Hurricane Pam Summary


“I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.”
President Bush, ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday September 1, 2005

On Saturday September 3, 2005, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called the disaster “breathtaking in its surprise. … That ‘perfect storm’ of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody’s foresight… ”

Hurricane Pam brought sustained winds of 120 mph, up to 20 inches of rain in parts of southeast Louisiana and storm surge that topped levees in the New Orleans area. More than one million residents evacuated and Hurricane Pam destroyed 500,000-600,000 buildings.

In July 2004 Emergency officials from 50 parish, state, federal and volunteer organizations faced this scenario during a five-day exercise held at the State Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge.

The exercise used realistic weather and damage information developed by the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the LSU Hurricane Center and other state and federal agencies to help officials develop joint response plans for a catastrophic hurricane in Louisiana.

Volunteer organizations joined emergency officials from Federal, State and local jurisdictions in exercise Hurricane Pam. The exercise consisted of a Category 3 Hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph, up to 20 inches of rain, and the evacuation of more than 1 million people from 13 Parishes in Louisiana.

During the eight-day tabletop exercise, over 250 emergency preparedness officials from more than 50 federal, state and local agencies and volunteer organizations used this catastrophic scenario to develop a recovery plan for the 13 parishes in the New Orleans area. Continue reading