TEOTWAWKI is a term, coined by Mike Medintz on misc.survivalism IIRC,that stands for The End Of The World As We Know It.
Hurricane Katrina isn't TEOTWAWKI, but it's the closest thing we've seen in the US. Destruction on a mass scale--New Orleans misses a bullet only to be run over by a steam roller, the entire Mississippi coast turned more or less into kindling wood, heavy damage in Georgia into the Florida panhandle. Don't forget the Florida peninsula, either--they got hit a good lick as well. The destruction extends way inland, and past the belt of destruction, it's flooding rains as the "remnants" of the storm move northeast.
Probably hundreds dead, over a million without power, no water (drinkable water, anyway) and no food. The governor of Louisiana is ordering a full evacuation of the remaining population in New Orleans as Lake Pontchartrain enters the city through a broken levee--the pump system has failed. Looting has broken out, and the police can't do much to stop it. Fires burn out of control, as blocked streets block firefighters. Further inland, floods are the order of the day.
Rescuers are too few and too far between. People are stranded in attics, on rooftops and in trees. They're working against time trying to save everyone they can get to. They won't get to everyone in time. Too many need rescuing.
However, help is moving toward the area. No matter how fast it arrives, it'll be "too slow", but that's a typical human reaction. Once the rescue and then recovery operations are complete, the cleanup will start, and eventually the rebuilding.
Expect to see higher gas, diesel, natural gas and propane prices. Expect to see insurance companies go bankrupt as the claims come pouring in. Building supplies will go up. So will manufactured houses. All this as the area sucks up a tremendous amount of resources in rebuilding.
Now, imagine all of this, spread out across the country. Imagine no help will be coming--you're on your own. No FEMA, no Salvation Army, no Red Cross, no National Guard. No one will fix the levee, no one will put out the fires, no helicopters to rescue anyone. This is TEOTWAWKI.
What we, as survivalists, as seeing now is something of a dress rehearsal. Let's hope it's a dress rehearsal for a play that never opens. Pay attention, and learn your lessons, just in case you need them.
But spare a prayer for the victims, and help out if you can.