The disaster preparedness guys in New Orleans aren’t sleeping well tonight, I bet:
Walter Maestri is struggling to help New Orleans prepare. Maestri is the czar of public emergencies in Jefferson Parish (that’s the county that sprawls across a third of the metropolitan area). He points to a map of the region on the wall of his command post.
“A couple of days ago,” explains Maestri, “We actually had an exercise where we brought a fictitious Category Five Hurricane into the metropolitan area.”
The map is covered with arrows and swirls in erasable marker. They show how the fictitious hurricane crossed Key West and then smacked into New Orleans.
When the computer models showed Maestri what would happen next, he wrote big letters on the map, all in capitals.
“KYAGB?kiss your ass good bye.”
The estimate is that a Category 5 hurricane hitting New Orleans dead on could leave 40,000 people dead.