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Talking Points Memo is maintaining a timeline on Katrina and the actions taken in response. As information comes in, the timeline will be updated. Here it is:
TPM Hurricane Katrina Timeline v. 1.0
Updated 9/7/05Send additions to email@example.com Return to TPM
Thursday, August 25:
- 5 PM: The National Hurricane Center makes its first official reference to "Hurricane Katrina," thus upgrading it from tropical storm status.
- 7 PM: Katrina makes landfall in Florida.
Friday, August 26:
- 11:30 AM: Katrina is upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.
- 5 PM: the National Hurricane Center issues an advisory forecasting that Katrina would soon be a Category 3 hurricane.
- Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco declares a state of emergency for Louisiana.
Saturday, August 27:
- The President's weekly radio address focuses on Gaza withdrawal and the Iraqi constitution. No mention of the Hurricane is made.
- That day, President Bush officially declares that a "state of emergency" exists in Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to the affected areas to complement state and local relief efforts.
- Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour declares a state of emergency.
- 11 PM: the National Hurricane Center issues a warning suggesting that Katrina is moving in a western direction in an area that includes New Orleans.
Sunday, August 28:
- 2 AM: Katrina is declared a Category 4 storm.
- 8 AM: Katrina is declared a Category 5 storm, the highest possible rating.
- 10 AM: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin orders mandatory evacuations of the city.
- Later that morning, President Bush declares a state of emergency from both Mississippi and Alabama, and declared Florida a federal disaster area in light of damage done by Hurricane Katrina.
Monday, August 29:
- Katrina, a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds, makes landfall near Buras, La., at 6:10 a.m. CDT (7:10 a.m. EDT).
- Levees break mid-morning, but much of the city remains unflooded
- FEMA director Michael Brown waits 5 hrs after Katrina has hit to ask his boss, Michael Chertoff, for 1000 Homeland Security employees to be sent to the region and gave them two days to arrive.
- President Bush makes emergency disaster declarations for Louisiana , Mississippi, and Alabama, freeing up federal funds.
- Katrina rips two holes in the Superdome's roof. Some 10,000 storm refugees are inside.
- At least eight Gulf Coast refineries shut down or reduce operations.
- FEMA Head Michael Brown urges emergency service personnel "not to respond to hurricane impact areas unless dispatched by state, local authorities."
- The American Red Cross announces that it is "launching the largest mobilization of resources in its history" to assist Katrina victims.
- FEMA encourages the public to donate to this and other private organizations involved in relief work.
Tuesday, August 30:
- 10PM CDT New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin announces that the planned sandbagging of the 17th Street levee breach has failed.
- Two levees break in New Orleans and water pours in, covering 80 percent of the city and rising to 20 feet deep in some areas. Many people climb onto roofs to escape. 80 percent of New Orleans is underwater.
- President Bush delivers a speech on the 60th anniversary of V-J Day in which he talks mainly of the need to "stay the course" in Iraq.
- Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco says everyone still in New Orleans an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people must be evacuated. Crowds swell at the Superdome and the New Orleans convention center.
- Bush cuts short his vacation to focus on the storm damage.
Wednesday, August 31:
- President Bush heads back to Washington from vacationing in Crawford, TX. Though he does not stop in Louisiana, Air Force One flies over the Gulf Coast so that he can view the devastation.
- Federal officials declare the Gulf Coast a Public Health Emergency.
- Shortly after 5 PM, President Bush holds a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House during which he details his strategy for short-term recovery efforts.
- Governor Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana orders that all of New Orleans, including the Superdome, be evacuated. An exodus from the Superdome begins, with the first buses leaving for Houston's Astrodome, 350 miles away.
- New Orleans 's 1,500 member police force is ordered to abandon search and rescue missions and turn their attention toward controlling the widespread looting and a curfew is placed in effect.
- Mayor Ray Nagin calls for increased federal assistance
Thursday, September 1:
- The Daily Herald reports that House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert says rebuilding New Orleans "doesn't make sense to me."
- At 7 AM, President Bush appears on ABC News' Good Morning America. Diane Sawyer asks the President, " what's taking so long?" after telling Bush that "some of the things they have asked our correspondents to ask you is, they expected, they say to us, that the day after this hurricane that there would be a massive and visible armada of Federal support." Bush responds by noting that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm."
- At around the same time, evacuees from the New Orleans area and the Louisiana Superdome begin arriving at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.
- FEMA announces guidelines to contractors interested in "doing business with FEMA during the Hurricane Katrina recovery."
- Looting, carjacking and other violence spreads, and the military decides to increase National Guard deployment to 30,000.
- Nagin, the New Orleans mayor, calls the situation critical and issues ``a desperate SOS'' for more buses to evacuate those stranded at the Superdome.
- Bush asks his father and former President Clinton to lead a fund-raising campaign for hurricane victims.
Friday, September 2:
- The Reliant Center in Houston is opened to evacuees when the Fire Marshal declares the Astrodome to be at capacity.
- A chemical plant explosion rocksNew Orleans in the early hours of the morning. Rumors that the chemical cloud produced by the explosion was toxic were later determined not to be credible.
- Bush tours Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to survey Katrina's damage. He describesthe result of relief efforts up to that point as "not acceptable."
- National Guard arrives in New Orleans.
- FEMA releases a statement: "patience in the wake of Hurricane Katrina."
- Congress approvesand President Bush signs an initial $10.5 billion aid package for immediate rescue and relief efforts.
- The Congressional Black Caucus, along with the NAACP, Black Leadership Forum, and the National Urban League express dismay over the sluggish relief efforts in New Orleans, citing the poverty of the victims as a primary reason for the delay.
- The Bush administration asks Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) to request a federal takeover of relief efforts. The move would have given the federal government control over Louisiana's National Guard and local police. The state eventually rejected the proposal.
Saturday, September 3:
- Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff declares that Katrina constituted "a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight." CNN reports that "government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years."
- Chertoff also asserts that "our constitutional system really places the primary authority in each state with the governor," in response to a question about the federal government's response to the catastrophe.
- Governor Kathleen Blanco (D-La) hires James Lee Witt, FEMA director under President Clinton, to advise her during the relief effort.
- 4 PM: the Department of Homeland Security releases a document of "Highlights of the United States Government Response to the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."
Sunday, September 4:
- FEMA establishes a hotline to collect donations for assisting victims.
- Jefferson Parrish president Aaron Broussard claims on Meet the Press that aid to his parrish was blocked by FEMA.
- The Washington Post prints an article announcing that Louisiana Governor Blanco had not declared a state of emergency (two days later, it printed a correction, noting that she had, in fact, made the declaration on August 26)
Monday, September 5:
Tuesday, September 6:
- Bush announces an investigation into what went wrong in hurricane relief efforts.