Okay Mister Smartypants, What’s Your Federal Emergency Plan Then?

Ignoring any levee building business, since I’m of the belief that any sized levee can still break. The blockquotes (in yellow and/or indented) are from this Guardian article and this timeline, and are things that actually happened.

Wednesday, Aug. 24:

- Tropical Depression 12 strengthens into Tropical Storm Katrina over the Central Bahamas; a hurricane warning is issued for the southeastern Florida coast.

With a tropical storm on the horizon, FEMA should coordinate with the department of homeland security to place the National Guard and reserves on alert. A percentage should be on call and ready to mobilize within two hours. (packed, dressed, napping on the couch waiting for the call)

Thursday, Aug. 25:

- Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds.

After landfall of a minor hurricane, FEMA should ensure that local law enforcement and rescue operations have the resources that they need. Were any police or fire stations compromised? Hospitals? Where is the hurricane headed?
Bush cancels his vacation and returns to Washington. Dick Cheney is revived from his daily sleep in the crypt and brought up to speed on the minor disaster and possible continuing action.

Friday, Aug. 26:

- Katrina weakens over land to a tropical storm before moving out over the Gulf of Mexico. It grows to a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds, veering north and west toward Mississippi and Louisiana.
- 10,000 National Guard troops are dispatched across the Gulf Coast.

I do not believe that 10,000 troops were dispatched at this point. In my plan, on this day, everyone in the country is on alert now, since this is the big one.
FEMA flies emergency services (medics, engineers, radio operators, people to move sandbags) to Houston, Memphis, Atlanta, or whichever locations will be best for fast deployment of front-line rescue services. At minimum, several teams per hot spot with the ability to set up mobile command centers capable of dispatching an entire city’s worth of police (that’s a lot of powerful radio equipment) and several battalions of troops. A battalion may have up to a thousand soldiers.

Saturday, Aug. 27:

- Katrina becomes a Category 3 storm, with 115 mph winds; a hurricane warning is issued for Louisiana’s southeastern coast, including New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain, and for the northern Gulf coast.
- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin declares a state of emergency and urges residents in low-lying areas to evacuate.
- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour declares a state of emergency. A mandatory evacuation is ordered for Hancock County.
- Coastal Gulf residents jam freeways and gas stations as they rush to evacuate.

President Bush, like the rest of America is glued to the television and other news sources. He contacts the state governers personally to find out the status of their aid requests. He coordinates with FEMA to determine effective coverage. He ensures that the military is at ready. The Coast Guard and Navy are as close as can be without risking loss of ship or life.

Sunday, Aug. 28:

- Katrina grows into a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds and heads for the northern Gulf coast.
- Nagin orders a mandatory evacuation for New Orleans. But 10 shelters are also set up, including the Superdome, for those unable to leave.
- Evacuation orders are posted all along the Mississippi coast.
- Alabama Gov. Bob Riley declares a state of emergency.

Since a city of 500,000 people has been ordered to evacuate, FEMA determines the actual evacuation levels and to where those evacuees are fleeing. At this point the fate of New Orleans is unknown, so FEMA finds out how many people remain and plans for the eventualities of forcibly removing them and simply supplying them where they are. This storm is the big one, so all available National Guard members are expected to be ready. Most of those who had been “on call” are indeed called up, and plans to mobilize for relief and sandbagging duties are roughed out. The Mississippi floods, but we don’t normally get this much warning.

Monday, Aug. 29:

- Katrina, a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds, makes landfall near Buras, La., at 6:10 a.m. CDT (7:10 a.m. EDT).
- Katrina rips two holes in the Superdome’s roof. Some 10,000 storm refugees are inside.

The soldiers are at base and getting ancy as the footage of the storm damage rolls in. They are informed that they will be deploying as soon as the weather permits them to land in the Gulf Coast. The military flies data collection passes over the area hourly to survey the storm and damage.
As soon as the skies are clear enough to land a helicopter, the advance teams rush in, setting up communications for the affected cities. After landfall of a major hurricane, FEMA should ensure that local law enforcement and rescue operations have the resources that they need. Were any police or fire stations compromised? Hospitals? Where are the people who did not evacuate?
Every Greyhound in the neighboring six states is requested for evacuation assistance.
The Coast Guard and Navy are at full steam towards the Gulf Coast. Any troops that can be in the air are in the air. Troops at staging area are mobilized for multi-hour drives to affected states.
In a disaster involving flooding of populated areas, many boats will be needed to do house-to-house searches. These should be ready for any areas that had a danger of flooding or storm surges.

Tuesday, Aug. 30:

- Two levees break in New Orleans and water pours in, covering 80 percent of the city and rising to 20 feet deep in some areas. Many people climb onto roofs to escape.
- Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco says everyone still in New Orleans - an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people - must be evacuated. Crowds swell at the Superdome and the New Orleans convention center.
- Rescuers in helicopters and boats pick up hundreds of stranded people in New Orleans. Reports of looting emerge.
- About 40,000 people are in American Red Cross shelters, not including New Orleans.

UAVs (Predators. Unmanned flying things with cameras that we used all over the place in Iraq) fly non-stop to spot persons in need. Helicopters with infrared cameras are dispatched en masse.
Troops begin arriving. Emergency hospitals are built in mere hours, just like the commercials on television. Some food and water is air dropped under the supervision of coordinated police and military efforts. More supplies are ordered to be dropped. Troops continue to arrive. Heavy equipment is deployed to clear the path for evacuees.
The president is on the phone with every governor finding homes for people. Those greyhounds are swiftly dispatched. So are school buses from every state for a thousand miles.

Wednesday, Aug.31:

- Nagin offers a startling estimate of New Orleans’ death toll: “Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands,'’ he says.
- “At first light, the devastation is greater than our worst fears,'’ says Blanco, Louisiana’s governor.
- Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt declares a federal health emergency throughout the Gulf Coast, sends in medical supplies and workers.
- Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will be at least 30 days or more before New Orleans will be pumped out.
- An estimated 52,000 people are in Red Cross shelters. An additional 25,000 are in the Superdome, where conditions are worsening by the hour.
- An exodus from the Superdome begins, with the first buses leaving for Houston’s Astrodome, 350 miles away.
- Pentagon mounts one of largest search-and-rescue operations in U.S. history, sending four Navy ships with emergency supplies.
- Water levels stop rising in New Orleans. Engineers work to close a 500-foot gap in a failed floodwall.

Residents are instructed to amass in particular locations like the Superdome and Convention Center, where troops and buses are already standing by. Emergency hospitals and food centers are being built at those locations.

Well, at this point things are a little sketchy. I’m not sure what to do with the thousands of troops flowing in to New Orleans and the forced evacuation of the remaining folks. I imagine that it will be just like what didn’t happen in reality until Friday, September 2nd, or more realistically, Saturday and Sunday, when suddenly the Superdome and convention center just magically emptied. My plan might not save that many lives, but it would make us all look a lot less like colossal douchebags.

Thursday, Sept. 1:

- Outside the New Orleans Convention Center, the sidewalks are packed with people without food, water or medical care, waiting for buses that do not come. Tempers flare.
- Nagin, the New Orleans mayor, calls the situation critical and issues “a desperate SOS'’ for more buses.
- Crowds at the Superdome swell to 30,000 with another 25,000 at the convention center. The first refugee buses arrive at the Houston Astrodome. Elsewhere, 76,000 people are Red Cross shelters.

Friday, Sept 2:

- Thousands of National Guardsmen arrive in New Orleans in truck convoys carrying food, water and weapons.

Yes, I have the benefit of hindsight, but I wrote this in an hour in my underpants, for free. It wasn’t my job to be prepared for disaster or lead us through it.

Whose job was it to be prepared and lead us through it?

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Happy School!

I rode my new bike to school today, which meant that I didn’t bring any coffee. Fool! CSci 4041 made me very sleepy, so the natural thing happened. It seems that I have synced up my class schedule with all of my junior and senior friends, so three of my classes will be populated with nerds I know, and the other one is my art class. I am the win!

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mimi in NY

mimi in NY: the good life

Lisa was reading Mimi, so I occasionally read it. I knew that she had a story like this in her, but the other posts that I had read seemed to be nowhere near as tightly focused.

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I’ve got a bike!

The seemingly endless research and conversations with anybody who had any interest at all (mostly Jeremy, thanks, man!) led me to try out the Surly, and it was the best fit so far, period. It felt more sprightly than the Volpe, but strangely, it mostly just felt like mine.

I rode it home from Freewheel, which is a mere four and a quarter miles, but I felt like I could do another ten. Somehow I didn’t, but just the same. Ahem.

I spent the rest of the evening futzing with the bike. I forgot to get a rack at Freewheel — or maybe I just didn’t think that I would need it — but I wasn’t satisfied with the mount for the bike lock so I picked up a shady rack at Target. After I put that on it was dark, so I went to try out the headlights and the lock storage solution. Somehow my foot, the tire, and the front fender all tried to occupy the same space-time coordinates and I bent the shit out of it. I’m pretty sure that couldn’t happen at speed given the necessary severity of angle, but still I’m glad that I normally wear a helmet.

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Missed a day!

Oops, I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday. I did prepare notes on bikes to take with me to the bike shop. After discussions with Jeremy, even more internet “research,” and a lot of thought, I had narrowed my bike choices to the Bianchi Volpe and the Surly Cross-Check Complete. I went to the Hub and Freewheel, but it was raining more than I wanted to ride in.

Later, Lisa and Stan babysat for the Wiggenhorns. I woke up from a nap to find baby Ben crying and seemingly inconsolable. Lisa looked a little overwhelmed, so I took Ben and bounced him until he fell asleep.

Then, I went to the Bulldog with Greg. Hooray!

Also, interspersed in all of that was a ton of Katrina surfing.

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Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick for President

Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Michigan’s 13th District

I have a secret love for CSPAN. While obsessively looking for Katrina news, we here at the Keathly household came across the Congressional Black Caucus on Response to Hurricane Katrina. Now that was some presidential speaking.

I would also accept Jesse Jackson Jr., or probably most of the rest of the speakers. He said some smart, smart things.

Really, I just want a president who can communicate and inspire. I have yet to be inspired by thing one that comes out of Bush’s twisty mouth.

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New Orleans, 2003

I’ve been terribly distracted with Katrina news this afternoon. I thought that it might be nice to remember some of the nice stuff about New Orleans.

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You may continue to attend bla bla bla

Hey, another semester, another hold! According to my new projections and calculations, next semester will be the last hold, which kind of sucks, because I ordered a big rubber stamp that says “you douchebags had better lift the hold so I don’t have to burn down the Alumni center” — wait, no it says “I dropped all those classes eight years ago! I’m old! OLD OLD OLD!” That usually works, we’ll see what they say. Of course, first I have to get the signature of my advisor, who is probably very tired of me charging into her office screaming hellfire and damnation.

“Take it to the mall with your proselytising!” she shouts, so I retire to the corner opposite the Jesus dude and rant for a good hour or two before remembering that all I need is a signature.

Oh yeah, this is the last semester of math! Ever! I will have beaten it! (this time I’m not talking about beating it in the sense of cranking one out in the bathroom of the local restaurant Pop! during a non-date to stay relaxed. Speaking of Pop!, they are opening a pizza and ice cream shop called Snap! as in “oh, snap!” or “snap, crackle, and constant indoctrination of consumerism.” Also, the Hollywood theater might be reopening?)

With that paperwork filled out, I apparently just have to reapply for a SELF loan for 2005-2006 again, because the U can’t be bothered to keep track of loans for which I am already approved. To reapply I will have to get my mom to fill out the cosigner business again, then fill out the forms myself, then print it all, have her get it notarized and send it all off. Then I get to call my dad and explain why I blew him off at the fair and that he needs to buy 16 credits worth of schoolbooks for me. There might be some lying on my part. I’m just saying. It might happen.

“No, Denise is not an earthly incarnation of Cthulu. Really. She’s the greatest person ever. That goes for you, too! I’m not bitter about you being an asshole at all!”

I may have to work on that a little, but I have at least a week before I have to have him in my place of employment checking out the freshman girls.

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Today is Dj wrecka’s last day on the air, so she helped out Zach and I by playing all of our requests and hitting the last spot in Radio K bingo. When she played “Puppet Show” by Tulip Sweet and her Trail of Tears, Zach and I were laughing uncontrollably, and even wrecka was giggling as she rolled into the break. I might might might go see Meredith Bragg tonight, but I might restrict myself since I have been financially irresponsible this summer. It’s only five bones, though. I could ride the bus on my new U-Pass!

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CC Club

So Cake Woman AIMed me today while I was at work, saying that we should hook up to share travel stories. I, of course, was down, yo, but then she disappeared. I tried to call her while walking to the car, and then when I got home, but didn’t hear from her until after my evening nap (which was glorious). When I got there she handed me the last Maibock, which I downed forthwith. Dan drove us to the CC, where Sister Nadeau met us. Dan and I ganged up on Cake Woman and she walked home in a huff. HA ha. I felt a little bad for her — she was all lonely and… no I didn’t. She could have called me at any time if she really wanted help moving. She could have asked tonight if she wanted me on her side. I really don’t feel that sorry for people who can’t ask for what they want.

P.S.: Thank you platinum card!

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