Hurricane Katrina: Weather Warnings
On Thursday, August 25, 2005, Hurricane Katrina passed over South Florida as a Category 1 hurricane. The following evening, August 26th, weather forecasters at CNN predicted that Katrina was aiming for Mississippi and Louisiana, which CNN posted online, along with the weather warning that a "Deadly hurricane could hit again Monday as a Category 4."
Hurricane specialists at the National Hurricane Center, including Max Mayfield, the Center's Director, predicted at 11:00 PM, Friday, August 26th, "more than two days before Katrina reached land," that the "hurricane would make landfall in the bayous of Louisiana, east of New Orleans." They were only "off by 18 miles".
Mayfield, St. Petersburg Times' staff writer Tamara Lush reported Monday, August 30th, "was so worried about Hurricane Katrina that he called the governors of Louisiana and Mississippi and the mayor of New Orleans" on Saturday night, August 27, 2005.
FEMA's National Situation Update for Saturday, August 27, 2005, reported that Katrina had already become a Category 3 hurricane and that in "anticipation of a possible landfall, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco declared States of Emergency Friday [August 26th]. In Louisiana, New Orleans is of particular concern because much of that city lies below sea level. According to Gov. Blanco, Lake Pontchartrain is a very large lake that sits next to the city of New Orleans and if the hurricane winds blow from a certain direction, there are dire predictions of what may happen in the city."
- State of Louisiana, Executive Department, Proclamation No. 48 KBB 2005: "State of Emergency Hurricane Katrina," August 26, 2005.
On Sunday, August 28, 2005, Katrina was being called a "monster storm" and "[f]orecasters feared Sunday afternoon that storm driven waters [would] lap over the New Orleans levees ... rain bands and gusty winds were flowing across coastal Louisiana near the mouth of the Mississippi River, almost due south of New Orleans and conditions were expected to continue to deteriorate as the powerful storm neared land."
At 4:00 PM on Sunday, August 28th, "National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Chris Lauer said Katrina was still on track to hit the New Orleans area as a devastating Category 5 hurricane as its eye comes ashore" on Monday morning, August 29th, Gordon Russell wrote in The Times-Picayune.
Also, on Sunday, August 28th, Max Mayfield, still "worried about Hurricane Katrina ... even talked about the force of Katrina during a video conference call to President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas."
- Jim Bradshaw, "Forecasters fear levees won’t hold Katrina," The Daily Advertiser ("Connecting Acadiana"), August 28, 2005.
- "Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen?" Editor & Publisher (Yahoo! News), August 30, 2005.
- Seth Borenstein, "Federal government wasn't ready for Katrina, disaster experts say," Knight Ridder Newspapers, August 31, 2005.
- Tim Grieve, "Warning? What warning?" Salon "War Room", August 31, 2005.
- Brian Williams, "Now it can be told: Notes on the eve of destruction," MSNBC, September 5, 2005.
- Brian Williams, "Predicting disaster," MSNBC, September 9, 2005: "I think what happened here is quite simple: we beat the first-responders. That made us witnesses. That made us the sole source of on-the-ground intelligence in a city with no power, rising water and no communications. The outrage grew when the disconnect became apparent between what was being said at briefings... and the live pictures of abject and systemic social collapse that filled the other half of the split screen."