The government emergency management agency first asked that the phrase “hurricane-proof” be deleted, he said, worried about guaranteeing protection, and then that any reference to strong winds be removed. Finally, only rain could be mentioned and even then the flier did not get approved before hurricane season began.

“It’s as if they imagined themselves to be in a brick and mortar world of real liability,” the disaster expert said. “I think it’s more than lack of capacity by the government. They’re looking at the political landscape, weighing each word like David Axelrod with a focus group.”


Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.