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Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Interesting report on New Orleans Flood Safety 2003

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2005 23:59:37 -0400 (CLT)

As you probably know, there's a hurrican heading towards New Orleans,
which, for some strange reason, is built below sea level in reclaimed
marshland.  For example - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4192218.stm

Anyway, while searching around looking for more info, I turned up this
article in Civil Engineering Magazine from June 2003.  It discusses the
ongoing work to improve safety and, just after 1/2 way through, has the
following:

If a storm of category 4 or 5 were to hit New Orleans before the city was
adequately prepared, what toll would it exact?
[...]
In the 1990s, Suhayda began modeling category 4 and 5 storms hitting New
Orleans from a variety of directions. His results were frightening enough
that he shared them with emergency preparedness officials throughout
Louisiana. If such a severe storm were to hit the city from the southwest,
for instance, Suhayda’s data indicate that the water level of Lake
Pontchartrain would rise by as much as 12 ft (3.7 m). As the storm’s
counterclockwise winds battered the levees on the northern shore of the
city, the water would easily top the embankments and fill the streets to a
depth of 25 ft (7.6 m) or more.
[...]
Experts say a flood of this magnitude would probably shut down the city’s
power plants and water and sewage treatment plants and might even take out
its drainage system. The workhorse pumps would be clogged with debris, and
the levees would suddenly be working to keep water in the city. Survivors
of the storm—humans and animals alike—would be sharing space on the crests
of levees until the Corps could dynamite holes in the structures to drain
the area. In such a scenario, the American Red Cross estimates that
between 25,000 and 100,000 people would die.

Which is why people are concerned, I would guess.

Andrew

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