Category 3 means more safety needed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

The latest from weather experts on Hurricane Katrina: She was a Category 3.

Are these the same people who told us Natchez had &8220;straight-line winds&8221; instead of a tornado back in 1998?

In all seriousness, the after-the-fact measurement of winds is of absolutely no comfort to anyone who lived through Katrina or was affected by it.

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And it makes us wonder how prepared we will be in the future.

New Orleans&8217; levees, which were overtopped by the storm and led to flooding across 80 percent of the city, were thought to have been built to withstand a Category 3 storm.

The new measurement is further proof that those levees must be rebuilt even stronger and higher than they were before.

President Bush has promised to do just that, and Congress must agree.

And planners working on rebuilding the gulf coast must look at ways to improve building codes to ensure we don&8217;t see such widespread destruction anytime soon.

We believe New Orleans and the gulf coast can be rebuilt and can be even better than before, but residents have the right to feel safe there.

Katrina wasn&8217;t just a number &8212; she was a life-changing event, but the new measurement means we have to change our way of thinking about safety.