87th AMS Annual Meeting

Thursday, 18 January 2007: 9:15 AM
Katrina: A personal perspective
205 (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Jeff Baskin, Chief Meteorologist KOIN-TV, Portland, OR
A few months ago I was asked to give a talk to our local AMS chapter about my experience in Hurricane Katrina. At the time of the storm I was working at WVUE in New Orleans as a broadcast meteorologist. I had already accepted a job as chief meteorologist at KOIN-TV in Portland, OR and the day the storm hit was supposed to be my last day in New Orleans before moving. The presentation centered around a time line of Hurricane Katrina's development, approach, and aftermath. I talked about what the station and city were doing in the days during the approach, as well as what I was thinking at the time. I touched upon the atmospheric conditions that led to the major change in Katrina's forecast track the Friday before landfall, and what it meant. I talked about the evacuation, and gave the reasons as I saw it why some people did not evacuate. I described the experience of what me and the remaining staff of WVUE went through during the final hours of the hurricane's approach and the immediate aftermath. I showed pictures of our failed attempt to return to the WVUE studios several hours after landfall. This part of the story is something every broadcaster should hear. I described a sequence of events that demonstrate how dangerous it can be when the chain of command breaks down during an emergency situation. A couple examples of these events include driving down the wrong way of the interstate with potential oncoming traffic, and wading through water in a TV station with live power cords and running equipment submerged. The last part of my presentation was about the aftermath, including how I evacuated to Portland just in time to start my new job. The visual part of my presentation included archived NHC forecast track graphics for Katrina, as well as pictures, most of which I took myself. The original presentation was close to an hour long, so my proposed talk will be scaled down to fit the allotted time.

Based upon feedback from the local AMS Chapter members, Mark Nelson suggested that I propose this presentation for the annual meeting.

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