Posted by: kellymurtagh | January 20, 2008

National Weather Service: Robert Ricks

  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. 

            ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED.  CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE…INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE. 

            HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY…A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT. 

                        AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD…AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES.  SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED.  PERSONS, PETS, AND LIFESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

            POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN.  WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

            THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED.  LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED. 

            ONCE HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET… DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE! 

 

Click.  That’s all it takes.  One click of the mouse and this message gets sent to media outlets all over the country to alert the public of an emergency.  And that is exactly what Robert Ricks, forecaster at the National Weather Service office stationed in Slidell, Louisiana did. Though he humbly says that he was just doing his job, without this warning, several New Orleanians may not have evacuated to safety, and instead would have been trapped in a desperate situation.

 

Ricks also explained the National Weather Service’s role in monitoring weather patterns and alerting the public in the case of an emergency.  One particular ritual in monitoring these patterns, is deploying a weather balloon at 5 AM and 5 PM.  This balloon sends data to the office about the weather.  And we had the opportunity to let the weather balloon go sending it into the atmosphere!  We learned so many valuable things about the inner-workings of the National Weather Service, and their commitment to serving the public by alerting them of weather emergencies. 

  

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Responses

  1. Kelly and others,

    I just had a chance to review this blog and must commend you on an excellent depiction of the story. I feel that out of the lengthy discussions we had, you found the essence of the interview in the audio portion. Best regards, RR


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