Those of us who live in south Louisiana don’t have to be told that anticipating the potential danger of bad weather can be a tricky business. In 2005, then-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin drew criticism for waiting so late to order a mandatory evacuation as Hurricane Katrina approached.
Last January, in Atlanta, thousands of motorists were stranded on the city’s highways — many without food or water — after a huge snowstorm appeared to take Atlanta officials by surprise.
Those kinds of horror stories argue for a better-safe-than-sorry approach when major storms approach, even if those precautions turn out to be unnecessary. New York officials sparked criticism this week for essentially shutting down New York City in advance of a major snowstorm, although the storm mostly spared the city, moving farther east.
“I’d much rather be in a situation where we say we got lucky than one where we didn’t get lucky and somebody died,” New York Gov. Mario Cuomo said after the storm passed.
Questions about emergency preparedness — even those that originate far away — have special resonance in Louisiana, where we’re all too familiar with the risks of downplaying disaster threats.
We’re glad Gotham dodged Snowmageddon 2015, and we hope that in the coming year, the worst thing that can be said about our Louisiana weather is that we dodged a bullet.