Monday, August 28, 2006
Setting the record straight: Evacuation
To quote from the book Disater: Hurricane Katrina an dthe Failure of Homeland Secuity.
"City and state officials had manged to evacuate some 90 percenbt of the city in advance of the storm--a rate unprecednted in the annals of disaster response."
--- from the Author's Note, page xiv.
Somewhere, I have the backround to show that the reason a mandatory evacuation order wasn't given until Saturday is that the National Weather Service was still unsure Friday where the hurricane was going, and told state and local officials not to make an announcment until the models run Friday afternoon Aug. 26 were re-run overnight. I'm going to bo back a year and try to find those links.
Based on what I've heard so far, we are going to hear and read so many bald-faced lies in the next few hours fed to the media by people who are not friends of New Orleans, people with their own agendas directly contrary to ours.
I strongly recommend you watch this space and all of the New Orleans bloggers listed in the gutter at right if you want the real facts.
Katrina NOLA New Orleans Hurricane Katrina Think New Orleans Louisiana FEMA levees flooding Corps of Engineers We Are Not OK wetlands news rebirth Debrisville Federal Flood 8-29 Rising Tide Remember
Still it infuriates that Nagin repeatedly talks about a "ten hour window," when in fact there was a 30=36hr gap between the change in weather forecast and the order. Like I said, largely irrelevant to the number of deaths--most estimates say that it would have taken 72hrs to fully evacuate the city. It's highly relevant if you believe that any politician should be called on it whenever he pulls numbers out of his butt.
Also, on Saturday night, Nagin made himself VERY clear that only legalities kept him from calling a mandatory evacuation but that he had folks working on getting around that. He told people to get out. That's actually what made me decide to leave. He went around to every news station to get that message out on Sat. night.
I don't like Nagin; can't stand the sound of his voice anymore. But It's horrible how overly blamed he is for "not doing anything" to get people to leave. More people left this region than officials thought would have. We did WAYYYY better than Houston! I have yet to see one fuckin' story on how our leaders (the last time many of them actually led) pulled off an ORDERLY, successful, calm evacuation of about 1.2 million people.
As a matter of fact, there are some unfair attacks in the house report that I haven't seen anyone, but me, point out in either the blogosphere or the media. Ms. and Al. being praised for a 24hr. evacuation order while N.O. was condemned for a 24hr. order being just one. Yeah, they had fewer people, but they also more warning. Also Mississippi's 24hr. caused to close I-10 to New Orleanians who fled east--with very little notice.
For example, Joe Scarborough today
characterized Mississippi citizens as hard working, self-reliant, and progressing in recovery, and suggested Louisiana citizens were the opposite. That comment is a reflection of how intellectually lazy these so-called experts really are.
I think Nagin's main mistake was calling the superdome a refuge of last resort because I think many went there instead of leaving when they could. That said, I think an 80% evacuation rate is an impressive number for any large city. I know it wont happen ever in Florida. Even the keys with a 5 day warning as Wilma spun off the coast of Mexico did not evacuate even 80% of it's population. Nagin called the mandatory evacuation when he thought he could. He warned people this looked like the storm they had all feared and called for a voluntary evacuation well before then.
The general rule for hurricane evacuations is to not call them too early before you are sure you are going to be hit, otherwise you block the roads for others evacuating. The other unofficial rule is to call the evacuation order with at least 8 hours of daylight available with which to do it. What few remember, in the 72 hours before the storm hit, the predicted landfall shifted from Pensacola to Mobile to New Orleans as the speed of the storm picked up and the turn to the north didn't happen. Nagin was only assured New Orleans was likely where it would hit Friday night and he called for the evacuation Saturday morning. The storm was continuing to pick up speed all the way until landfall, shortening the time they had.
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