Robert Ricks Jr. spent 30 years predicting the future, in hundreds of atmospheric forecasts for the National Weather Service. None is more memorable than the one he sent on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005, at 10:11 a.m.
As Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5 storm, barreled toward the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts, Ricks, the lead forecaster in the weather service’s Slidell office, composed a 10-paragraph message that left no doubt about what could await:
“Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks … perhaps longer.”
“The majority of industrial buildings will become non functional.”
"High rise office and apartment buildings will sway dangerously ... a few to the point of total collapse."
“Power outages will last for weeks … as most power poles will be down and transformers destroyed.”
“Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.”
There hasn't been a hurricane message like that one before - or since.