. . . is “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye.” On this final day of August, here’s one last summer rerun. I guess it’s plausibly on-topic, and given the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it’s appropriate. It appeared at my first blog, the Daily Aneurysm, one week after Katrina made landfall, and almost a year before I got back into radio, on September 5, 2005:
For many years, when I was younger and could live on less money, I was a radio broadcaster. And when it came to working on the air, bad weather, be it tornadoes or blizzards, was my absolute favorite thing. Part of it was ego: Only when the weather is bad can your typical dumb-ass disc jockey be sure people are hanging on his every word. But part of it was a visceral understanding that providing information on weather events, information which can mean the difference between life and death, is the reason radio stations are licensed to begin with. So in my career, I read a lot of weather bulletins—even when the various corporate suits who ran the stations I worked at would have preferred I tell people turn over to the Weather Channel and play another Led Zeppelin tune.
The typical bulletin from the National Weather Service, although it can contain information about dramatic events, is usually fairly dispassionate in tone. In fact, these bulletins generally read like prepared scripts with blanks to be filled in. But the hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service Sunday morning before Katrina struck, is anything but.
URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005
…DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED…
HURRICANE KATRINA…A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH…RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS…PERHAPS LONGER.
AT LEAST HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL…ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED…ALL WINDOWS WILL BE BLOWN OUT.
THE VAST MAJORITY…OF TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING…BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED.
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.
It’s been a week since Katrina made landfall, and I am over a thousand highway miles from New Orleans, but that bulletin scares the hell out of me—still.
And the [Bush] administration is still trying to claim they didn’t know how bad it would be?