what was coming.

  •  Those weather bulletins are damning (4.00)
    Mr Bush what was your reaction to those bulletins? Were you the least bit alarmed? Did you really believe that we were going to "dodge the bullet." Tell me about your knowledge of the Mississippi River Delta, and what you thought might happen if a storm this size, and we knew it was a big one, hit within the Mississippi River Delta. Did you really think that the state or city government could handle this? Did you really think that staying on vacation was the best way to react to a storm this size, that was threatening one of the most fragile areas on our coast?

    I hope it is permissible to link to my one and only diary which was based upon one of those weather bulletins. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/9/4/204449/6433

    Thank you so much for this work. Whoever wants to defend Bush should read these bulletins, for he lived up to his name, aWol.

  •  The "smoking gun"... (4.00)
    In the form of a hurricane.

    Thank you for posting these invaluable historical documents.  Know telling how long before they mysteriously disappear from federal sites.

    Peace in a world free of Religion, Peace in a world where everyone gets Heaven... -- Toni Halliday

    by Wintermute on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 02:41:52 AM PDT

  •  Lies... (3.66)
    Chertoff said
     "It wasn't until comparatively late, shortly before -- a day, maybe a day and a half, before landfall -- that it became clear that this was going to be a Category 4 or 5 hurricane headed for the New Orleans area."
    What? it was a class 4-5 hurricane three days before making landfall and all the projections had it hitting New Orleans. Why do they tell lies that are so easily dissproved?
    •  They're pathological (none)
      With Bush, it's all politics & spin.

      This time, no go.

      Abject, stunning Indifference cannot be spun.

      They're toast.

      Watch Rethuglies running from Bush.  Quack!

      Also, show no mercy.  All our mercy is for the victims of this atrocity.

      Write your Reps & Sens & demand an accounting.  And reparations of 1 million dolars for each and every American citizen who was forced to endure this suffering.

      This is a national disgrace.

      The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

      by x on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 03:21:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Even on FRIDAY night Aug 26 - (4.00)
    Even on FRIDAY night, August 26, it was clear from meteorologists that the storm:

    • was on track to hit the delta / New Orleans / Mississippi coast

    • was almost certain to grow stronger as it moved over the open and very warm Gulf waters on Saturday and Sunday

    Even if the storm had had only a 25% chance of doing what it did -- that 25% should have registered as "Oh-My-God Catastrophic" with all levels of government.  And they should have worked together in 100% urgency all day Saturday (Aug 27), to alert people, evacuate them, and prepare to bring in rescue and relief within hours afterward.

    Over the next year we will need that bipartisan commission to assess what failed and why.  And that commission had better have clear-eyed people serving on it with the goal of seeking the truth in order to better protect the American people.  We see already that the White House does not share that goal; it's all about defend-and-attack to protect the party.  Party over country.  

  •  Timeliners -- pick up these warnings! (none)
    I read as far down in the comments as I could before tearing up -- if you're constructing a time line, or if you know a Kossak who is, please add these warnings to the database!

    Talk doesn't cook rice!

    Talk doesn't cook rice -- Chinese Proverb

    by OldYellerDog on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 04:17:52 AM PDT

  •  I'm so f'n tired (none)
    of this administration's incompetence and what can only be seen as intentional neglect and ignoring of the facts and dire warnings.  

    I'm really sorry for the language, but fuck George Bush.

    Geez, We Need REGIME CHANGE

    •  Biggest crime (4.00)
      Is putting their miserable pathetic political careers above 1000s of lives.

      history must have an accurate record of this. I want a chill to go down my grandkids spine when they hear the names Bush, Brown or Chertoff. I want the name Bush to hold the the same power as the name Hitler to fascinate and horrify. This will piss some of you off - I don't care.

      'Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it'. - GBS

      by stevej on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:32:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  criminal negligence (none)
      Can the president of the US be charged with criminal negligence in this case?  Is his conduct suggestive of high crimes and misdemeanors?  

      Can Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert contribute his bloated body as a flotation device to aid in search and rescue, preferably face down so his verbal flatulence will be minimized?

    •  Same here! (none)
      And I am getting so pissed about writing LTE's re this and hoping for the best!!!!!

      bush jams while thousands die in NOLA=Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

      by Street Kid on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 03:16:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tim Russert on Don Imus MSNBC (none)
    Right NOW - Russert is going after the Administration.  I have no TiVo - for those who do - grab it!
    •  Imus (3.80)
      Heard it, inclusiveheart! I just sent him an email - the 3rd in 2 weeks. This is getting weird! (I also sent him a note about NWS bulletins on Aug. 28 with a link to this page.)

      For those who missed it, he ranted (slowly, sadly, but angrily) about the miserable failure this govt. was in protecting its citizens. Said that is what govt. is for - to protect its citizens.  Said we need to ask the questions. He finally answered Chertoff - too bad he couldn't say this on his own show. He said we can look to the future and fix things, but we can also look back and have some accountability at the same time.

      There is no excuse, etc.

      He compared Chertoff (didn't mention his name) saying that we must look forward now, to when we didn't find WMD in Iraq and we were told we can't worry about that, we must look forward to providing democracy.

      Don Imus said he knows in his heart that if it were a rich white city it would not have happened. Don said the people involved did not care enough - because of the people involved.

      Tim disagreed with that.

      "He's done a hell of a job, because I'm not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm." Kate Hale re FEMA Dir. Mike Brown.

      by OLinda on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:14:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wish I had heard it (none)
        If anyone has a recording, please post a link!

        How dare anyone, especially Russert, question the absolute failure of the government in its preeminent responsibility to the citizens?!?
        </snark>

      •  More Russert on Imus show (none)
        I listened to a bit more. Sorry I cannot transcribe the whole thing. Pressed for time this morning. It may be 10 minutes that he keeps talking. I hope a transcript shows up. If not by the end of the day, I will see what I can do.

        But, here are a few more of his comments:

        Bush said no one expected the levee to break. That is just so far off from the truth. Who told him that? Why would he say that? [Something about his level of being informed.]

        There's nothing disloyal or not being patriotic asking tough questions.  That's why we're here.  We have to hold the govt. accountable particularly where there are bodies floating through the streets of New Orleans. [It is a televised radio show, so Tim is not on camera. It sounds like he is choked up here.]
        ...

        How can you send people to the superdome and not prepare for them with food water, etc.
        ...
        Country is not prepared for what it will see this week. We have to ask why.

        deaths - huge numbers...
        and it was a painful death, gasping, trying to hold on as the water kept rising. Think about it. That's someone's mother. It just haunts me.

        "He's done a hell of a job, because I'm not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm." Kate Hale re FEMA Dir. Mike Brown.

        by OLinda on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 07:31:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  one more from Tim (none)
          Tim:

          You can't spin this. People see it, they feel it, they smell it.

          "He's done a hell of a job, because I'm not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm." Kate Hale re FEMA Dir. Mike Brown.

          by OLinda on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 07:34:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hell yeah they smell it (none)
            I suspect the stench will make it halfway up the Mississippi and through most of the south.

            and I mean that literally.

            Thousands of dead bodies rotting, both human and animal, garbage, sewage, toxic waste of all types...

            It's going to really stink, in more ways than one.

      •  Diary (none)
        VirginiaDem has a diary up on this with an audio link.
      •  cosette (none)
        cosette gave me a 2 for this. Wonder what that's about!

        "He's done a hell of a job, because I'm not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm." Kate Hale re FEMA Dir. Mike Brown.

        by OLinda on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:22:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "No one anticipated the levees (4.00)
    would fail" -- or whatever the specific, initial, obviously false quote / canard spewed by Bush -- needs to be absolutely hammered, over and over.

    It was yet another BIG LIE. Maybe, finally, one BIG LIE too many. A tipping point as to the public's confidence in the Administration's credibility as to anything whatsoever.

  •  NBC's Brian Williams got that NWS bulletin (4.00)
    He blogged about his reaction when reading it...

    "...I will never forget one particular moment: I was on the phone with my wife while at the checkout area when a weather bulletin arrived on my Blackberry, along with a strong caveat from our New York producers. The wording and contents were so incendiary that our folks were concerned that it wasn't real... either a bogus dispatch or a rogue piece of text. I filed a live report by phone for Nightly News (after an exchange with New York about the contents of the bulletin) and very cautiously couched the information. Later, we learned it was real, every word of it. Below are actual excerpts, in the urgent, all-capital-letters style of the medium. Note the time on the message... but more importantly... note the content.

    URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
    1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

    ...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...

    HURRICANE KATRINA...A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH..."

    "...WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS."

    "...The last sentence in that statement is as concise a summation of conditions in New Orleans as is possible. We talked about the document en route to New Orleans. It turned out to be an advance copy of the script for this storm, predicting in unbelievable detail the level of destruction that was by now less than 24 hours away. To me it conjured up the image of a lone forecaster, known but to his or her co-workers, struggling to merge decades-old boilerplate Weather Service wording with the most vivid language possible in a final attempt to warn an entire region...."

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9216831/#050905

  •  I don't think (4.00)
    their argument is that they had no idea it could theoretically happen, or even was likely to happen.  They seem to be arguing that since they didn't know exactly what would happen - and when and where and how - they are not to blame for consequences.  Kind of like the infamous PDB.  After all, it didn't list the time and exact location that OBL would attack within the US.

    At the same time, the state and local government and the victims should have known and are entirely to blame.

    •  Huh (none)
      For a group of folks who claim to dislike "lawyering" (anti-trial lawyer, tort reform, etc.), the GOP sure loves embracing those kind of uber-technicalities whenever it provides them cover, don't they?
    •  Lack of imagination (none)
      That's all it is if they say they didn't know exactly what might happen. Or as it's known in the real world, governed by laws: negligence. Like a parent who doesn't childproof the cabinet where the poisons are kept: "no one could have anticipated that Junior would drink Drano ..."

      bastards ... I've been suffering from an interminable case of Tourette's Syndrome for the past week every time I start thinking about what wasn't done ...

      •  Padge, I have (none)
        sworn so much in the past week that I'm beginning to wonder if I have the ability to speak without profanity anymore.

        I have been angry for so long but I really really cannot BEAR to hear the Bush-defenders anymore.  I want to shove their faces into the bloated corpses and scream "NOW DO YOU GET IT?  NOW DO YOU SEE WHAT YOUR GODDAM FEARLESS LEADER HAS DONE TO US?"

        I'm not interested in hearing any more excuses for them.  (I have pissed off a lot of my friends on the more lefty left with this, as they keep saying that the capitalists have used lies to divide us, etc.  True, but at some point, face the truth or get trampled).  I'm sure there were plenty of peasants with the Tsar's picture up on the wall of their leaking, swill ridden shack.  

  •  More evidence (4.00)
    Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, says that FEMA and Homeland Security were thoroughly and regularly briefed:

    "We were briefing them way before landfall," Mayfield said. "It's not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped.

    Also, if you go to the White House website's own hurricane page, you'll see a Flash slideshow. Keep clicking through the pictures and you'll find one of Bush getting a video teleconference briefing by the National Hurricane Center with a nice pretty picture on the screen of gigantic hurricane Katrina swirling in the Gulf (sorry, I don't know how to post the picture).

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/hurricane/

    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. --Abraham Lincoln

    by thebes on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:22:13 AM PDT

    •  As it happens Max was also giving regular updates (4.00)
      ON EVERY MAJOR NETWORK EVERY HOUR STARTING SUNDAY AFTER THE EVACUATION ANNOUNCEMENT IN NEW ORLEANS.

      Bush's father didn't know the price of a carton of milk.  Bush II still hasn't discovered television.  BUBBLE PEOPLE.

      But not really.  In fact, they are heartless, cold, irresponsible assholes who are too busy looting this country to help save it.  And they call those people in New Orleans "thugs".  They are penny ante - we have high rollin' holy rollin' THUGS who left thousands of people to die.

    •  Did anyone screen grab that picture? (none)
      I've got a mac and can't see it now.
      •  The picture is GONE (none)
        Isn't that interesting - the picture of Bush getting his hurricane briefing is no longer part of the slide show - the rewriting of history has commenced.

        Did anyone get a copy of that picture? I'm sorry, but I'm hopelessly clueless how to do these things.

        America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. --Abraham Lincoln

        by thebes on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:42:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  'Mayfield predicted hit 5 days out' (none)
      See Rep Mark Foley (R-FL) quote downthread
  •  Once in a lifetime event (none)
    Agreed, the NWS does excellent work, and thus Nagin was able to boil it down to one clearly-understood sentence: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime event." Hell, we all knew this was the big one and that literally anything could happen, be it significant storm weakening or breached levees.

    So where was FEMA?

    •  Probably not (none)
      This may well be a twice in a lifetime event. Cat 4 hurricanes hit the US something like every 35 years. A very crude estimate of the impact of global warming goes something like:

      • warmer planet
      • warmer sea-surface temps
      • more hurricanes
      • stronger hurricanes

      So it's very possible that as Earth continues to get warmer, we'll see more and stronger hurricanes. That means Cat 4 hurricanes will hit the US more often than once per 35 years.

      The human life span is increasing, and the time between big hurricanes is decreasing. Most dKos users will see something like this again.

      -- "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression...will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day." -- Thomas Jefferson

      by Todd Johnston on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:55:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Overtopped vs. breached (3.50)
    Chertoff, Bush, et al claim that no one knew the levees would be breached -- there were only warnings about water overtopping the levees -- and that in any case it was a second, separate disaster.

    What they're asking us to believe, then, is that FEMA was totally prepared for massive flooding on Monday caused by overtopped levees and suddenly totally UNprepared for massive flooding on Tuesday caused by breached levees.

    Riiiiight.

    •  Yeah, I caught that one too... (4.00)
      talk about making it up as you go along.

      Anyone who's every played on a beach knows that once you've got a flow you've got erosion.

      Of course the levees would break if they were over-topped.  It's not exactly like spilling a drink.

      But it's so stupid you can tell it's pure fiction.  They know it's fiction.  Their behaviour is completely familiar to any teacher or parent who has ever been faced by a lying child.

      I didn't drop it.

      It just fell.

      Out of my hands.  

  •  Really great job! (none)
    I took a hazards management course in college and one of the theoretical examples we worked on was New Orleans getting hit by a catagory 4-5 hurricane. Watching this whole thing unfold was like being in a bad dream - the type where you see something REALLY BAD is about to happen, but the people who can help can't see or hear you.

    All the signs were there just screaming that something REALY BAD was going to happen in the next  several days.  But amazingly, just like in the dream, the people who could have helped couldn't see or hear the rest of us screaming at them do DO SOMETHING!

    Criminal negligence, plain and simple.  Politics as usual.  Stupidity at work.  Callousness.

    The scenario we dealt with in college didn't include two important factors present today: it's a post 9/11 world, and America elected president a complete dullard who has surrounded himself with preening sycophants whose right wing conservative agenda threatens to destroy America as we know it.

    Vive Nouvelle-Orléans!

    by Rogneid on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 06:11:02 AM PDT

  •  How much did the weekend contribute? (none)
    I would like to add this thought to the meme pool.  This storm gained strength and found its target beginning Friday evening.  It became a category 4 late Saturday evening.  
    This is not meant as an excuse for people, but maybe there is a deficiency in the system on weekends.  Maybe Chertoff, Brown, or key middle-management cut off their lines of communications on the weekends.  I mean, it is not hard to imagine with Bush being the champion of the 4 day work week. . .  
  •  Should we bring back public floggings? (none)
    Chertoff and Brown should be the first subjects of this new-old punishment.
  •  Even Mr Bill! (none)
    Mr Bill, the clay puppet on Saturday Night Live, even HE knew what was likely to happen to New Orleans.

    Mr Bill & Reed the Alligator

    I guess it's too bad SNL is on after Dubya's bedtime...

    How pathetic.

    "Unpatriotic my ASS!"

    by WV Democrat on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 06:39:42 AM PDT

  •  Questions the Senate Must Ask Today (3.83)
    Hearings in the Senate will be conducted today. Here's what they should ask about the President's and Chertoff's actions.

    Was the disaster foreseeable? On September 1st, the President said, I don't think anyone expected the levees to collapse. Michael Chertoff was of the same opinion, comparing the failure of the levees to an "atomic bomb" which had suddenly introduced itself into expected events (hurricane and transitory levee overtopping). However, warnings of a potential disaster were everywhere: From Hurricane Zebra in 2000 to Hurricane Pam in 2004, several exercises were conducted (but based on the scenario of a Category 3 hurricane, not Category 4). Last year, funds earmarked by the Federal Government to the US Army Corps of Engineers were axed by half without reflection on the consequences.

    Why wasn't everyone evacuated? The Mayor of New Orleans declared a mandatory evacuation order on August 28th, the day before Katrina struck. But nothing was planned for the underprivileged. FEMA claims that it was the mayor's responsibility to rent busses. At least 2,000 coaches would have been necessary. Here again, the problem was well-identified: A study carried out by the University of New Orleans estimated that 125,000 people would be without transportation. The charity organization, Brother's Keeper launched an operation in local churches to hook up car owners to those without a vehicle. The hurricane arrived at the end of the month, when thousands of people were awaiting their welfare checks and did not have the means to leave town.

    Why did no one come to assist the evacuees in the Superdome?  Here are the snafus/excuses.

    The US Military: According to the 1878 posse comitatus law, active-duty military may not engaged in missions to keep order without a presidential order. Sean Kelly of Northern Command to the BBC that on March 30th the Pentagon created a Task Force but had to wait for a presidential decision as required by law.

    New Orleans Police:  The force has disintegrated. Overwhelmed, 200 out of 1,500 police quit their jobs. Two others committed suicide. Many of their squad cars were under water. The police had to do what everyone else did and help themselves to property. But soon even their commandeered cars ran out of gas. And they were shot at.

    National Guard: The Guard has responsibility for maintaining order and for civil defense and is under the orders of state governors. Lt. General Steven Blum, the head of the National Guard, said on Saturday that his troops did not enter New Orleans sooner because they did not foresee the collapse of the civilian law enforcement: Then he claimed he had to wait for sufficient personnel to "attain overwhelming superiority".  If we had gone in with fewer personel, there might have been a response. Innocent people might have been caught up in a gunbattle(...) We had troops assemble at a rate of 1,400 per day, and as soon as we had sufficient strength, the troops were sent in.

    The Red Cross. The organization was not given the green light to enter New Orleans. At the Red Cross website: Access was controlled by the National Guard and local authorities. We cannot enter against their orders. We cannot deliver aid until local authorities guarantee security and access. The Department of Homeland Security also asked it to stay out of New Orleans after the hurricane: Our presence would have kept people from evacuating.

    Federal agencies: The Director of FEMA, Michael Brown, provoked indignation when he said on Thursday that the Federal Government was unaware that there were evacuees at the Convention Center when all that was necessary was to turn on the television. Michael Brown is not a humanitarian assistance professional but he is a Republican Party figure from Oklahoma. FEMA officials blamed the local authorities, "who should have known  that federal assistance kicks in only after 72 to 96 hours." Local authorities criticized foot-dragging on the part of FEMA. The American Association of Ambulance Drivers volunteered 300 vehicles. It was told to make an official request through the General Services Administration, which in turn demanded an official FEMA request. The ambulances never took to the road.

    Is Louisiana paying the price because of Iraq? New Orleans is a victim of war: 40% of the Louisiana National Guard is in Iraq (3,800 troops). But President Bush has rejected this argument. The Federal Government blamed Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco for not having requested troops from other states soon enough. But according to interstate National Guard agreements, troops may be lent for civil defense operations, not for maintaining order. An exchange of faxes was necessary to authorize out-of-state troops to enter downtown New Orleans.

    Where was President Bush? Mr. Bush is being criticized by members of his own party for not having understood the scale of the catastrophe. On Tuesday August 30th, Bush was at a military ceremony in San Diego. He flew to Washington the next day.  His plane flew over the disaster area. His aides were not with him to brief him personally. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card was in Maine. Condoleezza Rice was on a private visit to New York to go shopping Ferragamo's on 5th Avenue.

    •  What?! (none)
      National Guard: The Guard has responsibility for maintaining order and for civil defense and is under the orders of state governors. Lt. General Steven Blum, the head of the National Guard, said on Saturday that his troops did not enter New Orleans sooner because they did not foresee the collapse of the civilian law enforcement: Then he claimed he had to wait for sufficient personnel to "attain overwhelming superiority".  If we had gone in with fewer personel, there might have been a response. Innocent people might have been caught up in a gunbattle(...) We had troops assemble at a rate of 1,400 per day, and as soon as we had sufficient strength, the troops were sent in.

      This is outrageous.  New Orleans is not Mogadishu (as the NG found when they actually entered).  Treating an American city like a foreign occupied zone?  What the hell are they thinking?  Perhaps they really think that an area full of poor black people, where those few who vote, vote Democratic, really is a foreign country.  It's sure alien to their understanding -- as, apparently, are both compassion and intelligence.

  •  websites being scrubbed (4.00)
    There was a study on the last "big one" to hit N.O., which included racial and income demographics of who stayed at the Superdome, and showed exactly who evacuated from the city, who didn't, and why. It was based on a survey of N.O. residents conducted afterward. The feedback and results of the Superdome use were generally positive.

    I linked to it several days ago in a couple comments. Just went to get it to post it here, to show you why I think they thought the Superdome was a good idea. But the website has been scrubbed. I think it must be part of an official coverup. That web page has been there for years, and it suddenly disappears right now, with Bushco and the local officials trying to cover their asses?

    •  pull it down from google (none)
      or find it on webarchive.org.
      post a diary here.
    •  Where was that web site was hosted? (none)
      A lot of NO-based web pages are unavailable right now... can't imagine why.

      I'd love to read that report. My son told me the word amongst his friends was different -- that even with the power staying on, a night at the Superdome was pure hell. Absolutely the last resort to save your life. Don't go there if you have any other options.

      Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

      by Canadian Reader on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:51:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rep Mark Foley (R-FL) was on CSPAN (none)
    Washington Journal this morning at 8:30 ET (video is not archived yet. I will find and post the time when it comes up on website)

    He said people  in the Gulf coast area (and of course the Feds, via the military bases all around the Gulf)  had pretty clear indications almost 4-5 days before the storm hit on Monday.  that it was going to be a major serious event (video is not archived yet. I will find and post the timepoint when it comes up on website).

    Makes sense. The Gulf is ringed by military air bases, and the oil companies have a ~1000 valuable offshore oil/gas platforms & rigs and ~30,000 workers on them (which were all safely evacuated on Friday by the way) and oodles of  measurement buoys, weather planes, satellites, and sophisticated weather models etc., to alert them to inclement conditions.

    •  "Max Mayfield of NOAA was projecting (none)
      that the Hurricane would likely strike in a severe way, in this area, 5 days out" --Quote from Rep Mark Foley (minute 10:25) made today on CSPAN.

      Isn't NOAA a federal agency?
      Don't Bush and FEMA listen to NOAA about weather predictions?

      •  5 days out ... (none)
        was Wednesday morning.  At that time, what became Katrina was still Tropical Depression 12, and NHC had not even put up a hurricane watch for Florida yet.

        Yes, there was some mention in the discussions (not written by Mayfield, BTW) that the storm might intensify in the Gulf, and that the most likely second landfall would be somewhere between the big bend of Florida and western Louisiana.  But it's nonsense to claim that NHC was making any definitive statements about a major hurricane landfall anywhere, let alone specifically in the NOLA area.

  •  high school science class (none)
    A friend of mine who is a high school science teacher says she teaches about the possible effect of a big hurricane on New Orleans in her high school science class.

    SURELY the people whose JOB IT IS to plan for this stuff were aware of it. I mean, come on.

  •  thank you, don't stop.. n/t (none)
  •  Thank you (none)
    For putting this all together.

    And especially for finding the "certain death" NOAA warning. I haven't been able to locate it at the NOAA archives, and at least one poster here last week said he believed it was a hoax and never existed.

  •  Categorization (none)

    jotter's Lists of High Impact Diaries: daily and weekly archives (bring your own bendy straws)

    by sele on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 07:39:02 AM PDT

  •  Weather guys knew--so did DoD (4.00)
    My Dad's also a retired NWS meteorologist. He was on the ground with NWS team after Camille and oversaw forecasting, warnings and weather alerts for large populations areas for many years. We talked about the extreme urgency of warnings before Katrina made landfall. There's just no way disaster preparedness official at any level -- all the way down to individual police officers on patrol anyplace in the USA -- could have misunderstood the urgency of the warnings issued for Katrina. Any suggestion to the contrary is a lie. Period.

    But there's more to the story of the catastrophe in New Orleans than high level government officials refusing to push the start button on disaster preparedness plans. What of the failure to respond to the human disaster which followed from withholding emergency services? Like water at the Louisiana Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center. Forget about those measly 1-liter bottles of water helicopters finally started tossing at storm victims several days after the storm passed. Where were the 100,000 gallon tanks of fresh water which could have been airlifted to survivors at the Superdome and Convention Center minutes after the storm passed, on Monday evening? A retired high level civilian DoD official told me yesterday that US Military helicopters are capable of dropping 100,000 gallon tanks of fresh water on site, placing them "on a dime". How the hell do people think armies go to war, for God's sake? American Troops sure as hell don't shower, cook and drink from 1-liter water bottles in the field. Who ordered the military NOT to respond, NOT to carry out disaster relief missions?

    NorthCom Lt. Commander Sean Kelly told BBC that NorthCom was ready to go well in advance of Katrina making landfall, but that US Military standing operating procedures to relieve New Orleans were never initiated. On whose orders did NorthCom stand down?

    •  chimpy (none)
      de chimp.. its all his baby

      The SM-62 Snark was a USAF intercontinental nuclear cruise missile that was operational in 1960-1961.

      by nika7k on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 09:53:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  100,000 gal == 800,000 lbs (none)
      Sure, there are helos which can airlift an empty 100,000 gallon tank into place.  However, 100K gallons of water weighs 800,000 pounds, not including the weight of the tank required to hold it.  Someone's making up facts on the fly.

      That said, there's no reason that a steady stream of Blackhawk helos should not have been dropping off 9000-lb cargo net loads of MREs, bottled water, and temporary 'bucket' toilets at these facilities.

      -AG

      You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

      by AlphaGeek on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 03:00:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll check (none)
        AlphaGeek raises a good point. These transport numbers are way less than 400 tons. Sure seems like someone could have floated big tanks of potable water in on a barge or, as you say, could have dropped smaller loads.

        I'll ask for confirmation of airlift capacity and post corrected number when/if I get it.  

  •  Just In Case... (none)
    ...It hasn't already been done. This is too important to lose track of.

    CategoryKatrina
    CategoryFEMA
    CategoryBrown
    CategoryChertoff
    CategoryNWS
    CategoryNationalWeatherService
    CategoryHomelandSecurity
    CategoryDHS
    CategoryFlood

    Add more if you can think of them!

  •  Thanks Federalist (none)
    These facts are crucial to amass into the counter argument that the Bush administration is strategizing. FEMA was dissembled and folded into the "war of terror" and the Bush administration was warned for YEARS about the devastating effect of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans. For those of us who have lived for decades on the Gulf Coast, the harsh reality of having literally sometimes hours to determine whether or not to evacuate (because hurricanes are capricious and because large cities simply cannot evacuate an entire population within the 72 hours out point). It's a very complex convergence of factors, not excluding the experience of many of us from past experience that you spend hundreds of dollars to evacuate out of the hurricane's way, and then the storm may miss you entirely. At any rate, the basic truth about this horror is that the Bush administration DIVERTED FUNDS from the infrastructure which was needed to protect New Orleans. But also, people in New Orleans were warned early on that the federal government would not help them, and the state and local government COULD NOT help them--it takes 72 hours to evacuate New Orleans. There simply wasn't enough time.

    http://rawstory.com/news/2005/July_2005_article_reveals_Red_Cross_told_poor_Youre_on_your_o_0902.htm l

  •  Quotes (none)
    "No one expected that weak spot to be on a canal that, if anything, had received more attention and shoring up than many other spots in the region" Alfred C. Namoi a senior project manager for the corps of engineers and a thiry year vet of efforts to waterproof the city. From the N.Y. Times.

    "Bush Administration is insisting that House Republicans reinstate hundreds of millions of dollars they cut from politically sensitive disaster relief projects; dispute over $389 million in proposed cuts for Federal Emergency Management Agency is awkard struggle that pits  White House against it's usual allies in holding down government spending; it also points out how politically attuned White House appears to be to disaster relief,"
    Date 6-21-2001 N.Y. Times reporter Phillip Shenon

    "But look at all the other things they had to deal with. I'm telling you , nobody thought this was going to happen like this. But what happened here is they escaped--New Orleans escaped Katrina. But it brought all the water up the Mississippi River and all in the Pontchartrain, and then when it started running and that levee broke, they had problems they never could have forseen"   Bill Clinton

    The truth is an important.

    •  Bullshit (none)
      Your first quote: if that section of levee received more attention that other spots, it was precisely because a) it was in a critical location and b) it was a likely point of failure - unless you think engineers are really stupid and just arbitrarily commit limited resources. Regardless, people have know for years the levee system could fail somewhere and the NWS bulletins indicate it was known Mon AM that levees were being topped.

      Your second quote indicates the Bush Administration clearly knew about the potential problem and had over 4 years to do something about it. That they didn't give it priority is criminal.

      Your third quote is just Clinton with his head up his ass - everybody except the Bush Adminstration and apparently Clinton knew about the problem. If Clinton didn't know about, then he needs to answer the question about why he budgeted a lot of money for hurricane protection for NO when the problems "weren't foreseen".

      We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

      by badger on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:56:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tip my hat to you (none)
    I am stunned and speechless. Is there a small department within FEMA that's supposed to receive, monitor or track all NOAA bulletins? What I mean is, how does FEMA know when there is a dire warning? Do the bulletins just pop up in a fax machine in a corner office, or is there a process by which they get notified?
  •  Failure of Government (none)
    The canal flood walls that were overtopped were the sole responsibility of the Corps of Engineers. The Corps said that they were designed for a category 3 hurricane and that a 0.5% probability storm toppled them. But, this was not unanticipated and Camille and Ivan were pointed out as strong hurricanes that passed close by New Orleans. The weather warnings were explicit: SOME LEVEES IN THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA COULD BE OVERTOPPED.

    Congress and the President of the United States determined that they did not need to spend more money to provide a higher level of protection for New Orleans. The money was spent elsewhere, including Iraq or tax cuts were given to the wealth. They were wrong. The Corps, Congress and the President are solely responsible for Lake New Orleans no matter how the facts are spun or hidden.

  •  I am NOT a meteorologist and knew.. (none)
    I don't think anyone has to be a meteorologist to see the horrible disaster was coming. My wife & I were on vacation. No TV. We followed the storm on the internet. I was up to nearly 4 in the morning when it hit.  

    I was able to see 3 days before the storm hit it would be a disaster:
    1. I read. The warnings were very strong.
     2. Saw the pictures on the Web. Katrina was huge.  

     Conclusion. The powers  could of gotten people out were either blind and couldn't see the radar or were illiterate because the warnings were very clear. They don't seem blind nor illiterate to me.  
     It is because they didn't care and didn't bother to see what was going on.  Anyone stating they didn't know----LIARS!

  •  You know, being a disaster nut.. (none)
    Those warnings by the National Weather Service were some of the most extreme I've ever seen. I don't know how you could miss "DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED" and "WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS." as a warning.
    •  If you had seen these warnings (none)
      and lived in New Orleans, what would you have done?
      •  Spent 10 hours driving to Baton Rouge (none)
        But then again, I have a car.

        I've actually been to that city, and there's nothing more disconcerting than standing on Bourbon Street and seeing ships go by at eye level.

        Then again, I live in California, so I guess we're all taking our chances.

        Federal Emergency Mismanagement Agency T-Shirts -- http://www.cafepress.com/thosebastards/

        by Those Bastards on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 09:34:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Had you been asked (none)
          Would you have driven a bus load of the less fortunate to Baton Rouge with you? The buses were there and plenty were going anyway. With the mandatory evacuation in effect could not the city resouced been better used

          All politics should be local

          •  I've thought of this a lot (none)
            All of the neighbors on my little dead-end street have a car...but I live in one of the poorest towns in my state....many in the larger community don't.

            I'd love to see emergency planning at least include instructions that "if there is an emergency evacuation, go to nearest public school and all citizens with space in their vehicles are asked to share the evacuation.  

            BUT the big question then becomes...where to take them, and is there a place to leave them that's safe?   I don't mean to dump my townspeople....I mean that there's a reason I live in a poor town.  I don't have resources to support myself for more than a day or two at a motel, let alone support others, if they can't.  For example:  perhaps I could sleep in my car and have enough food to last a week from the pantry.  If I picked up a carload, none of us could sleep in the car and the food would last a day.   So we need plans for transportation AND to know there will be shelter, food, and water when we get there.

            I know that this same calculation, multiplied by thousands, led to uncounted deaths in New Orleans.  "One or two of us could get out, but not all of us....so we'll all stay.  We have no place to go."  If we're serious about saving lives, we MUST publicize that there are shelters, that people won't be charged for using them, that there will be security and some kind of privacy there, etc.

            "I came to see that news is what people want to keep hidden, and everything else is publicity". ...Bill Moyers, 5/15/05

            by revsue on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:48:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's why they went to the Superdome (none)
              and the convention center.

              Relatively high ground, well constructed buildings that can hold a large amount of people, with bathroom and food facilities.

              I'm sure there was some food there, and water -- but those were limited. Electricity is the problem, of course, but if you're safe and relatively dry, with enough water (even if the food runs out), you'll be OK FOR A FEW DAYS.

              Those people should have been out of there by Wednesday at the latest. At the very least, they should have dropped food and water outside the dome/center.

              That's the true crime. There was no reason for that. They knew where those people were, they knew where the hospitals were, they knew where the nursing homes were. At the very least, they could have started evacuating them as soon as the rain stopped.

  •  Nagin's imcompetence (none)
    So here's my question.  If everyone "in the know" knew that this was going to be such an incredible disaster, why didn't Nagin use the hundreds of school buses under his command (and less than 1 mile from the Superdome) to evacuate the people without transportation?
    Heck, why didn't he AT LEAST move those buses to higher ground so they COULD BE USED after the city was flooded??????
    •  A fair question, I think (none)
      and I also believe that it will be addressed in the moratorium.  Yes, the post-storm response by the Feds has been criminal and deadly.  No doubt.  The implications of the FEDERAL response touch every American, especially in these days of heightened terrorist threats.

      The local failure to accommodate evacuations for all citizens is another important issue.  Had they failed to plan to evacuate all those willing but unable?  If they had a plan, why wasn't it implemented?  On and on.  The local failure underscores the need of citizens to ensure their local governments have effective and rehearsed plans in place for disasters from terrorist attacks to earthquakes to fires.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. Katrina Relief Diary-$14K+ and counting

      by RenaRF on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 09:15:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why the distinction (none)
        Between the Federal Government and the local one? How is it that the feds are criminals and the locals are just possibly inefectual and unrehearsed?

        "All politics are local" Tip O'Neill

        •  Because (none)
          with warnings this dire,  and a storm this large the city and state are going to be quickly overwhelmed. Our federal government was on vacation. When Bush saw these warnings did he think his best reaction was to continue his vacation. A tragedy this large has to be answered for from the top. That will be Mr Bush.
        •  Because After the Shit Hit the Fan... (none)
          There was nothing that the Mayor could do. His resources were gone.

          But Bush didn't even pay attention until days later. He stayed with his vacation schedule, and the political appointees below him did nothing effective during that time, either. This is why they are criminal. All Bush had to do was show some actual leadership, and there would be thousands more alive today.

          This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

          by Mr X on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:28:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hmmm... (none)
      Well he did tell people to drop everything an leave. However He did a good job by ensuring that there was a central point to get the population together, so that they could be airlifted out as soon as the storm passed.  I don't think you could realistically expect a city to completely evacuate at the orders of the city power structure when thare hit bya hurricane.  Too many people withther own families and property to defend. 200  of his own police resigned 2 killed themselves.  Nafgin needed help from the outside.  It may prove to be the case that he actually saved more lives than anyone else.
      •  additionally (none)
        A hurricane of that size can't be easily outrun.  I think the shelter of the Convention Center (injured) and Superdome(mass) made sure that we didn't have bus loads of people caught out exposed in flimsy buses.  Nagin made the best job of the situation posible.  Those who wnated to shelter had a shelter.  The trouble came because no-one dropped toilets, water and food onto the parking lot of the stadium after the storm blew through.  
        •  Good Point (none)
          I'm treding carefully here for fear of being labeled a troll.  I personally find the post-hurricane response nearly criminal in its lateness, but I still think Nagin should have done more....MUCH MORE...before the hurricane hit.
          The disaster was declared and the city was told to evacuate WELL before the hurricane struck.  If your logic held, why would it not apply to the 80% of the population out on the roads in "flimsy" cars?  Heck, even if he could only have removed 1000 people that would still be 1000 less people needing evacuation later on.
          At an absolute BARE MINIMUM he should have moved the buses to higher ground so they could be used should evacuation become necessary!
  •  Hey Federalist. (4.00)
    I saw the warnings you highlight in the original post as they came off the NHC site - I watch hurricanes and whatnot simply because they scare the hell out of me - and I have to tell you:  When I first read the bulletins that had the damage estimations in it I thought it was some kind of hacker joke - that someone had broken into the NHC's website and had posted this.  I have never seen a bulletin with language that strong and that precise.  Never.  

    Separately, did you happen to see a diary, I think yesterday, that talked about the insufficiency of the Saffir-Simpson CAT scale?  I think the suggestion was that Katrina was far worse than a CAT 5 in terms of damage and that classification needed to be reworked to take into account many more factors other than windspeed... Wondered what you thought about that...

    The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. Katrina Relief Diary-$14K+ and counting

    by RenaRF on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 09:11:46 AM PDT

    •  Yes^2 (none)
      I also couldn't believe they were real either.  I have never seen anything close to wording that strong from the NWS.  Ever.  Period.

      I did see that diary and thought it made good points.  I'm not a expert in this area but I recognize that the major scales for rating severe weather phenomena, namely the Fujita Scale for ranking tornadoes and the Saffir-Simpson Scale for classifying hurricanes, have inherent limitations as they are.

      •  Same here... (none)
        I remember reading that when it came across and my wife and I looked at each other wondering if someone was playing a joke.  Usually the NWS warnings are fairly tame and not nearly so strongly worded.  How could anyone say after this detailed alert that they had no warning?

        Life is like a box of chocolates. It's just another casualty of the Elephant's foot.

        by Zergle on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:18:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is the same as 9/11... (none)
    The day 9/11 happened I checked the State Department warnings, and there were international warnings against increased terrorist activity, potentially targeting Americans, with threats regarding the highjacking of aircraft.

    Where is all of the money for FEMA and Homeland Security going?  Into the pockets of Halliburton.

    Certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man. - OWH

    by blockbuster on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 09:12:51 AM PDT

  •  Following Katrina (4.00)
    When a Cape Verde depression dissipated over the Bahamas, I thought we had dodged the bullet. However, soon afterwards a new depression - on the other side of the ridge the pushes storms out over the Atlantic formed. Late on the 26th of August, as she ambled over Florida, I got worried.

    No, I'm not a meteorologist, I follow this stuff strictly because of the economic impact. After Dennis, I knew that this year could well have our number. When Katrina didn't even break a sweat - she was expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm over Florida, and instead she stayed at hurricane strength - it was clear that this was the storm that could.

    Katrina was the beneficiary of some odd circumstances. In the Atlantic the monster storms are often spawned over Africa (NASA has a shockwave gallery on Hurricane Isabelle). Usually they head across the south of the carribean - and therefore stumble over the greater antilles, or they take the northern track, and skid over the Atlantic seaboard or even get swept out of the sea.
    The original depression carried all of its moisture, because it hadn't hit land, but because it died and regenerated - which is something that tropical cyclones often have happen, a shift in the center of convection - it "jumped the fence".

    But there was a second piece of the puzzle, a tropical wave pushing north from central America. These waves often produce tropical storms or even hurricanes by charging north through the gulf. One struck Mexico earlier this year. Usually they are late season storms, because the water is still warm enough, and the pacific winds that sheer them apart die down before the gulf cools off. Think of the gulf and carribean as a giant hot water bottle.

    Katrina sucked the moisture out of this wave as she sat over the gulf - and thus was laden with moisture, convection, and sitting over a region of water than had warmed up a great deal since Dennis.

    Even as she came off Florida, she was the kind of storm that you don't see in the Atlantic very much - looking more like a Pacific Super-typhoon - were storms can swell in the open waters - than a Hurricane from the Atlantic.

    Anyone who didn't think that this hurricane couldn't do huge damage was not paying attention. It wasn't a sure thing. There was a huge block of dry air, that could have slowed her down had she drifted a bit farther west - and there were many other bumps and turns.

    But we knew the gun was loaded when we spun the chambers.

    Notes:

    Do everyone a small favor today Click here to give positive feedback on the NHC wind probabilities product, It's useful and they are looking for ideas.

    A musical response to katrina.

  •  There were warnings as early as Friday (none)
    August 26th that could have given FEMA and Homeland "Security" more time. Senator Landrieux sent notices out on the 26th to Washington. Think of what could have been accomplished on Friday and Saturday before  the hurricane landfall. Hercules aircraft airlifts could have been organized for those without transportation: fly in emergency supplies, fly out people. And of course as Russert says, tent cities could have been established BEFORE landfall.

    This above all: to thine own self be true,... Thou canst not then be false to any man.-WS

    by Agathena on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 09:50:01 AM PDT

  •  God sent George Bush a scientist.... (none)
    A major hurricane striking New Orleans has long been one of the top three potential disasters scenarios anticipated for the US.

    Researchers described the devastating consequences of a storm surge topping the levees and flooding New Orleans. George W Bush gave tax breaks to big oil companies, and prayed to God for a solution.

    Newspapers and magazines ran features informing the public of the scientific findings. George W Bush doesn't read that much, but he asserted that global warming was not a certainty, gave weak fuel standards to the car companies, and he prayed that God would provide a solution.

    Politicians in Louisiana and New Orleans pleaded with the Federal Government to fund $105 Million for repairs and upgrades designed to mitigate the potential for disaster. George W Bush signed a bill cutting the funding to $40 Million, and proposing a $223 Million Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, pushed for a tax breaks for the wealthy, and prayed to God for a solution.

    So after devastation of the Hurricane Katrina, George W Bush was praying to God in the oval office, lamenting that God didn't provide a solution. Suddenly, the voice of God rings out:

    "What do you mean I didn't help you... I sent you a consensus of scientists, an investigation of journalists and a wing-bag of politicians. Why did you refuse my help?"

  •  Ntl Geographic article is October 2004 issue (none)
    Note the menu on the upper right corner.  I can verify this in an online database if you like, but it looks pretty clear to me on the website.

    "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

    by sarac on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:18:06 AM PDT

  •  Further Evidence (none)
    This article from Bluegrass Reports was submitted on Sunday, August 28th, the eve of Katrina. It's nothing official, but as you'll read, it confirms just how well known the "levee breach by a Cat 4-5 hurricane" synario truly was, before August 30th.

    I remember a while ago, might have been a year ago, a fascinating story on NPR about what a direct hit by a Category 4 or 5 hurricane would do to New Orleans. In essence, it could obliterate the entire city. Seriously.

    As I recall the story, since the city lies below sea level, a series of levees and pumps operate to keep out water during ordinary times. If a major storm hit with an enormous storm surge and rainfall, the water could not only breach the levees but also overwhelm and disable all the pumps and complete flood the city. Also, with the major petroleum and chemical plants, scientists have always worried about the unimaginable scope of environmental contamination. Accounts of 65-foot waves offshore are already being reported.

    We'll know in about 6 hours what fate holds for the fabulous city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

    Hat Tip to Mark Nickolas

    Because oil isn't free!

    by MHoward on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:22:27 AM PDT

  •  Got to go (1.20)
    I came to this wesite via a link from a news story. I am appalled at the amount of lies wrapped around the proverbial kernal of truth. Former great liberals like JFK, RFK and MLK would, I think, be saddend at the hatred found here. You are all bright people that have a lot to give to your fellow man but you will have to be more constructive if you wish to be taken serious. I have brought forth things that are not what you want to hear and you accuse me of attacking Clinton and Carter. This is interesting because I did not attack, I simply quoted Clinton and brought the truth of FEMA spending by previous administrations to the discussion. I was only debating the points and you called me a troll. It's o.k.  I still love you

    Peace

    •  IF Only You'd Brought Facts (4.00)
      to the "debate." Insted, you've parroted flawed rhetoric, that has already been addressed here, and other places, a thousand times.

      You're obviously a Bush apologist, and now you want to whine because people are calling you out on the distortions you attempted to present as facts.

      I have no problem with honest debate, the operative word being "honest," but please hold up your end of the debate. Present some documented evidence, don't just expect people to take your word for it. As far as I'm concerned, your credibility was already on thin ice, after this whining rant, it's been diminished to zero.

      Please come back when you have some form of evidence to support your charges. Until then, I would suggest that you grow up.

      Because oil isn't free!

      by MHoward on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:49:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't hurry back (4.00)
      It hasn't been determined yet whether FEMA funding has been sufficient to deal with the aftermath of Katrina. What has been determined clearly is that FEMA was extremely slow to respond (even Bush admits it), and if you read a lot of the info on this web site from people involved, you'll find the FEMA has also been hampering some efforts. I haven't heard either Chertoff or Brown (or Bush for that matter) claim that the delays were caused by lack of funding - that's your own little fantasy, and still lays the blame at the door of the GOP Congress and President.

      As to the Clinton quote, it's pure bullshit - you yourself admitted people have known of the potential problems since the 70s (and that's as likely the 1770s as the 1970s).

      What seems to disappoint you is that nobody thinks your totally irrelevant posts are in anyway a contribution to the discussion. There is a lot of anger here as you note, and it's perfectly justified. People don't like to see their government fail miserably at its primary functions due to the incompetence of its (Republican) leadership.

      We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

      by badger on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:54:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please conserve these files (none)
    Federalist: please contact The Memory Hole (http://www.thememoryhole.com/) and make certain that these files are preserved. The contact address is russ@mindpollen.com. Thank you.
  •  Recommend. (none)
    I heard this all on the weather channel and became downright frightened days before when shown the trajectory and reactions of the meteorologists.

    The local and state oficials acted rightly. But just as with Iraq, 9/11, slashing of Louisianna's corps of engineers and levee budget, removal of Nat'l guard troops and heavy water equipment; this administration "knew" but decided to ignore. Incompetence. Dereliction. Thousands of lives wiped out. Typical. Horrendous. Impeachable.

    "conservatives are the worshipers of dead radicals".

    by gandalf on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:45:11 AM PDT

  •  The little boy who cried wolf (none)
    Scientists who forecast severe weather have a responsibility to communicate the full range of possibilities. But the profit-driven, "culture of fear" MSM has been emphasizing the worst-case scenario for years. How many "Storm of the Century" storms did we have in the 20th century?

    Non-scientists have been taught to expect something less than whatever has been forecast, be it rain, snow, or hurricanes.

    Perhaps the most consistent gauge of a hurricane's strength is its "central pressure," the atmospheric pressure at the eye. Simply put, the lower the central pressure the stronger the hurricane. Here are some reference numbers -- don't worry about the units (millibars if you're interested):

    • 1013...normal, non-hurricane
    • 953...Isabel, 2003, Cat 2 at landfall
    • 943...Ivan, 2004, Cat 3 at landfall
    • 922...Andrew, 1992, Cat 4 at landfall
    • 909...Camille, 1969
    • 892...Labor Day Storm, 1935. Lowest recorded pressure in US history.

    At 5 a.m. (EDT) on the 27th, Katrina became very serious when her central pressure dropped from 963 to 945 in just 3 hours. Look at the chart above to see how significant that decrease in pressure is.

    Katrina's central pressure continued to steadily decrease until 8 a.m. (EDT) on the 28th, when it became crystal clear she was an impending disaster.

    Between 5 and 8 a.m. her central pressure dropped from 935 to 908. Just 150 miles from the coast and moving landward at 15 mph this was a no-brainer. Again, look above to see exactly what it means to have a central pressure of 908.

    Katrina made landfall with a central pressure of somewhere between 915 and 920, the third lowest in US history.

    But she was definitely headed for the record books by 8 a.m. 8/28/05 and anyone who's studied meteorology and believes in science knew it.

    -- "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression...will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day." -- Thomas Jefferson

    by Todd Johnston on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:51:16 AM PDT

    •  Oops! (none)
      I meant to post a reply to your comment thread -- but ended-up posting as a comment to the diary as a whole.  My intended comment, concerning Hurricane Andrew being upgraded to category 5, is just below. ;)
    •  Media were reporting 902 mBar (none)
      measurementsat times during the day on Sunday, from hurricane planes and other monitoring devices in the Gulf as the eye passed through them.
      •  Lowest sea-level pressure (none)
        found by the aircraft sampling Katrina on Sunday, that I am aware of, was indeed 902 millibars.
        •  This observation, of course ... (none)
          was several hours before the actual landfall.  The pressure came up about 15 mb before hitting the coast.
          •  I'm not sure... (none)
            ...exactly how they define it but certainly part of the storm is on land before "landfall." That explains why almost all hurricanes "weaken" some before officially making "landfall."

            And yes, the lowest central pressure I've seen from NOAA/NWS for Katrina was 902 mb at 5 p.m. (EDT) on the 28th.

            -- "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression...will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day." -- Thomas Jefferson

            by Todd Johnston on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 03:18:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Two thoughts Two questions (none)
    I was glued to the National Weather Service Forcast website the day Katrina hit and 24 hours before. I read similar advisories - as did hundreds of thousands of others. It is impossible to believe  Chertoff etc. didn't know what was going to happen and in fact what was happening. There was way to much information out there. Playing the CYA game ain't going to cut it.

    My first question and its not because I love 'conspiracies' that I am asking - I truely want to know - why did they wait so long? I no longer believe pure inmcompetence goes this far any more than ignoring 9/11 warnings. We know the agenda there - an excuse to go into Iraq. This has to be about more than stranding poor black people to die. That was the, as Rummie would say, collateral damage. The reason has yet to surface but this Administration is above nothing so nothing would surprise me.

    Thought Two. That same day ( and I believe at least 12-24 hours before) the people of New Orleans were told repeadedly to bring food and water for five days as there would be nothing for them but a shelter. Now I live in California and heard this 3 times so you gotta believe it was widely broadcast there.

    My question - if everyone in a position of responsibility in NO and the state knew what was to befall NO, and they did (letter of August 28th sent to Bush by Governor asking for all kinds of relief) where was the hick-up with food and water into the dome in NO at least 24 to 48 hours prior to Katrina hitting? They knew it wasn't going to materialize or the broadcasts of bring your own food and water would not have occurred. Why is no one speaking about where the request went and why supplies did not come. This is crucial because all manner of suffering could have been avoided. If the blame is with NO politicians, I'll accept it, but somehow I can't believe it. All thoughts welcome as I am sleeping less and less as the days go by and these questions persist.

  •  Hurricane Andrew (none)
    Andrew was later upgraded to category 5 after years of follow-up study and damage analysis.  The structural damage found in the hardest-hit areas south of Miami (Homestead, etc.) was found to be in-line with CAT 5 intensity.  Katrina, though it only officially made landfall as a category 4 storm, was larger and had a lower central barometric pressure than Andrew had.  Pretty telling statistics.
  •  A question that I've been wondering (none)
    This storm seemed to escalate rapidly from tropical storm to category 5 - two days by my reckoning.  Is this normal?  I can't seem to recall a hurricane that grew in intensity that quickly before.

    Another way to ask would be, what is the fastest a storm has gone from TS to Cat5 and how long is the normal progression?

    I think I may send this into Tom Skilling at WGN as well, but thought I'd get input from you...

    The American people love the Home Shopping Network because it's commercial-free. -- Will Durst

    by John H on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 02:25:26 PM PDT

    •  Define "Normal" (none)
      ok...yup, I am a meteorologist too, but I won't answer for Federalist.  Perhaps Federalist has a different opinion from mine, but here it goes...

      To answer your question, tropical systems entering the Gulf can become "explosive" due to the copious amounts of warm water, etc.  I think the environment that Katrina moved into after moving across Florida was exceptionally favorable to rapid development.

      Hurricanes can and do develop rapidly.  However, they do not seem to maintain that "major" strength indefinitely -- they tend to fluctuate.  Katrina just so happened to be close to land when it really exploded, so it did not have much time to fluctuate in strength before it made landfall.  

      I have seen some theoretical work looking into eddies within the currents in the Gulf that could also be related to rapid development (there is a supposition that Camille in 1969 fits that scenario).  But again, that is theoretical.

      Bottom line in weather...there is no "normal".  There are trends, etc., but the behavior of a particular storm/system is dependent on so many factors that any one of them can have a significant affect.

      With Katrina, it looks like it was just the right "brew" of water temperature, favorable upper level environment, etc. that came together to make one hell of a storm.

      The Meek Shall Inherit NOTHING

      by LickBush on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 03:38:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's has a very complicated answer (none)
      Many things effect hurricane strength and development. Some are well-known and easy to monitor, others are not.

      The 2 most important factors are sea-surface temperatures and wind shear. I haven't looked, but almost don't have to: the Gulf was probably very warm, and probably much warmer than the Atlantic east of Florida.

      By "wind shear" I mean that the wind speed high in the atmosphere can't be a lot higher than below, and it can't be blowing in a different direction. Essentially, hurricanes need to be "tall" and "straight." If the wind at the top is too strong or moving in a different direction, it blows the top off...sort of. ;-)

      Also, Katrina just barely clipped Florida. Hurricanes need warm water as "fuel." And friction is much higher over land than water so land slows down the hurricane's rotation a lot. Florida didn't take much out of Katrina which allowed her to get into the Gulf and recharge.

      Finally, wind and ocean currents determine a storm's "track." The Gulf of Mexico is a beach resort for a reason: warm water, gentle breezes. Katrina sat in the Gulf and "bombed out" meaning she quickly gained size and strength as her central pressure dropped way down.

      Katrina's strength and rapid growth are normal given the circumstances, although the confluence of those circumstances isn't common.

      What's abnormal is that everyone has known for 25 years this was going to happen some day yet little was done to prepare for it.

      OK, actually that really isn't all that abnormal.

      -- "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression...will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day." -- Thomas Jefferson

      by Todd Johnston on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 03:47:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You should have said.... (none)
    ...something like: "admittedly, the forecasts do not mention the possibility of levee or floodwall breaches or failure."
  •  Katrina observations (4.00)
    I live in north Mississippi, 200 miles north of the coast.  Although the hurricane hit us, it was a weak Cat 1 by the time it got to us, so our town had some  
    power outages and trees down, but not much other damage.  My husband is fascinated by storms, so we watched the Weather Channel faithfully for a couple of days before the storm.  Some friends of ours actually drove the 280 miles to New Orleans to help family members evacuate, and got back to Starkville (our town) well before the storm got started.  It was completely obviously from the reports that the storm was picking up strength and would hit as a Cat 4 or 5. People took it VERY seriously.  

    I was glued to the tv because I remembered reading the National Geographic article from last year.  We were worried sick.  

    My town now is full of refugees, and gas is hard to come by. The students at our university are shell shocked---one of my students lost his best friend, and many others lost their family homes.

    Carolyn

  •  How long will they last? (none)
    Of course Santorum targeted the NWS before... but now, I fear for them.

    Bushco has shown an amazing willingness to retaliate against anyone, and I mean anyone, who makes them look bad. I would not be surprised in the least to see Santorum's bill suddenly get new life, and/or half of the NWS meteorologist positions be cut back in the next budget.

    It wouldn't matter in the least that NWS is one of the best federal agencies -- bar none, and that their function is essential in times of crisis and useful to everyone the rest of the time. Their attempts to get the word out were heroic -- and the rest of their work is consistently competent and performed with the goal of public service in mind.

    Federalist, keep us posted. And anyone who hears anything about threats to the NWS, spread it far and wide.

  •  Overheard on talk radio today (4.00)
    I don't know who he was listening to (my boss listens to talk radio all day long), but I was in ihis office when this little gem came over the airwaves (this is a paraphrase, I was working and didn't get to take down the exact quote.):

    Well we can't expect the President to be up to speed on the needs of all the cities in the nation. How was he supposed to know that New Orleans might be in trouble?

    This just frosted me because I do expect the President to be aware of the major possible disasters that could befall major American cities and whether the President knew it before the weather got bad or not, it is the FEMA director's job to know these things and have contigency plans. He should have briefed Bush on them as the storm got closer, so yes, Bush should have known several days in advance that help would absolutely be needed and authorized the prepostioning of help. Heck I heard the hospital ship won't even be there til this Thursday. It should have been there last Wednesday at the latest. This is one of the main things we have hospital ships for.

  •  Open letter to Congresscritters (4.00)
    Friend of mine just sent this to his congresscritters.

    Dear Senator,

    As your constituent I urge you to speak out publicly against Senate Bill 786 and to publicly support the Nation Weather Service.

    It is clear that this agency is incredibly valuable to our nation. Their dire warnings about the effect of Hurricane Katrina were accurate. They provide a service that saves lives. Their level of competence is clearly extraordinary in these times.

    Please join me in praising the work of the NWS. It is our duty to raise public awareness of this agency and their extraordinary competence.

    I'm not left or right. I'm ahead. Progressives for the future!

    by weirdscenes on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 08:12:23 PM PDT

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