Why just rebuild the Crescent City when we can reinvent it? Here, the complete plan for riding out a category-5 storm
By Michael BeharPosted 02.04.2006 at 2:00 am 3 Comments
By now you know that engineers had long predicted the cataclysmic flooding that struck New Orleans. But what you might not realize is that Katrina-a category-4 cyclone when it made landfall in Louisiana on August 29-was not the worst-case scenario. That would be a direct hit from a category-5 hurricane, which would send a storm surge over the city's levees and submerge New Orleans in minutes. Anyone who had ignored evacuation orders would drown.
It takes Scott Kiser only a split second to name the one city in the U.S., and probably the world, that would sustain the most catastrophic damage from a category-5 hurricane. "New Orleans," says Kiser, a tropical-cyclone program manager for the National Weather Service. "Because the city is below sea level-with the Mississippi River on one side and Lake Pontchartrain on the other-it is a hydrologic nightmare." The worst problem, he explains, would be a storm surge, a phenomenon in which high winds stack up huge waves along a hurricane´s leading edge.