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 BankWe’ve heard about funneling water before, and it wasn’t in a favorable context. It was talking about the MR-GO:
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.
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.”