Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Day After Tomorrow

The Law Jedi has found a chilling article from an old National Geographic. (I can't tell what the date on the article is.) Excerpts:
As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however—the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.

The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

When did this calamity happen? It hasn't—yet.

Like the 9/11 hijackings, it demonstrates that the past was foreseeable and makes you wonder why someone wasn't preparing for the eventuality.


Anonymous said...

It's easy to say they should have prepared weather you mean federal, state or local governments. Just like 9-11 people would never have stood for the sacrifices neccessary to prepare for this devastation. Even now the government is taking several days to force people from their homes. some people will always resist what the government is trying to do

Anna said...

The article Gone With The Water is in the October 2004 issue of National Geographic. It is quite chillingly similar to what actually happened!

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't someone "preparing for the eventuality"? MONEY! Duh.

Isn't this really quite simple: Levees built for Category 3 storm; Katrina is a Category 4/5 Storm.

Preparing for the eventuality meant building the levees to withstand that strong a storm. And, as we've seen, that would have costs tens of billions of dollars (and taken up to 25 years to complete, also).