Friday, October 27, 2006

Jan. 9 New Yorker

I am a bit behind on my reading but in the past two days have been totally immersed in the Jan. 9 edition: specifically, "Deluged: When Katrina Hit, Where Were The Police?"

This is some pretty strong stuff, followed with a portfolio of photos that will make your stomach churn. Nothing I had seen or read previously about this tragedy had hit me with this kind of impact.

Maybe because CPAC (comprehensive plan advisory committee) members have been talking about disaster recovery (which may or may not be within the scope of our assigned task) this stuff has been on my mind anyway. But after reading this article one can't help but give serious contemplation to our own municipal services and how they would handle a Serious Situation.

Of course the bridge collapse was a pretty good test and -for the most part - the town coped admirably. My gut level feeling is that our authorities are better-prepared than were those of N.O. -- but maybe that is only a fervent hope. And I would prefer not to have to find out the hard way. Ever.

At any rate, I think that anyone who resides in a hurricane or flood-prone area should read this. Really.


11 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

Hey Sandy, we might need to check but I think the policy is that if the Mayor says to evacuate the Island, the cops will attempt to get everyone off the Island (well if you're not going, here's a toe tag!) and then leave too. First responders after the bridge opens back up may include the police, fire, and EMS along with some registered Red Cross folks who are trained in damage assessment.

Then a second wave would include utilities, notably the electric companies. After a severe hurricane, it could a week to install new poles, cables, and transformers.

Lastly, folks with red hurricane stickers, the property owners, would be allowed back on the Island. After some determination, the Island would be back open for business as usual.

So honestly, it would be just like N.O. if you stayed on the Island during a Category 3-5 hurricane.
/Sam

10:15 AM  
Blogger Pedro said...

Clifford..Biggest windbag on the island. Mayberry RFD...

12:35 AM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Sam - did you read the article? N.O. had a plan too -- but things completely fell apart anyway.
A plan is only as good as the people charged to implement it.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Gosh I must the blowing it is the popularity department! Oh well, I find it rather amusing that the term "disaster plan" is in itself a contradiction, since you can't plan for the unknown. I mean if anyone is actually preparing a disaster, that's called terrorism, right?

Now New Orleans is a poor example because it flooded due to rising waters - in fact a hurricane didn't even happen there.

But I see your point about having some kind of plan. I think the main component of our plan is to "cut and run." Really, that's not much of a plan. That was my point. /Sam

8:34 AM  
Blogger mleahy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:19 PM  
Blogger mleahy said...

To plan, or not to plan...That is THE question. Look, my wife and I arrived on the Island at 10:15 P.M. 9.14.2001. What do you think happened four hours later? The reminder of that night hangs over my desk at home in the form of five 8x10 photos of the collapsed causeway. I think that the local government handeled things very well given the circumstances.

Our three day weekend evolved into a two week stay, what pissed me off is the tourists who could do nothing but complain about "What is the government going to do?" I don't recall seeing a contingency plan laid out in the Constitution to deal with situations suich as these. DEAL WITH IT! Who ever said that you have to be a helpless whimp and do nothing for yourself?

What I was most impressed with was the willingness of so many locals that we that we came to know offering to shuttle us to PI if we needed anything. It is this kind of community cooperation that makes the town so strong... I think that it is a shame that it has only evidenced itself in the most desire of circumstances. It is also sad to see this lack of unity in your election fesults, historically speaking....

Bottom line, I think that the Island is in pretty good shape as compared to what populer opinion stated...If you are IDIOT enough to stay on the Island to see a hurricane...YOU"VE GT WHAT IS COMING TO YOU!!!!!!!!!

MLeahy

11:52 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

To be fair, I was at the BOA meeting tonight and in a major proclamation, officials with the local NOAA weather service presented their certification and award for SPI being officially accepted in their Storm Ready Program.

Apparently, SPI is a model agency for working with the Mational Weather Service and say been for many years. We are truly a model for the entire Valley. Plus, only about a thousand communities in the US have such recognition, which involves some rather technical auditing and equipment stuff.

I will also go on record as saying that under Bob Pinkerton, with his staff and the Weather Service, coordinated the Hurricane Emily response very well. We had only arrived from Austin two weeks earlier and frankly, we were a little tired, upset and confused. But it turned out that the right decisions were made and yes, we had a nice hurricane party under relatively safe skies.

I just wanted to put in "the good word" because credit is due, especially to folks like Cliff Rowell and the others involved in the workings. Ya done good, fellas!
Sam

11:41 PM  
Blogger Brian Mikiten said...

I have very direct experience with both the issues in New Orleans and what happened direclty after the hurricane. I'm a contractor doing work in the area and know many of the police officers in the area.

Facts:

1) There was a plan. People were warned and chose to ignore the warnings.

2) When the police walked/drove the neighborhoods and told people to leave, they didn't believing instead that the storm wouldn't be a problem.

3) Once a disaster is declared and the law enforcement groups do their jobs, they leave. The do not have to stay around watching over the foolhaeardy.

The SPI plan is a good one but you just can't force everyone to move out even under a "forced evacuation". That is the reality of people and free will.

As several of them said: People will be people no matter how hard you try to make them safe.

B

3:54 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Brian - read the article.
It is not about people refusing to leave. It is about the police dept. and city services falling apart and leaving the city in a state of chaos.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Gulfless said...

I met several evacuees and even made a few friends. One of the first questions was “Why didn’t you leave?” The answer usually was, “We have left, two times last year, once this year. It cost us about 300 bucks each time and we usually just get stuck in traffic for two days.” I thought they were just making excuses until the evacuation of Houston.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

I fear a major storm because it would paralyze the area 2-3 days before it ever struck. At some point the TxDOT would close down Route 77 to Corpus and divert everyone to Route 281. Everyone would then have to go through the border secturity check station, which I think is in Fallfurias (is it?). Like Houston, the traffic could be backed up for 50 miles or more.

There are over 1.5 million people living in the 4-county "Valley" area, not counting our brothers and sisters from Mexico (illegals, nationals with cards, wealthy Matamoros folks that would evacuate, etc.).

The population of New Orleans at the 2000 Census was slightly less than 500,000.

Need I say more?
Sam

12:27 PM  

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