Katrina response commander reacts to Hurricane Ian’s surge

General Russel L. Honoré, the man who commanded Joint Task Force Katrina in 2005, breaks down how emergency responders will react to Hurricane Ian.
6:29 | 09/29/22

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Transcript for Katrina response commander reacts to Hurricane Ian’s surge
 POWERFUL, EYE-OPENING. ABC NEWS LIVE PRIME WITH LINDSEY DAVIS, STREAMING WEEKNIGHTS. AND WELCOME BACK. SO GLAD YOU'RE STREAMING WITH US HERE ON ABC NEWS LIVE. OUR COVERAGE OF HURRICANE IAN CONTINUES AND OF COURSE, ONE OF THE BEST PEOPLE TO BRING IN TO DISCUSS A DANGEROUS STORM LIKE THIS. HE'S AN EXPERT ON DISASTER PREPAREDNESS. HE IS THE COMMANDER OF JOINT TASK FORCE KATRINA, AN OPERATION THAT LED TO ORGANIZE RELIEF EFFORTS ACROSS THE COAST AND THE AFTERMATH OF THIS DEVASTATING HURRICANE IN 2005, WHICH BASICALLY WIPED OUT NEW ORLEANS. GENERAL RUSSELL JOINING US LIVE FROM HIS HOME THERE IN BATON ROUGE. GOOD TO SEE YOU, GENERAL. I GUESS WE ALL SORT OF KNEW THAT WE WOULD BE HAVING THIS TYPE OF CONVERSATION AGAIN, DIDN'T WE? >> WE FEARED IT. THE GOOD NEWS IS FLORIDA -- AND REALLY GOT THEIR CITIZENS PREPARED. BUT YOU KNOW, YOU CAN BE PREPARED, BUT THE FIRST HALF OF THIS FIGHT WITH A CATEGORY FOU, YOU LOSE. AND WE SEE THE IMPACTS OF THAT WITH THE SURGE WATER AND OVER 100 MILE AN HOUR WINDS. AND WE KNOW THAT THAT WILL CREATE -- THE GRID WILL GO DOWN AND PEOPLE WOULD HAVE FLOODING IN THEIR HOMES. THE STATE IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAVE DONE A GOOD JOB PREPARING. BUT YOU NEVER CAN OVERMATCHED A CATEGORY FOUR STORM. THE STORM ALWAYS WINS IN TERMS OF DESTRUCTION. AND WE HOPE AND PRAY FOR MAXIMUM SURVIVAL AND NOBODY LOSING THEIR LIVES. >> A MAN. THE HURRICANE IS JUST MAKING LANDFALL ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER. LOOKING AHEAD NOW, WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO PEOPLE AS IT ROLLS THROUGH AND IN ITS IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH, HOW DO PEOPLE STAY SAFE? >> STAY IN SURVIVAL MODE. GO TO THE INTERIOR ROOMS, CHECK ON YOUR NEIGHBORS, USE YOUR STONES SPARINGLY, ONLY ON TAX. TURN ALL YOUR APPS OFF. YOU WILL BE A WEEK OR TWO WITHOUT POWER. THE FACT THAT YOU ARE IN THE STORM AND YOU HAVE SURVIVED -- REDUCE ALL YOUR POWER REQUIREMENTS ON YOUR THINGS TO KEEP YOU DIGITALLY CONNECTED. AND HOPE THE CELL TOWER STAY UP BECAUSE IN 115 MILE AN HOUR WINDS, AS WE SAW RIGHT HERE IN LOUISIANA AND WITH HURRICANE IDA, THE CELL TOWERS WILL COME DOWN AND IT WILL TAKE A COUPLE DAYS TO GET THEM BACK UP. >> YOU KNOW, JUST LOOKING BACK AT KATRINA AND JUST WHAT A CLUSTER THAT WAS. I MEAN, FROM THE MAYOR IN NEW ORLEANS, ALL THE WAY TO THE TO, THERE WERE SO MUCH DISORGANIZATION. NORTHERN COMMAND GOT YOU INVOLVED. WE WILL NEVER FORGET. TERRY AND I WERE TALKING ABOUT THAT TO YOU WORLD AND WITH ALL THOSE TANKS AND YOU ARE TELLING PEOPLE TO GET THEIR GUNS DOWN. IT WAS THE WILD WEST. NOBODY WAS PREPARED. NOBODY DID THE RIGHT THING. AND WE SAW WHAT HAPPENED. LOOKING AT WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW, AS YOU LOOK AT STATE OFFICIALS, FEDERAL OFFICIALS, THESE AGENCIES AND HOW WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT PREPARING FOR THIS FOR DAYS. HAVE YOU SEEN PROGRESS? AND IF SO, POINT OUT TO WHERE YOU HAVE BEEN THE MOST IMPRESSED AS WE GET READY, NOW THAT IT HAS MADE LANDFALL AND IT IS ALL SYSTEMS GO? YEAH, BIG IMPROVEMENTS ON THE COMMUNICATION FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE STATE AND WARNING PEOPLE, THE WEATHER SERVICE HAS DONE A BETTER JOB OF PREDICTION AND WARNINGS. AND THE COMMUNICATION AT THE MAYOR A LEVEL ON THE COUNTY LEVEL ARE GIVING PEOPLE WARNINGS, THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND APPS TO KEEP PEOPLE INFORMED, IT IS A MAJOR MAJOR IMPROVEMENT, KARA, FROM WHAT WE SAW IN KATRINA. AND TECHNOLOGY HAS BROUGHT US A LONG WAY IN BEING ABLE TO GET INFORMATION TO ALL HOMES. THE CONCENTRATION OF PEOPLE UNDER THE STORM, SOMETHING WE HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE, WE SAW A LITTLE GLIMPSE OF IT AND SANDY UP ON THE EAST COAST, BUT THE CONCENTRATION OF 25 MILLION PEOPLE UNDER STORM WATCH OR STORM WARNING, I DON'T THINK WE'VE SEEN THIS IN MODERN HISTORY. THIS COULD BE A HISTORY MAKER, I HOPE IT'S NOT, I HOPE WHEN IT COMES TO SHORE AS A CATEGORY FOR THE DISSIPATING OF CATEGORY ONE WITHIN THE FIRST FEW HOURS. WITH THAT WARM WATER AND THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE ON IT, IT COULD GO INTO COASTAL FLORIDA UP TO 100 MILES AS A CATEGORY TWO AS WE SAW LAST YEAR WITH IDA, CIARA. >> AND, GENERAL, THAT FIGURE YOU JUST SAID, 25 MILLION PEOPLE POTENTIALLY IN THE PATH OF THIS THING, AND AFTERWARDS, THAT IS GONNA HAVE TO BE A TASK FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. NO STATE GOVERNMENT CAN HANDLE THAT MUCH DISASTER OVER THAT MANY PEOPLES LIVES. SO, WHAT ARE YOU EXPECT? WHAT SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BE DOING NOW? WHAT SHOULD IT GET READY TO DO AS THE STORM PASSES? >> THEY NEED TO BE EMPTYING THE MOTOR POOLS AND THE WAREHOUSES AROUND AMERICA AND MOVING IT TOWARDS FLORIDA. RIGHT NOW, MUCH OF FEMA BACKUP IS IN ALABAMA. THAT COULD BE A CHALLENGE IF WE EVEN GET THERE. THEY NEED TO ACTIVATE MOST OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY CARGO PLANES, AS WELL AS HELICOPTERS AND SHIPS TO START MOVING STUFF IN, THEIR SHIPS IS ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MOVE BIG -- THAT IS GONNA TAKE 2 TO 3 DAYS. PEOPLE MIGHT BE ON THEIR OWN. BUT MOVING THAT STUFF OUT TO ALABAMA, THE BACKUP, WE ONLY HAVE 4 MILLION EMERY'S AND 25 MILLION PEOPLE, THAT IS GOING TO BE A CHALLENGE TO GET THAT DISTRIBUTED WHERE THEY NEED IT. THE GOOD NEWS, MOST OF THESE WILL BE ABLE TO SURVIVE FOR THE FIRST COUPLE OF DAYS ON WHAT THEY HAVE AND HOUSE. AFTER THAT, THAT IS GOING TO BE A CHALLENGE DEPENDENT ON HOW MUCH OF FLORIDA REMAINS FLOODED AND WHEN YOU CAN GET THROUGH TO THE ROADS. THE COASTAL AREAS WILL DRAIN OUT, AS YOU REMEMBER, SO IF WE SIENA, THAT WILL NOT BE THE CASE IN SOME OF THE INTERIOR OF FLORIDA, WHERE THAT WATER IS GOING TO GET TRAPPED. IT IS GOING TO TAKE A WHILE TO GO BACK OUT TO THE OCEAN. >> GREAT POINT. GENERAL RUSSELL HONORÉ, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. A CATEGORY FIVE,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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