Katrina Flashback: The Warnings

[EXCERPTED FROM "Katrina Flashback: The Warnings."]

With the one-year anniversary of hurricane Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans now at hand, the Bush administration has launched its revisionist history project.  (Last week's stage-managed journey of the Big Easy Republican Rockey Vaccarella was just the first salvo of the full scale blitz from the White House.)

Central to President Bush's effort to evade responsibility for the calamitous federal response to Katrina was and will be the "failure of imagination" defense.  Like Condi Rice's stunning 9/11 claim that nobody "could have predicted that these people...would try to use an airplane as a missile," Bush, Rove, Mehlman and the GOP machinery will declare that the inundation of New Orleans was unknowable.  As President Bush said on September 1, 2005, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

Of course, virtually everyone understood the risk that Katrina posed to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.  On this the first anniversary, it is worth recalling the week of warnings from the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.

By 10 AM Central time on Saturday, August 27th, the NOAA National Hurricane Center went beyond merely sounding the alarm, and declared "Katrina could reach category 5 status." 12 hours later, the fears deepened with the warning that the storm surge could be "locally as high as high as 25 feet along with large and dangerous battering waves." By 10:00 PM CST on Sunday night, NOAA pleaded that "preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."

But the full assessment of the looming disaster came on Sunday morning, August 28th.  In the starkest possible terms, the National Weather Service described the "devastating damage expected" that would leave "most of the area uninhabitable for weeks."

Reprinted in full below is the complete National Weather Service advisory from Sunday, August 28th at 10:11 AM.  To see the collection of NWS warnings for the days leading up to Katrina making landfall in New Orleans, click here.  For a complete Katrina timeline, visit the excellent archive at ThinkProgress.

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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!

Tags: brownie, Bush, katrina, New Orleans (all tags)

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