New Orleans’ new levees to be tested
With Hurricane Isaac’s arrival, New Orleans will get its first glimpse of the effectiveness of $14.5 billion in improved levees, pumps, flood walls and other protections built in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Although the area is likely to see heavy rain and flooding, experts say the improved hurricane protection – including what’s billed as the largest drainage pump in the world, capable of emptying an Olympic-size pool in four seconds – probably will prevent the loss of life and widespread damage caused by the storm surge that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“There’s really no such thing as complete and total flood protection. The best we can do is reduce the risk,” said Richard Campanella, a geography professor at the Tulane School of Architecture.
He cautioned that even if the levees hold and are not overtopped by storm surge, the bowl-shaped New Orleans area will have to cope with flooding due to heavy rain likely to overwhelm drainage systems.
Los Angeles Times