Bigger, higher and stronger levees cannot save New Orleans from the worst floods and the city remains vulnerable to a repeat of Hurricane Katrina, the National Academy of Sciences said on Friday.
New Orleans had the flood protection of a 350-mile (563 km) network of levees, I-walls and T-walls ringing the city when Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore on Aug. 29, 2005. The levees broke, flooding 80 percent of the city.
The hurricane killed about 1,500 people along the U.S. Gulf Coast and caused $80 billion in damages, making it the costliest U.S. natural disaster.
As Katrina demonstrated, “the risks of inundation and flooding never can be fully eliminated by protective structures no matter how large or sturdy those structures may be,” said the report by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council.
“Substantial risks” of living in flood-prone areas were never clearly communicated to residents before Katrina, it said, and simply rebuilding New Orleans and its hurricane-protection system back to pre-Katrina levels would leave the city vulnerable to another flooding disaster.
Large portions of New Orleans are below sea level, which makes it vulnerable to floods and storm surges from hurricanes. Located at the mouth of the Mississippi River delta, New Orleans is in close proximity to Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne.
The city’s levee system was tested again in September 2008, when a surge from Hurricane Gustav nearly overtopped a protective T-wall along New Orleans’ Inner Navigation Canal.
Let us pray that Katrina was a once in a lifetime occurance, if the Gulf Coast gets hit again anytime soon, then it will become a third world country. It will lose the developement appeal. Why build in an area that can be destroyed in less than a day?
You think times are tough now……another hurricane will show just how bad things can get.
Let us paray!