Friday, September 09, 2005

"No one could have predicted"

I love my commenters, and rarely if ever heap derision on them. Unfortunately, a commenter wrote what I consider the single funniest comment ever left, possibly on the entire Intarweb. It was in response to complaints that the naval response to No Man's Land was slower than the response to the tsunami, and a comment about the late dispatch of the hospital ship USNS Mercy. Woody wrote:

So we now have to employee [sic] people that can see into the future so they can tell us how bad a storm is going to be? You dont [sic] just put one of these ships out to sea on a whim, while it was known that Katrina was a powerful storm the US has been hit by storms just as big in the past and we havent [sic] needed the service of one of these ships then. No one knew that it would end up being one of the worst natural disasters ever in the US.
"So we now have to employ[] people that can see into the future so they can tell us how bad a storm is going to be?" That's crazy talk! No one can read the mind of a storm! Our very finest haruspices, spiritualists and sooth-sayers combined could never know what the mad wench Katrina might wreak!

On the other hand, on August 28 The National Weather Service alerted everyone that:
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. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
My emphasis. As CNN reported:

As far back as Friday, August 26, the National Hurricane Center was predicting the storm could be a Category 4 hurricane at landfall, with New Orleans directly in its path. Still, storms do change paths, so the possibility existed that it might not hit the city.

But the National Weather Service prediction proved almost perfect.

Katrina made landfall on Monday, August 29.
What mystic power is this, that allowed this men to peer long days into their future. Witches! Warlocks! Weigh them! If they weigh less than a duck, they're witches!

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