As we all know, Hurricane Gustav is headed toward Louisiana, and likely New Orleans, and could hit land in just a few hours. The huge mass of tropical cyclone reminds many in the area of the terror they faced just three years ago with Hurricane Katrina. As with what we saw then, the mayor, governor and others are urging people to evacuate immediately. It’s essentially the same situation as we saw three years ago. So now that we New Orleans is looking at a sequel, will things be the same?
Well with most of sequels, you have your basic set of characters in the city of New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin, a concerned governor of Louisiana, residents who can’t or won’t evacuate, various other political figures, and last but certainly not least, an approaching superior category hurricane. Depending on how the first installment was received, a need for a sequel could come or go. Not that the area needs another category 3 hurricane, but I think we can safely say from how the Katrina experienced fared, we can use another shot at getting things right.
Well this time around it is nice to see President Bush, is all ready immediately in the gulf coast area, ready to face and respond to the storm. Well have to wait a couple of days to make a direct comparison on government response. Mayor Nagin has issued a mandatory evacuation for the city days before the storm is expected to make landfall. That’s a nice contrast to just hours before as we saw in Katrina. And what about the evacuees? We’ve heard that over 90 percent have evacuated, but just as in Katrina there are those who didn’t. Their thinking that Gustav won’t be that significant, or they survived Katrina so they could survive Gustav, or maybe they have no car, no money, and nowhere to go. Maybe the levees will hold up this time around. A representative from the New Orleans Levee District says that the levees are up to their pre-Katrina conditions, and that the storm surge of Katrina caused the flooding issues, but with this storm they aren’t expecting a surge to come into play. So if there’s flooding, it’ll be from the rains.
Is it me, or does that sound a bit unprepared? They are not expecting any flooding. Well did they expect the flooding they got in Katrina? Did they expect their levees would break? Did they expect at storm like Katrina? Did they expect just three years later there may be another huge hurricane headed straight for New Orleans? All it takes is one slight shift for the area to see, “very significant flooding,” as the governor put it. If one thing people should know about these types of natural disasters is that you don’t know what to expect. I’m sure forecasters and residents didn’t expect Tropical Storm Fay to slowly churn on the Florida coast with little movement.
God forbid if the area gets anything close to Katrina-like floods. There will be much further discussion, specifically when it comes to comparisons of response and relief.
Not for nothin’, I feel bad for the city of New Orleans who’s facing what they faced in 2005, but lets not forget we still got another three months of hurricane season to go.