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Weekend forecast and continuing Katrina coverage

Jason Samenow @ 12:00 AM

Weekend Forecast

A BIG dome of Canadian high pressure will slowly build in over the next several days bringing an outstanding stretch of weather beginning now and extending through the holiday weekend. The high today will be in the upper 80s, with comfortable humidity levels. As the center of the cool high pressure area moves closer to us, maximum temperatures will drop a bit -- with afternoon temperatures reaching the low 80s Saturday through Monday. Overnight lows will fall into the mid 60s downtown and to near 60 (or a bit lower) in the cooler suburbs.

Check back each morning during the weekend for forecasts for specific outdoor events, including college football games.

Katrina Editorial Follow-up on Why Weren't Prepared

In my editorial yesterday, I wrote it was too early to point fingers, but that a Congressional commission should be established to investigate the failures in mitigating the threat of, preparing for and responding to this disaster in light of the fact many saw it coming for a long time.

In particular, the failure of decisionmakers to exercise the precautionary principle in preventing this catastrophe will be a big story in the coming days, weeks and months. Already, the mainstream media are raising the issue. Aaron Brown touched on it on CNN last night and in his story Politicians Failed Storm Victims, Associated Press correspondent Ron Fournier (of the White House press corps) wrote:
...all the finger-pointing misses the point: Politicians and the people they lead too often ignore danger signs until a crisis hits.
This assessment is probably true to an extent, but perhaps somewhat of an oversimplification of why the preparations/actions of decisionmakers were insufficient (or absent). The following excerpt offers a more sophisticated explanation:
The break in the levees that has led to the inundation of the New Orleans area constitutes more than an engineering failure. It signifies a failure of our governing institutions to represent and serve the public interest; it represents a failure in the promises of economic development to improve the quality of life in our communities. On the national level, I think it reveals a poverty of the American imagination, which refuses to dream of workable solutions to our real ecological problems, and which is mindlessly forced to seek salvation through the ostensibly free market and the promise of growth. It is impossible to say if even the most revolutionary thinking in planning and environmental management could have quelled the destruction of Katrina, but it is certain that business as usual guaranteed it.
Source: Is Hurricane Katrina a Natural Disaster or a Crisis in Public Policy? (from essay posted on "Corner" message board, written by an individual who was a research assistant and independent contractor for the Center For Hazards Assessment Response Technologies at the University of New Orleans from 2001-03).

Animated satellite image of Katrina

The image that follows shows Katrina as she crosses southern Florida, emerges in the Gulf, intensifies and strikes southeast Louisiana: Satellite loop (Requires Quicktime)

Ninety Degree Forecast Contest -- Congratulations to Jason Jones, Winner visitor Jason Jones is the winner of our summer 90 degree forecast contest. He correctly predicted there would be thirty-two 90 degree days, and was just 1 degree off in his forecast for the summer's hottest temperature (he said 98, it was 97). Jason beat out 49 other contestants and will receive his Midland Weather Radio in the mail. Thanks to everyone for participating.

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