Hurricane Pam prescience
| 01.24.2006 | 08:38:47 | Views: 2032 | ID:
January 24 '06: A large, category 3 hurricane forms in the Atlantic and heads into the Gulf of Mexico. Its destination is New Orleans and it hits with high winds and more than 20 inches of rain while spawning 14 tornadoes. That storm was not Hurricane Katrina, but a "tabletop" hurricane named Pam and was part of a plan by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address preparedness in the event that a storm should hit.
The government found the city to be under-prepared for an evacuation, levee systems not ready to take storm surge and details of planning only "10 percent done" according to the Associated Press.Documents released this week detailed officials' concerns that long lines would form looking for aid and shelter after levees collapsed and flood waters spilled into the city leaving thousands homeless and the water drainage system badly damaged. "The plans," the AP reported, "were part of a government exercise known as Hurricane Pam, to test the nation's preparedness for a catastrophe. ... The documents were released by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which was examining Hurricane Pam at a Tuesday hearing." The conclusions reached by the Department of Homeland Security after studying Pam proved to be prophetic, the AP reported. However, the report went onto say that many of the conclusions reached were "conservative" and that "[a]ny storm rated Category 4 or greater ... will likely lead to severe flooding and/or levee breaching, leaving New Orleans metro area submerged for weeks or months." Officials with the report warned "a day before Katrina hit that the storm's surge could breach the levees" in New Orleans and an "August 28 (2005) report by the department's National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center concluded that a Category 4 or 5 hurricane would cause severe damage to the city, including power outages and a direct economic hit of up to $10 billion for the first week," the AP reported.
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