Monday, March 06, 2006

This One is for the Westbankers

That includes da po’ boy.

With all this talk of about breaches vs. overtopping and catastrophic flooding, and what people knew and when, and who was warned and what they were warned about, I think the Westbankers need to be paying attention. Katrina was an East Bank problem when it came to storm surge. If the next one goes west of the river, it will be our problem.

This is what the experts were saying about the West Bank before Katrina:
Storm Flooding of the West Bank

If a hurricane approaches New Orleans from any number of tracks from the southwest, water will be pushed from the Gulf of Mexico into Barataria Bay, and funneled by levees along the Mississippi River and Route 310 directly up into the West Bank.
We’ve heard about funneling water before, and it wasn’t in a favorable context. It was talking about the MR-GO:
The role of the canal in the flooding six months ago is not in dispute. Computer models of the storm and photographs suggest that the canal acted as a funnel for water being forced up toward the city, leading to the breaches in the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal that devastated the Lower Ninth Ward.
Remember, it wasn’t the canal itself that directed the storm surge, but its levees in conjunction with the levees that protect New Orleans East that acted as the funnel.

So, from a hurricane coming from the south and west of the Mississippi, the West Bank would be affected in a way similar to the Lower Ninth and St. Bernard Parish in Katrina. The same website maps the flooding on the West Bank from a category one hurricane inside the levee system at 2 – 2.25 meters, or 6 – 7 feet.

However, that is assuming there are no breaches in the levees. In St. Bernard and at the Industrial Canal, Katrina’s storm surge overtopped levees and caused breaches. If the same happens on the West Bank, the flooding would reach 3 meters or around 10 feet. And those projections are for a category 1 hurricane. The Hurricane Pam exercise had more dire projections for a category 3 with a track closer to the city.

I really hope this never happens. But, I really wish Katrina hadn’t happened. Katrina did happen, and people are saying they didn’t anticipate what happened.

Well, what can happen on the West Bank has been anticipated by the experts. Let’s hope our new West Bank Flood Authority heeds the warnings and protects its residents. That goes for the East Bank, too. And the local, state, and federal officials should have a plan ready by now just in case.

Please, let it be “just in case.”


Mark said...

I wish I still had some of my West Bank Guide clippings from Hurricane Juan in the 1980s. If that had been a powerful storm, the substandard levees on much of the West Bank would have failed completely. You may recall how close they came to loosing the Harvey Canal floodwalls, with people frantically sandbagging to try to save them.

da po' boy said...

That's crazy. I was nine at the time Juan hit and all I remember is a little rain. I had no concept of storm surge back then, nor that Juan was that serious for the West Bank.

Tim said...

Every hurricane is different. Just as there will never be another Camille, there will never be another Katrina. So I applaud your effort to remind people that the next hurricane will be different, and it might very well be the one that pushes the storm surge into the Best Bank.
The bottom line is, no matter where you live, the hurricane protection system we have is minimal. It's basically a 1 in 100 year system, which means the odds are that the majority of us will live to see a disaster happen. We need what the Dutch have: 1 in 10,000 year design. After they lost 1,800 good citizens in 1953, they said, "Never again." After 1,300 Americand died, all Congress and the President have said is, "Bummer, dudes, why don't ya'll move to higher ground?"

ashley said...

"Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives."

George W. Bush

Let's see it, muthafucka