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May 29, 2005

New hurricane study proposed for New Orleans - 12:00 am CDT

The Times-Picayune in New Orleans is just published a story about the need for a system to protect southern Louisiana from a direct hurricane strike. It is no secret that the New Orleans area is very vulnerable to a hurricane strike. A direct hit from a category 5 storm would flood the city from both sides and leave the entire metro area under water for months. In the case of such a hit, after the levees were repaired, an optimistic projection is that the flood water would receed in 6 weeks. Worst case scenario: Galveston hurricane scaled to today. In 1900, 8000 people died when the country had a population of 76 million. The New Orleans article discussed a new proposal to build a third bridge as part of I-10 and attach to the bridge a wall that can be lowered down to block storm surge from entering Lake Pontchartrain. Am I the only one that remembers that in Ivan a large chunk of I-10 was relocated to the bottom of the Gulf? the only one to remember the same thing happening years ago in the Florida Keys? The only one to remember how many times sections of I-95 in Connecticut have gone to the bottom? In order for this system to work, the entire wall would have to hold and the seal would have to be very tight. Another alternative: raise the levees by 10 feet. Problem: in the case of floods the levees on the Mississippi have broken before (think 1993). In any case, the city hasn't finished preparing for a category 3 storm yet and any expansion would cost at LEAST 2 billion dollars. (yeah, right, just $2 billion, think Big Dig: original cost $2.2 billion, current cost $14.6 billion and rising).
Tracking God's Fury:
ATLANTIC
Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Nate
Hurricane Ophelia
EASTERN PACIFIC
  • None
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