Skip to comments.Katrina: A timeline -- proof the Federal response was NOT SLOW
Posted on 09/03/2005 8:44:11 PM PDT by Wolfstar
After days of being harrangued by media reports to the contrary, this may seem like a radical notion, but...
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO KATRINA WAS NOT SLOW!
FACT: Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and other search and rescue units were in New Orleans, elsewhere in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Monday, after the storm passed out of the area.
FACT: The full extent of the devastation to the Gulf Coast region, and the levee breaches in New Orleans, were not known until Tuesday.
FACT: A convoy of about 500 buses reached the Superdome late Wednesday.
FACT: The first of 500 busloads of refugees reached Houston early Thursday.
What follows is a timeline, with news info, of key events related to Hurricane Katrina, beginning with another hurricane which struck the Gulf Coast just under one year ago to the day before Katrina. Hurrican Ivan raised all of the same concerns in Louisiana and New Orleans as it barrelled toward the Gulf Coast. It, too, was a killer hurricane. It exposed the severe shortcomings in Louisiana and New Orleans disaster planning. None, repeat, none of those shortcomings were corrected by the time Katrina hit Louisiana last week.
The Left can't say they weren't warned.
From the TalkLeft.com blog site
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Hurrican Ivan Thunders Closer
Bump and Update: Hurricane Ivan is getting closer. Right now it's headed towards the Gulf Coast. Florida's western panhandle is still at risk. It's expected to arrive late Wednesday.
New Orleans may sink if it gets hit hard.
The worst-case scenario for New Orleans: A direct strike by a full-strength Hurricane Ivan could submerge much of this historic city treetop-deep in a stew of sewage, industrial chemicals and fire ants, and the inundation could last for weeks, experts say. If the storm were strong enough, Ivan could drive water over the tops of the levees that protect the city from the Mississippi River and vast Lake Pontchartrain. And with the city sitting in a saucer-shaped depression that dips as much as 9 feet below sea level, there would be nowhere for all that water to drain.
"Those folks who remain, should the city flood, would be exposed to all kinds of nightmares from buildings falling apart to floating in the water having nowhere to go," Ivor van Heerden, director of Louisiana State University's Hurricane Public Health Center, said Tuesday.
What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans?
November 2, 2004
by Shirley Laska,
Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology
University of New Orleans
The major challenge to evacuation is the extremely limited number of evacuation routes...This problem of limited evacuation routes also plagues the rest of the delta plain of southeast and south central Louisiana.
The fact that 600,000 residents evacuated means an equal number did not. Recent evacuation surveys show that two-thirds of nonevacuees with the means to evacuate chose not to leave because they felt safe in their homes. Other nonevacuees with means relied on a cultural tradition of not leaving or were discouraged by negative experiences with past evacuations.
For those without means, the medically challenged, residents without personal transportation, and the homeless, evacuation requires significant assistance. The medically challenged often rely on life support equipment and are in such fragile states of health that they can only be moved short distances to medically equipped shelters. While a large storm-resistant structure with appropriate equipment has yet to be constructed or retrofitted, the Superdome was used to shelter nonevacuees during Ivan.
Residents who did not have personal transportation were unable to evacuate even if they wanted to. Approximately 120,000 residents (51,000 housing units x 2.4 persons/unit) do not have cars. A proposal made after the evacuation for Hurricane Georges to use public transit buses to assist in their evacuation out of the city was not implemented for Ivan. If Ivan had struck New Orleans directly it is estimated that 40-60,000 residents of the area would have perished.
Regional and national rescue resources would have to respond as rapidly as possible and would require augmentation by local private vessels (assuming some survived). And, even with this help, federal and state governments have estimated that it would take 10 days to rescue all those stranded within the city. No shelters within the city would be free of risk from rising water. Because of this threat, the American Red Cross will not open shelters in New Orleans during hurricanes greater than category 2; staffing them would put employees and volunteers at risk. For Ivan, only the Superdome was made available as a refuge of last resort for the medically challenged and the homeless.
September 27, 2004
LA CRITICISM HAS BLANCO STEAMED: LOUISIANA Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) lashed out at national media outlets last week for continuing to portray the Pelican State as a den of political corruption. Blanco was miffed over articles in the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek that used images of shady Louisiana politics she claims are rooted in days long gone from the Baton Rouge Capitol building. The governor fired off protest letters to both publications and urged state business leaders to also speak up when they hear disparaging comments about the state. Blanco has made luring new business to the state a top priority of her administration, and said "it is important to answer that kind of remark" for that effort to be successful. "If you don't answer, then the image remains," she said. (THE ADVOCATE [BATON ROUGE])
August 26, 2005. Hurricane Katrina crosses Florida, enters the Gulf of Mexico and turns northwest.
Advisories from the Tulane University website
August 26, 2005 - 3:30 p.m.
We are currently monitoring Hurricane Katrina. At this time Tulane University is operating under normal conditions. Please continue to check this website and the Tulane Alert Line 504-862-8080 or, toll-free, 1-877-862-8080 for continued updates. The next update will be posted at 10 a.m. on August 27.
August 27, 2005 - 10 a.m.
In response to Hurricane Katrina's shift to the west, Tulane University will close as of 5 p.m. today, August 27. Classes will resume on Thursday, September 1. Tulane employees should report to work on Wednesday, August 31. Essential employees should contact their supervisors immediately regarding their work schedule.
New students arriving on campus for Orientation today should refer to this website for special instructions.
Everyone should begin implementing their personal hurricane plan now.
August 27, 2005 - 6 p.m.
The university is now closed due to the approach of Hurricane Katrina. University operations are expected to resume on Wednesday, August 31 and faculty and staff will return to work on that date. Students please note that classes will resume on Thursday, September 1.
The university initiated its residential student evacuation plan this afternoon and is transporting those students remaining on campus to Jackson State University.
August 28, 2005 - 11:30 a.m.
Tulane continues to prepare for Hurricane Katrina. One step in the process is that we will shut down our email system as of noon today. This will protect the equipment and allow restoration as early as possible.
At this time we do not know when the system will be back in operation.
August 28, 3 p.m.
The date for university employees to report to work will be determined after the storm passes.
In light of the projected severity of Hurricane Katrina, we have decided classes at Tulane University will not resume until Wednesday, September 7.
August 29, 1 p.m.
The worst of Hurricane Katrina has now passed through New Orleans and we will shortly begin the process of assessing the condition of our campuses.
The emergency team located on the uptown campus has been in frequent contact with the university's team at Jackson State University. The approximately 400 students who are located there and are accompanied by university officials, are doing well and are safe. In the next 24 hours we expect to finalize our plans regarding the resumption of university operations.
As previously announced, classes will begin no earlier than Wednesday, Sept. 7.
August 30, 11:45 a.m.
As you all know by now, New Orleans and the surrounding parishes were severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The physical damage to the area, including Tulanes campuses, was extensive.
Unfortunately, conditions in the city continue to deteriorate, making it virtually impossible to begin recovery efforts. On a very positive note, in Tulanes case, we are very thankful that all of our people are safe, including all the students and staff who evacuated to Jackson, Mississippi.
Given the uncertainties, we cannot determine at this time when employees and students should return to campus. We will do the best we can to keep you appraised of our situation and progress.
August 30, 7:30 p.m.
As I suspect you all know, there is no contingency plan that could ever be developed to respond to what the area and the university are experiencing.
August 31, 6 p.m.
Things continue to be unstable in New Orleans, although there is hope that we have experienced the worst. We continue to put the safety of students and employees first. We are working around the clock to bring continuity to the university and to re-establish our presence, however much of this is dependant on the city of New Orleans and Mother Nature. One of our greatest frustrations is our inability to communicate with our larger community due to the failure of all utilities, including e-mail and cell phones.
September 1, 4 p.m.
After five days on campus, our emergency team has just arrived in Houston from New Orleans, where we will be joined by the rest of our senior leadership team from locations around the country. We will be working out of Houston effective immediately.
From the AP via Yahoo News
By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer
Sat Aug 27, 6:59 PM ET
Louisianans Told: Head for Higher Ground
NEW ORLEANS - Coastal residents jammed freeways and gas stations Saturday as they rushed to get out of the way of Hurricane Katrina, a vicious storm that is threatening to gain even more strength and make a direct hit on the New Orleans area.
Katrina was a Category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained wind Saturday, but the National Hurricane Center said it was likely to gain force over the Gulf of Mexico, where the surface water temperature was as high as 90 degrees high-octane fuel for hurricanes. It could become a Category 4 monster with wind of at least 131 mph before reaching land early Monday.
By 5 p.m. EDT Saturday, the eye of the hurricane was about 380 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 240 miles west of Key West, Fla. It was moving west at nearly 7 mph, the hurricane center said.
"We know that we're going to take the brunt of it," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said. "It does not bode well for southeastern Louisiana."
New Orleans' worst hurricane disaster happened 40 years ago, when Hurricane Betsy blasted the Gulf Coast. Flood waters approached 20 feet in some areas, fishing villages were flattened, and the storm surge left almost half of New Orleans under water and 60,000 residents homeless. Seventy-four people died in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
CNN weather advisory
Sunday, August 28, 2005; Posted: 7:49 a.m. EDT
Hurricane Katrina hits Category 5
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Hurricane Katrina intensified Sunday to a Category 5 storm as it churned towards the U.S. Gulf Coast with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. The storm is expected to make landfall on Monday.
Mandatory evacuations were in effect for some of Louisiana's low-lying areas; residents in other low-lying areas are being encouraged to leave.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a test. This is the real deal," New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said at a news conference.
He urged people to remain calm, "board up your homes, make sure you have medicine, make sure your car has enough gas in it," and prepare to leave.
Robert Latham, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said the state was recommending evacuations along the coast "and even several counties inland." Mandatory evacuations could follow later, he said.
President announces phone calls to Gulf Coast governors
[With the governors of Louisiana and Mississippi dragging their feet about ordering mandatory evacuations, the President called them sometime between 7:50 a.m. and 12:00 noon when the Mayor of New Orleans finally announced a mandatory evac for the city.]
President Discusses Hurricane Katrina
Prairie Chapel Ranch
August 28, 2005, 12:31 a.m. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: This morning I spoke with FEMA Undersecretary Mike Brown and emergency management teams not only at the federal level but at the state level about the -- Hurricane Katrina. I've also spoken to Governor Blanco of Louisiana, Governor Barbour of Mississippi, Governor Bush of Florida, and Governor Riley of Alabama. I want to thank all the folks at the federal level and the state level and the local level who have taken this storm seriously. I appreciate the efforts of the governors to prepare their citizenry for this upcoming storm.
Yesterday [Saturday, Aug. 27], I signed a disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana, and this morning I signed a disaster declaration for the state of Mississippi. These declarations will allow federal agencies to coordinate all disaster relief efforts with state and local officials. We will do everything in our power to help the people in the communities affected by this storm.
Hurricane Katrina is now designated a category five hurricane. We cannot stress enough the danger this hurricane poses to Gulf Coast communities. I urge all citizens to put their own safety and the safety of their families first by moving to safe ground. Please listen carefully to instructions provided by state and local officials.
Excerpt from CNN story
[Note the time. Nagin ordered the mandatory evac shortly AFTER President Bush finished speaking with the governors. It was reported at the time that the President "suggested" a mandatory evacuation be issued. He gave local officials a short time to save face and do it in advance of his statement. Then he walked to the microphone in Texas to announce the state of emergency orders -- and to urge people to leave and listen carefully to instructions from local officials.]
New Orleans braces for monster hurricane
Monday, August 29, 2005; Posted: 12:10 a.m. EDT (04:10 GMT)
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- New Orleans braced for a catastrophic blow from Hurricane Katrina overnight, as forecasters predicted the Category 5 storm could drive a wall of water over the city's levees.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin declared a state of emergency Sunday and ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city.
"This is a threat that we've never faced before," Nagin said. "If we galvanize and gather around each other, I'm sure we will get through this."
He exempted essential federal, state, and local personnel; emergency and utility workers; transit workers; media; hotel workers; and patrons from the evacuation order. Nagin estimated that nearly 1 million people had fled the city and its surrounding parishes by Sunday night.
Between 20,000 and 25,000 others who remained in the city lined up to take shelter in the Louisiana Superdome, lining up for what authorities warned would be an unpleasant day and a half at minimum.
Jesse St. Amant, the emergency management chief for Louisiana's southernmost Plaquemines Parish, said nearly 95 percent of the parish's 27,000-plus residents had fled by Sunday afternoon. Those who remained were being told that they are "gambling with their own lives."
"I think they just don't believe something of this nature can ever happen in their lifespan, and I think they're going to be wrong," he said.
CBS bulletin when Katrina made landfall
Katrina Makes Landfall
NEW ORLEANS, Monday, August 29, 2005
(CBS/AP) Hurricane Katrina came ashore just east of Grand Isle, Louisiana, at 6:30 a.m. ET. About a hundred miles to the north, New Orleans is said to be 80 percent evacuated, with the potential for historic damage. Evacuations were also ordered in Alabama and Mississippi.
New Orleans initially thought to have avoided "the big one"
Katrina Fades, Destruction In Wake
NEW ORLEANS, August 29, 2005
The president of the New Orleans city council estimated that more than 100 people in the city are stranded on their rooftops or in their attics, because they have up to 14 feet of floodwaters in and around their homes, reports Dave Cohen of CBS radio affiliate WWL. Until the winds die down and rescue crews can safely get out, those people are stranded where they are.
In New Orleans' historic French Quarter of Napoleonic-era buildings with wrought-iron balconies, water pooled in the streets from the driving rain, but the area appeared to have escaped the catastrophic flooding that forecasters had predicted.
Late Monday, a party atmosphere prevailed in the French Quarter, with the media reporting that the city appeared to have been spared the catastrophic damage predicted over the weekend. Even when the first ominous news reached the media -- via a phone interview between CNN's Rick Sanchez and the Vice President of Tulane University Hospital -- that water was rising in the city, the media was still very slow to catch on to the danger. Even CNN blew what most likely was it's most important exclusive breaking news in it's history.
By Tuesday morning, August 30, as the extent of the flooding in New Orleans and damage all along the Gulf Coast became apparent, the media was STILL slow to grasp the significance of what was happening in New Orleans.
Here on FR, I posted the following breaking news thread at 11:47:04pm, Pacific time, Monday, August 29 -- equals 1:47am Central time, Tuesday, August 30. This was the first media report of the levee break. Even as the hospital VP was speaking with CNN's Rick Sanchez, he -- and CNN -- were slow to comprehend the catastrophic nature of what she was telling them.
URGENT BREAKING: Massive two-block break, Lake Ponchatrain levee flooding downtown N.O.
CNN TV hurricane news coverage | 8/29/05
Posted on 08/29/2005 11:47:04 PM PDT by Wolfstar
Just broke on CNN about five minutes ago. Rick Sanchez was interviewing the VP of Tulane University Hospital, which is located in downtown New Orleans. She said the water is rising around the hospital at a rate of about one inch per minute. She said if it continues at that rate, she will have to call FEMA to ask them to bring in helicopters to evacuate the hospital.
She said there are about 1000 patients in the hospital, and that it has a helipad on the roof. It would be the only way to get everyone out. Hospital officials have not made the decision yet to call FEMA.
The hospital VP also said that police officials told her there is a two-block long break in the 17th street levee which helps to hold back Lake Ponchatrain. She said the water is flowing so fast that there are whitecaps on Canal Street.
Excerpt from a USA Today article
On the day after, sobering lessons from Katrina
August 30, 2005 8:52 PM
As the full impact of Hurricane Katrina began to sink in Tuesday New Orleans flooding, scenes of devastation along the Gulf Coast, a death toll of dozens and rising perhaps the broadest lesson was the reminder that in the contest of nature vs. man, nature at its most powerful retains the upper hand.
First impressions can be misleading. Reporters and officials at first reported jubilantly that the old downtown of New Orleans had been spared the worst. But by Tuesday morning, water was flooding in as levees and pumps failed. Officials discussed how to get the people remaining in the city out. The magnitude of the devastation there, and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, eclipsed Monday's initial assessments.
Wednesday, August 31, 6:44pm
Michigan National Guard troops going to help Katrina victims
In addition to millions of dollars in aid flowing from citizens of Michigan to the storm ravaged Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, some official help is soon going to be on the way from the state.
Members of the Michigan National Guard will be heading to the area hardest hit by Katrina to offer what ever assistance they can.
Carnival: Feds ask about using cruise ships in Katrina relief
WIS-TV Columbia - Aug 31 11:56 AM
(Miami-AP) August 31, 2005 - Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines says it is considering a federal request that the company use some of its cruise ships as emergency shelters or help in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in some other way.
Pentagon coordinating massive response to Katrina
(Washington-AP) August 31, 2005 - Every branch of the US military is involved in the rescue-and-relief mission following Hurricane Katrina.
The US Northern Command is coordinating search and rescue, medical help and supplies. The work will support the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Bus convoy to start ferrying Katrina evacuees to Houston
(Houston-AP) August 31, 2005 - The evacuees from Hurricane Katrina who've been housed at the Louisiana Superdome will be headed to Houston, where shelter is being set up for them at the Astrodome.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing nearly 500 buses for a convoy that will begin Wednesday, traveling the 350 miles to Houston.
A spokeswoman for Texas Governor Rick Perry says the Astrodome's schedule has been cleared through December to serve as a shelter for evacuees.
More National Guardsmen are sent in
By Adam Nossiter
6:51 a.m. September 1, 2005
NEW ORLEANS The evacuation of the Superdome was suspended Thursday because of fires and gunshots outside the arena, authorities said, as National Guardsmen in armored vehicles poured into New Orleans to help restore order across the increasingly lawless and desperate city.
The first of 500 busloads of people who were evacuated from the hot and stinking Louisiana Superdome arrived early Thursday at their new temporary home another sports arena, the Houston Astrodome, 350 miles away.
Hi Mike. You're welcome. We all have things we can do to help at this critical time. This is one way I can help.
Is that the same thing as the Incidence of National Significance implemented by Chertoff?
" Did you catch the nugget in this article: "
I believe that nugget qualifies as a bombshell.
You've done a great service, sir.
I cannot stand the MSM coverage of this disaster. All Bush bashing and duck and cover for the Louisiana Gov. and New Orleans Mayor.
The Governor's Guide to Emergency Management was posted on FR yesterday. Here's a link: freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1476020
"The administration had sought control over National Guard units, normally under control of the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request, noting that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. State authorities suspected a political motive behind the request."
This makes total sense if you were following the news when this storm was approaching. This federal takeover was announced and then suddenly it was not happening. So In light of my last post it is very possible that a majority of the responsibility of the slow responce by the federal government was the fault of none other than the same people who were at fault for the horrible evacuation. And that is none other than the Mayor of NO. and the governer of La.
I'm lousy at bookmarking, so don't have the timeline item where the mayor fretted about the legal ramifications of calling a mandatory evacuation. Can you insert that little jewel?
Yes, I will with the next update. Peach called my attention to it also.
I guess you haven't read the articles that due to the president's declaring a State of Eemergency on Sunday, the day before the storm hit, FEMA was on the ground outside LA, waiting for the storm to pass, loaded with food and water.
But a few little things like water, fallen trees and snipers made it impossible to move about the city and actually distribute anything.
But nice try anyway.
Blanco Dubois Ping
"You sound like the 'rats that were saying on Friday that it's been 6 days since the hurricane hit.
Go buy a calculator."
Actually I was more or less quoting the head of FEMA who raised the issue that they had three days warning.
The Hurricane was Monday. It wasn't really til this morning (Saturday) that large quantities of food and water arrived. That's five days plus three days notice. Again this matches what FEMA was saying this afternoon.
The President also said the results were not coming fast enough.
I don't know how much blame is gonna be divided although it's clear the mayor and the governor get lots of blame.
Clearly President Bush is something of a hero for pleading with the mayor to evacuate. A President shouldn't have to do that and he may have save 100,000 lives by putting his ego aside.
But just because the President personally was effective and smart doesn't mean the whole Federal mechanism moved fast enough. That's another issue. The Federal response in force was much slower than the hurricane effort in Florida and much slower than on 9/11.
In all seriousness, good job on this.
Great work Wolf, this should be forwarded to Karl Rove.
Very impressive work, thanks for doing this!
Bookmarking to read later.
Hi, onyx. Long time no "see." Hope all is well with you.
The Bush administration SHOULD place the blame with state and local officials, because it's true. Besides, the Bush administration still has not placed the blame for the increase in terrorism throughout the 1990's where it belongs -- on Bill Clinton. So I'm glad they are fighting back this time.
Thank you Wolfstar!
::taps foot....waiting for a 'your welcome'....::
re: I won't be able to respond to every one who says thanks
WOW !! WOW !! Thanks. Definitely a save.
Okay, let me get this straight: earlier tonight, Mayor Nagin said on CNN that he thought the CIA might want to "wipe him out" (or words to that effect, as I understand it). Now, we learn that "state officials" suspected "a political motive" when the feds asked them to agree to give them control over the evacuation.
Is there any government official left in Louisiana who ISN'T a PARANOID NUT CASE?
There you go. Compare this with New York State's SEMO-
LA's total failure in this regard is criminal. Those responsible should be held accountable.
I totally understand, given all the hard work you've been doing here lately. If you have a little time to do so tomorrow or Monday, please FReemail me instructions. Thanks.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.