The Homeland Security Department was warned a day before Hurricane Katrina hit that the storm's surge could breach levees and leave New Orleans flooded for weeks or months, documents released Monday show.
An Aug. 28 report by the department's National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center concluded that a Category 4 or 5 hurricane would cause severe damage in the city, including power outages and a direct economic hit of up to $10 billion for the first week.
"Overall, the impacts described herein are conservative," stated the report, which was sent to Homeland Security's office for infrastructure protection.
"Any storm rated Category 4 or greater ... will likely lead to severe flooding and/or levee breaching, leaving the New Orleans metro area submerged for weeks or months," said the report, which was released by a Senate panel examining the government's breakdown in responding to Katrina.
The documents are the latest indication that the federal government knew beforehand of the catastrophic damage that a storm of Katrina's magnitude could cause.
So why did Bush say "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees"? He sounds like Condi saying that nobody thought anyone would fly planes into buildings. (I tried to use an excuse like that once on my mother. "No one thought that playing with gasoline might set the garage on fire." She didn't buy it."