Glad to have ya', Max! ...
Hurricane center chief issues final warning
A departing Max Mayfield is convinced that the Southeast is inviting disaster.
By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
January 3, 2007
MIAMI — Frustrated with people and politicians who refuse to listen or learn, National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield ends his 34-year government career today in search of a new platform for getting out his unwelcome message: Hurricane Katrina was nothing compared with the big one yet to come.
Mayfield, 58, leaves his high-profile job with the National Weather Service more convinced than ever that U.S. residents of the Southeast are risking unprecedented tragedy by continuing to build vulnerable homes in the tropical storm zone and failing to plan escape routes.
He pointed to southern Florida's 7 million coastal residents. "We're eventually going to get a strong enough storm in a densely populated area to have a major disaster," he said. "I know people don't want to hear this, and I'm generally a very positive person, but we're setting ourselves up for this major disaster."
More than 1,300 deaths across the Gulf Coast were attributed to Hurricane Katrina, the worst human toll from a weather event in the United States since the 1920s. But Mayfield warns that 10 times as many fatalities could occur in what he sees as an inevitable strike by a huge storm during the current highly active hurricane cycle, which is expected to last another 10 to 20 years.
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