Making Light followed this story from the beginning, from the day before Katrina hit New Orleans:
That’s just the first week. We followed the Katrina story for months; the posts and the comment threads (the best part is the commentary) are still here in the archives. Heck, we were even ahead of the story: From Making Light, Risk Assessment, September 15, 2004 (nearly a solid year before the disaster):
It may have been written in 2002, but Hurricane Risk for New Orleans, from the American Radioworks site, is an unpleasantly prescient look at New Orleans’ vulnerability to a major hurricane:Think about the great cities in this country, and one of them will be New Orleans. On a recent evening, a scientist pulls up in the French Quarter. Joe Suhayda takes a plastic rod out of his trunk and he proceeds to show us what could happen the next time a hurricane hits New Orleans.
“OK, this is tool that I have a range rod,” explains Suyhayda. “It will show us how high the water would be if we were hit with a Category Five Hurricane.”
Which would mean what?
“Twenty feet of water above where we are standing now,” says Suyhayda.
No one could say, “No one could have predicted this,” except Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff did say, “government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur.”
Which brings us back to today: Three years on and not one bit better prepared for a hurricane striking New Orleans. And what’s this in the news? Hurricane Gustav, headed for New Orleans. Landfall sometime between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning with winds up to 130 MPH. While all the Republicans are happily gathered in their convention center in Minneapolis. And right behind it, Tropical Storm Hanna.