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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Bee-dubya-ell BS: I smell revolution in the wind (32) RE: BS: I smell revolution in the wind 03 Sep 05

Just as the levees around New Orleans were built to withstand a category three hurricane, it appears that the ability of FEMA and other government agencies to respond to hurricane disasters is at about a "category 3" level.

I live in the area that was hit by Ivan last September and Dennis this past July. In both cases, federal response was outstanding. Food, water and ice were available almost immediately. The National Guard did a great job of helping with distribution of necessities, traffic control, and looting curtailment.

But, as with all seldom-tested systems, response was not perfect. There were cracks and many people wondered how well those cracks would hold up if more stress was put on the system. Now we know.

Prior to Katrina's landfall Charlie, which hit southwest Florida in August 2004, and Ivan were the second and third most costly hurricanes on record (after 1992's Andrew). Charlie was a very strong but mercifully small category 4 storm. FEMA did fine. Ivan was a monstrously large category 3 storm. FEMA did fine. Katrina was as strong as Charlie, but as big as Ivan. FEMA broke down. The system just wasn't prepared for something that big and devastating.

The worst-case scenario for a Gulf coast hurricane strike has always been a category 4 or 5 storm hitting New Orleans. The National Hurricane Center knew it. Every meteorologist and climatologist in the country knew it. FEMA knew it. But the worst-case scenario simply wasn't planned for. It should have been. And for about what it costs to build a handful of stealth bombers it could have been.

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