Lessons of Katrina: Elected officials tried to stay ahead of Irene

Six years after Hurricane Katrina provide a lesson in how not to prepare for and react to a natural disaster, elected officials from President Obama to governors and mayors made sure they were seen as engaged in planning for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, Carol Lee says at the Wall Street Journal.

As the first major hurricane of his administration roared up the East Coast, Obama made an unannounced visit to the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Saturday and sat in on daily video conferences. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was in Bermuda before last December’s crippling blizzard and took heat for the city’s slow response to the storm, ordered a widespread evacuation and led other aggressive preparation efforts.

“There’s no question that now the expectation is that you get out to the scene as quickly as possible, and that failure to do so becomes a political story,” said Michael Chertoff, who was Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush.