Sunday, August 26, 2012

"New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu Did His Best Ray Nagin impression Sunday,

announcing a no-evacuation, “shelter in place” plan that suggests a stunning level of confidence that a worst-case scenario won’t happen, at a time when it remains, meteorologically speaking, very much in play."  -- Brendan Loy
Official National Hurricane Center issued 7pm CDT
New Orleans is under a hurricane warning (see graphic above). There is a real possibility that Isaac will affect New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Katrina.  

So, after Katrina -- in a city where many peoples' "place" is below sea level -- New Orleans is going to shelter-in-place as Isaac approaches!? With a new levee system that has never been tested?! No evacuation?

Brenden goes on to write,

In a bizarrely low-key press conference that seemed more focused on calming residents’ “anxiety” and vaguely telling them to “be prepared” (and then making of a series of mundane announcements about municipal matters like trash collection and parking restrictions) than on advising them to take specific, concrete steps commensurate to the risk of a possibly major hurricane potentially making a direct hit on America’s most hurricane-vulnerable city starting in about 48 hours...

Please read his entire post here

Earlier today, I gave politicians credit for putting evacuations in place and coordinating emergency management. I may have been too kind.

Here is the issue:
  • The forecasts for Andrew were excellent. The response was horrible.
  • The forecasts for Katrina were excellent. The response was disastrous. 
  • Now, like in Katrina, an evacuation is being danced around. See a pattern?
In Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather I devote three chapters to what went wrong during Katrina. I urge Mayor Landrieu to read it -- tonight. [the Kindle version is here and the Nook version is here] Otherwise, he seems destined to repeat some of Mayor Nagin's mistakes if the account of his performance at today's news conference is any indication.

Part of the motivation for writing Warnings and When the Sirens Were Silent is to insure these preventable disasters don't keep occurring. 

To my readers on the Gulf coast: If you are in the hurricane warning area, be prepared to evacuate. If it looks like a major hurricane is approaching you'll want to evacuate regardless of what local officials say.


  1. You might want to spell Brendan's name correctly.

    Landrieu seems intent on doubling down on Nagin's mistakes, since he's saying people won't even be able to use the Superdome as a shelter.

    The rules for hurricanes are:
    1: Run from the water. If you live in an area lower than the storm surge could reasonably be expected to reach, you need to get to higher ground. You have to make this decision very early, as this typically requires moving the farthest distance, and you don't want to get caught in a traffic jam.

    2: Hide from the wind. If you are on high-enough ground, but in a structure that can't withstand hurricane-force winds, within an area where such winds could exist before the storm loses strength, find a stronger structure where you can safely ride out the storm. Because the stronger structures may literally be within walking distance of unsafe buildings, if you've done your contingency planning ahead of time and are sure of a place in such shelters, you can make the decision to take shelter much later than for those who have to move a hundred miles inland to find a place they won't get flooded.

    This was poorly communicated during Rita, in which more people died in traffic jams trying to "run from the wind" than died in the storm itself. Had only the Galveston and other lower-level people evacuated, they could have done so in a more orderly fashion, and those who lived on higher ground could have stayed at strong buildings closer to home.

  2. Spelling fixed. Thanks for the correction. Brendan: Apologize for the spelling error.

  3. If there was ever a time to promote one's own book, this is it. Alas, the officials in FL are more likely to listen to a ouija board than a meteorologist with expert knowlege of this subject.

  4. Proud to promote it in this unique situation. Thanks to Nook and Kindle, local officials can upload it -- turn to the hurricane chapters -- and get useful info almost immediately!

    There was a new review of "Warnings" (by a meteorologist) posted at Amazon earlier today who talks about the book's contribution to the warning knowledge.

  5. Hope the storm is hype ... But some models spell trouble as it could be a cat 3.. This IS THE TIME to leave...not pretend humans can fight off storms.

  6. I would be 100% OK with me to be completely wrong about this one!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.