Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years Later

August 26, 2015

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August 29th will mark the tenth (10th) anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It was one of the deadliest and the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

As you may recall, this hurricane touched down in Mobile, Alabama, and significantly damaged and left people stranded in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Biloxi, Mississippi during President George W. Bush administration’s second term as President of the United States of America.

A few key primary source references based on Hurricane Katrina that should be included in your historical U.S. Government publications, or weather-resources library include the following:

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, George W. Bush, 2005, Bk. 2, July-December by National Archives and Records Administration

This primary source reference work chronicles George W. Bush’s second term presidency from July through December 2005. This volume includes the President’s remarks on Hurricane Katrina on Sunday, August 28, 2005, plus additional remarks on September 1, 2, 5-8,12, and an Address to the Nation on Hurricane Katrina Recovery from New Orleans, LA on September 15, 2005, a Memorandum on the National Flood Insurance Program on October 12, and more.

040-000-00775-0Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned, February 2006 by the President of the United States and the Assistant to the President for the Department of Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

Hurricane Katrina’s historic 115-130mph winds coupled with a powerful storm surge that created a 27 foot long stretch of the Northern Gulf Coast that impacted nearly 93,000 square miles that was not isolated to one state or city. The book is a Lessons Learned view of what can be implemented to prevent natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina from happening in the future. The report’s focus is centered on disaster preparedness and emergency management responses. It contains an analytical, narrative chronology that provides a detailed account of Hurricane Katrina from the point of the storm’s development in the days “Pre-Landfall,” and the next chronicles both the “Week of Crisis” from August 29 through September 5, and concludes with the transition from response to recovery. This volume concludes with the most important chapter: “Transforming National Preparedness.”

052-071-01438-1A Failure of Initiative: Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee To Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, February 15, 2006 by the U.S. House of Representatives, Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina

This report is a summary of the Committee’s work to investigate the preparation for leading up to the Hurricane Katrina storm and the two weeks following the storm. It does not cover the extensive rebuilding of the impacted areas after the storm made its landfall to the cities and states that were in its’ path.

Call Sign Dust Off: A History of U.S. Army Aeromedical Evacuation From Conception to Hurricane Katrina by the Department of the Army, Office of the Surgeon General, Borden Institute008-000-01040-4

This book, published in year 2011, covers the conceptualization of the initial attempts to use aircraft for evacuation, reviews its development and maturity through those conflicts, and focuses on the history of MEDEVAC post–Vietnam to the transformation of the MEDEVAC units from medical to aviation command in 2003 and the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Much has been written about U.S. Army aeromedical evacuation—or MEDEVAC—and most works have focused on the war in Korea or Vietnam. This book focuses on the unique use of helicopters to accomplish this mission. Part I looks at the heritage of MEDEVAC from its beginnings in World War II through the bitter battles in Korea, the interwar years, and the long struggle in Vietnam. Part II covers the 1980s, a time of domestic duties and contingency operations. Part III reviews the turbulent 1990s with the end of the cold war, a hot war in the Persian Gulf, dramatic military force reductions, and a call to duty in the Balkans. Part IV stretches into the millennium, covering the events of 9/11, further conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq—the Aviation Transformation Initiative that moved MEDEVAC from medical to aviation control—and the national response to Hurricane Katrina. In general, after Part I, a thematic approach is used, and the chapters are organized with interweaving sections covering doctrine (service and joint), organization, and operations.

008-070-00804-1Operation Dragon Comeback: Air Education and Training Command’s Response to Hurricane Katrina by the U.S. Air Force, Air Training and Education Office of History and Research

This volume is the Air Education and Training Command’s (AETC) response to Hurricane Katrina as a pivotal event in the organization’s history. It showcases the men and women that rushed to the aid of their wingmen at the Kesslar Air Force base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provided support for humanitarian efforts to the communities and the country in time of need. In addition to the coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s approach and landfall, this resource also attempts to cover the few months of recovery efforts that took place at Kesslar Air Force base during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Air National Guard at 60: A History (eBook) by Air National Guard999-000-44446-1

Within this commemorative 60 year anniversary of the National Guard, you will also find many accounts of the emergency response relief efforts during the historic Hurricane Katrina to include saving people stranded by the flood waters, supplying medicine food and clean water staples and more.

064-000-00058-6Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness by U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Guide for citizens on how to protect themselves and their families against all types of natural and man-made disasters and hazards from tornadoes to terrorism, floods to fires, extreme cold to extreme heat. The “Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness” from FEMA can be used as a reference source or as a step-by-step manual. The focus of the content is on how to develop, practice, and maintain emergency plans that reflect what must be done before, during, and after a disaster to protect people and their property.

How do I obtain these resources?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: This week’s blog contributor is Maureen Whelan, Senior Marketing Team Leader for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office in Washington, DC. Maureen oversees print and digital content dissemination strategy and manages third party free and paid content distribution through platforms and vendors, such as Apple iBookstore, Barnes and, Google Play eBookstore, Ebscohost databases, Overdrive, and more.


Preparing for Mother Nature’s toughest weather

May 27, 2015

We’ve all heard the expression, “spring is in the air!” Well, spring has fully sprung, and as flowers bloom and temperatures grow warmer, so does the threat of severe weather which is also common during this time of year. Depending on what region you live in the US, severe weather-related events such as tornadoes and hurricanes are prone to happen causing serious damage to homes and businesses. Luckily, the U.S. Government Bookstore offers the following weather-related publications to help you prepare for Mother Nature’s toughest weather.

003-017-00569-1Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning, Nature’s Most Violent Storms: A Preparedness Guide, Including Tornado Safety Information for Schools. This illustrated booklet showcases facts about weather-related events and suggests life-saving actions you can take, if you find yourself in an unexpected situation resulting from a weather-related event.  The goal of this booklet is to present you with details on how to recognize severe weather, be aware of your surroundings, and to encourage you to develop a plan to be ready to act when threatening weather approaches. Additionally, it provides important information on what causes specific weather-related events and features a “Why Worry About Thunderstorms?” fact list of weather-related risks as it relates to lighting, tornadoes, flash floods and floods, and hail.

FloodsTheAwesomePower_NSC_Page_01Floods: The Awesome Power. This booklet explains flood related hazards and suggests lifesaving actions you can take in the event of a flood. Filled with illustrations, this easy-to-read booklet provides helpful information on how you can recognize a flood potential and develop a plan to be prepared when threatening weather approaches. It also provides information on flood severity categories from minor to major flooding scenarios, river floods, and flash floods risks whether in a car, truck, or SUV, or at home, work, or school.

Weather Spotter’s Field Guide: A Guide to Being a SKYWARN Spotter. The United States is the most severe weather-prone country in the world. Each year, people in this country cope with an average of 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,200 tornadoes, and two land-falling hurricanes. Approximately 90% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, causing around 500 deaths each year and nearly $14 billion in damage.9780160924255

SKYWARN® is a National Weather Service (NWS) program developed in the 1960s that consists of trained weather spotters who provide reports of severe and hazardous weather to help meteorologists make life-saving warning decisions. Spotters are concerned citizens, amateur radio operators, truck drivers, mariners, airplane pilots, emergency management personnel, and public safety officials who volunteer their time and energy to report on hazardous weather impacting their community.

Although, NWS has access to data from Doppler radar, satellite, and surface weather stations, technology cannot detect every instance of hazardous weather. Spotters help fill in the gaps by reporting hail, wind damage, flooding, heavy snow, tornadoes and waterspouts. Radar is an excellent tool, but it is just that: one tool among many that NWS uses. We need spotters to report how storms and other hydro-meteorological phenomena are impacting their area.

This guide provides the procedures for Spotter Reporting, their role in severe storms that may result in hazardous conditions, and provides safety tips for extreme weather conditions.

003-017-00563-1Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book. Although designed to appeal to children, this booklet provides important severe weather-related information for all ages. It includes information on hurricanes, tornadoes, lighting, floods, and winter storms. This booklet is written and illustrated in a cartoon style format for children 8 to 12; however, it contains valuable disaster preparation and response information of use to parents, teachers and other adults.

How can I get these weather-related publications?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy the following  publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at

Order by Phone: You may also Order print editions by calling our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Trudy Hawkins is Senior Marketing and Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (


Owlie Skywarn helps us all prepare for bad weather

October 26, 2012

With the threat of an unusual “Frankenstorm” pre-Halloween hurricane possibly combined with a blizzard about to hit the East Coast in the next few days, I found myself with a dozen others at the store last night buying batteries, flashlights and bottled water. Next to me was a mother with two small children, one of whom asked loudly, “Mommy, why is everybody buying batteries and water?” I chuckled to myself as I looked at the frazzled adults and wondered how she’d explain what the fuss was about. With the rise in severe weather events in the United States and the related rise in media coverage about these creating anxiety in both young and old, parents and teachers have a lot of “‘splaining” to do to children.

NOAA Owlie Skywarn's Weather BookFortunately, NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in conjunction with FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Association) and the American Red Cross, have prepared a terrific new booklet, Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book, to explain different types of severe weather and how to prepare for each.

Although formatted to appeal to children, with “Owlie Skywarn” the cartoon weather owl introducing topics on most pages, this booklet is valuable for all ages.

The book covers the gamut of severe weather, from hurricanes and tornadoes to lightning, floods and winter storms.

For each type of weather, Owlie explains what it is, what kind of alerts or warnings may be issued and by whom, how to prepare in advance (if possible), and how to react while it is happening. For example, a great page illustrates a car safety kit every driver should have if he or she lives in places that get deep snow. Still other pages tell you where to go and how to protect yourself when a tornado warning is issued by NOAA’s National Weather Service, or over the Emergency Alert System, whether at home, school, office, store, outdoors or in a car.

Sprinkled throughout are anecdotes from real people and towns that make the advice come alive. One is the story of a retired National Park Ranger who has been struck by lightning seven times and lived to tell the tale (albeit now with lightning rods all over his home). Yikes! Fascinating (and intimidating) weather facts are included like the fact that the most snow in one month in the United States actually fell in Tamarack, California, in 1911: a whopping 32.5 feet or 390 inches (or 10 meters for our non-US readers)!

At the end of the book are quizzes and activities that can be used by a family at home or teachers in school with children to help ensure the lessons get through that severe weather is not to be played with.

My recommendation to parents, teachers, well, really everyone is get a copy of Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book, read it, prepare, and keep it with your other extreme weather supplies. These are lessons worth repeating often. I’ve got my copy with my spare batteries and my NOAA weather emergency radio.

P.S. And to that mother in the flashlight and batteries aisle preparing for Hurricane Sandy: You will be happy to know that the answer to your daughter’s question about why everyone is buying batteries and water can be found on page 6.

HOW DO I OBTAIN Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book”?

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.

Find this and other books about Weather and Climate on our new online bookstore.

About the Author:  Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore ( and promoting Federal government content to the public.


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