Friday, September 09, 2005

NOAA Weather Alert on Katrina

The full text of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) alert issued at 10:11 a.m. (Central Daylight Time; = 15:11 UTC) on 2005-08-28 is available on the web. This is not some wacko conspiracy theory; the authenticity of this alert was verified by Brian Williams of NBC News on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on 2005-09-08.

Here are some selected quotes:

...Devastating damage expected...

Hurricane Katrina, a most powerful hurricane with unprecedented strength, rivaling the intensity of Hurricane Camille of 1969.

Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. At least one half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed.

The majority of industrial buildings will become non-functional. ... Airborne debris will be widespread, and may include heavy items such as household appliances and even light vehicles. ... Persons, pets and livestock exposed to the winds will face certain death if struck. ... Power outages will last for weeks ... Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards. ... Only the heartiest [trees] will remain standing, but be totally defoliated.— excerpts from NOAA alert issued at 2005-08-28 15:11 UTC
And yet President Bush, FEMA chief Michael Brown, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have all claimed that they had no way of knowing the hurricane would be devastating to New Orleans.

We had no way of knowing that Saddam didn't really have WMD's. We had no way of knowing that Saddam didn't really have WMD programs. We had no way of knowing that the people of Iraq would view us as occupiers, rather than greeting us as liberators. We had no way of knowing that some Iraqis would resist the occupation by force of arms. We had no way of knowing that thousands of extremists would flock to Iraq to help the resistance. We had no way of knowing that the war in Iraq would increase, rather than decrease, the risk of terrorist attacks in the United States and our allies. We had no way of knowing that a Category 5 hurricane would breach the levees in New Orleans. We have no way of knowing whether or not evolution is the best scientific explanation of the origin of species.

But we should have absolute faith in the man that President Bush wants to install as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, without asking pesky questions about things like his view of the Constitution and its role in society.