August 31, 2005


B.D. went to bed Sunday night braced for a horrific Category 5 hurricane-with the very most damaging part of the 'eye' itself--set to blast through New Orleans leaving in its wake prospective scenes of biblical-like plight. We woke up to reports that Katrina had weakened to Category 4, looked to spare New Orleans the worst punches, and generally would be a nasty storm, all right, but nothing cataclysmic. And then, today, I see the day after that this storm has indeed lived up to most of the dire Sunday evening billing and prognostications, that it is a horrific disaster indeed, and that the human toll through the Gulf Coast, particularly in Mississippi, is tragic. As for the Big Easy, she's pretty much submerged, and the city's many pressing crises (evacuations, looting, clean up, disease, levee support, power supply etc etc) will present huge challenges in the coming days given the sheer scale of the destruction. B.D's thoughts are with the many victims of this immense natural tragedy, and I gather that Glenn and Hugh (and doubtless many others, including some on the other side of the aisle) are looking to point bloggers and their readers to various charities/relief organizations that can help. So point your browser there...

Posted by Gregory at August 31, 2005 03:36 AM | TrackBack (1)

First, let me echo Greg's sentiments about those feeling the wrath of Katrina and its aftermath. From an analytical perspective, I'd be interested in whether any of the Homeland Security experts reading can offer a view on whether a disaster of Katrina's scale actively utilizes and tests DHS emergency management capabilities.

Certainly if one compares say a WMD incident in a metropolis with Katrina there are profound differences but also many similarities. Are we better prepared for this scale of disaster today than we were 4 years ago? Also, has Iraq pulled away significant amount of the Gulf Coast national guard units that would normally respond? How do we balance Guard reserve commitments for consequences management vs. overseas deployment requirements?

Posted by: POTUS B at August 31, 2005 04:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

First off, I live in south florida and hurricanes are an annual event. It's not the eye of the hurricane that does the most damage. It's ocean water and shingles. If your shingles aren't nailed down, they come off and the interior roof collapses from the weight of absorbed water. Ocean water isn't so simple. Hurricanes spin counterclockwise. You don't want the hurricane pushing water up into a dead end (like Lake Ponchitrain). If it does, then you want the winds to shift before the hurricane leaves so that can suck it all back out. Which Katrina did not because she veered east. IMHO, NOLA flooded because Katrina filled up the lake and then left without draining it. When the sheet-flow from rains began accumulating into the lake it was too much and went over the top. ... IMO, if NOLA had taken a direct hit it would not have flooded. The final wind would have been west-to-east and it would have sucked enough water out of the lake to relieve pressure on the levies.

Now people are going to want some one to blame. After some thought I have decided who I will blame. Manatees. Yup. I blame the manatees. (I never liked them anyway. They eat all the seagrass and hurt fishing). But ... it's not the seagrass this time. It's the everglades. The everglades resoration projects would have directed waterflow into the everglades and Florida bay. The cooler water would have killed Katrina in the everglades. But the restoration is being held up because of manatees. It seems that the electrical power plants need the water and the manatees need the power plant discharge to keep them warm during winter. So restoration projects have been delayed. And Katrina didn't die in the everglades like she should have. So I blame the environmentalists whose short sighted efforts to save the manatee turned the everglades and Florida Bay into a recovery ward for ailing hurricanes. Yeah, that's my story and I think it's every bit as valid as blaming FEMA or the city/state/federal government.

Posted by: moron99 at September 3, 2005 10:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm a current evacuee of NO and can attest the the utter unseriousness that the local polititions and bureaucrats take for their jobs. The emergency preparedness guys have been for years telling us to prepare for the big one. It's inevitable. The results will be catastrophic.

When the big one did hit, the ones most prepared were the average citizen. The city was totally unprepared.

The irony is the Bush is getting all the criticism for the federal government's reaction but it was he who had the quickest and most effective response. No one is saying a word about the failure of the state and local governments.

You think the fact that the Mayor and Governor are Democrates have something to do with it? Nahhh.

Posted by: Kevin at September 4, 2005 06:05 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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