Hurricane Katrina, Thinking Back and Looking Ahead
August 29, 2014 marks the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. This seminal event was actually a series of events that lasted weeks; cascades of consequences that wreaked havoc against best efforts and laid bare lapses in planning and preparedness. Katrina devastated 90,000 square miles, local economies, and countless lives, killing some 1,836 souls.
Born as a result of Hurricane Katrina, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute begins a yearlong look at lessons learned, or not, since Hurricane Katrina as we start the countdown to the ten year anniversary. We will host a variety of publications by leading subject matter experts over the next year looking back on the costly experiences of Hurricane Katrina and looking forward to what we can expect with the expected trends in climate change, coastal and urban population migration, aging infrastructure and other factors which influence disaster resiliency.
Although Hurricane Katrina will be a central point for examination, our focus will not be on Louisiana only. Instead, we will examine how far we have come as a nation in dealing with the subject of disaster in terms of resiliency and surviving what is often a known and foreseeable risk. We will culminate our yearlong look with a set of findings and recommendations. It is our hope that what we will share over the next year will add to the ability of government, business, and private citizens to be better prepared to face the next Katrina like event.
We asked Bill Read, former Director of the National Hurricane Center and SDMI Senior Fellow, to give us his insights and observations, beginning with a look at critical infrastructure resilience on the gulf coast.
Tropical meteorologists’ ability to provide forecasts and warnings in advance of land falling tropical cyclones has increased significantly since 1990.