CommunityPam's House Blend

Little Ricky needs to shut his pie hole

Stupid sh*t keeps coming out of it. Santorum‘s latest gaffe by the f*ckwad on the Katrina debacle: blame the National Weather Service for not giving a detailed enough prediction of what Katrina might do to the Gulf area. (WITF FM, hat tip Atrios):

U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is suggesting that early mistakes in predicting the path of Hurricane Katrina may be a symptom of lost focus at the National Weather Service. Santorum, who introduced legislation earlier this year to curb the output of government weather forecasters, says tracking life-threatening weather must be central to what the agency is doing.

Asked about Katrina by WITF, Santorum described weather service warnings for Florida, where the storm first made landfall, as “not sufficient.” Santorum’s bill instructs the government to abandon weather prediction and data reporting efforts that duplicate private-sector activity. He came under fire when it was revealed that the head of State College-based AccuWeather, which would benefit, has given his campaigns thousands of dollars.

Hmmm. Is this report ambiguous to you?

***

Thousands dead, 1 million evacuated. Katrina? No, a simulation run last year. Yep. No cover for FEMA on this one. Blender Paul points to this SFGate article that shows government officials can’t blame the devastation on the fact that “they had no idea.” They had a damn precise idea, but under the company that did the simulation for FEMA, the report it produced can only be released by “Brownie’s” folks.

They faced a nightmare scenario. A flooded city, 1 million evacuees, 60,000 dead — all the work of Hurricane Pam.

The storm was not real. Staged with the help of a San Francisco company, Pam was a simulation designed to force government agencies to examine — and possibly rethink — their disaster plans.

The exercise, conducted with the help of URS Corp., projected storm water surging over levees and pouring into New Orleans, forming a contaminated pool 10 to 20 feet deep. More than 500,000 buildings were destroyed in the scenario, coastal gasoline refineries were shut, and boats and helicopters were needed to rescue thousands of stranded citizens.

In short, Pam looked a lot like Hurricane Katrina.


Katrina, with winds of 160 mph (255 km/h) on August 29.

“It’s eerie how close it is,” said Madhu Beriwal, founder and president of Innovative Emergency Management Inc., based in Baton Rouge. The company led a team of three firms, including URS, that created the simulation, working under contract for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA has come under blistering criticism for its slow response to Katrina. Beriwal said she isn’t sure whether Pam shaped the way FEMA and state and local agencies responded to the real-life catastrophe. Those who participated in last year’s exercise have copies of the recommendations it produced.

“So people are looking at it,” she said. “I don’t know how much of it was used.”

FEMA representatives did not return phone calls for this story.

Notice how a lot of these phone calls about basic questions go unreturned? Hmmm….

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding