- NEW YORK Dr. Max Mayfield,
director of the National Hurricane Center, told the Times-Picayune Sunday
afternoon that officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and
the Department of Homeland Security, including FEMA Director Mike Brown
and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, listened in on electronic
briefings given by his staff in advance of Hurricane Katrina slamming Louisiana
and Mississippi--and were advised of the storm,s potential deadly effects.
- "Mayfield said the strength of the storm and the
potential disaster it could bring were made clear during both the briefings
and in formal advisories, which warned of a storm surge capable of overtopping
levees in New Orleans and winds strong enough to blow out windows of high-rise
buildings," the paper reported. "He said the briefings included
information on expected wind speed, storm surge, rainfall and the potential
for tornados to accompany the storm as it came ashore.
- "We were briefing them way before landfall,"
Mayfield said. "It,s not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories
that the levee could be topped."
- Chertoff told reporters Saturday that government officials
had not expected the damaging combination of a powerful hurricane levee
breaches that flooded New Orleans.
- Brown, Mayfield said, is a dedicated public servant.
"The question is why he couldn,t shake loose the resources that were
needed,,, he said.
- Brown and Chertoff could not be reached for comment on
- In the days before Katrina hit, Mayfield said, his staff
also briefed FEMA, which under the Department of Homeland Security, at
FEMA,s headquarters in Washington, D.C., its Region 6 office in Dallas
and the Region 4 office in Atlanta about the potential effects of the storm.
He said all of those briefings were logged in the hurricane center,s records.