Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Anatomy of a Flood: 3 Deadly Waves

From the Wall Street Journal [subscription required]:
"On Aug. 29, as Hurricane Katrina brought chaos to this city, three massive waves of water poured largely unseen into the eastern section of town and neighboring St. Bernard Parish.

One surged west, off a churning Lake Borgne. Another came across from Lake Pontchartrain in the north. That sent a steel barge ramming through the Industrial Canal, a major shipping artery that cuts north to south through the city, possibly scything a breach that became 500 feet long, letting waters pour into nearby neighborhoods.

The waves inundated the mostly working-class eastern districts, home to 160,000 people. In some places, the water rose as fast as a foot per minute, survivors say.

Until now, the world's attention has focused on the levee system protecting the city's central districts, and on the near-anarchy in the storm's aftermath. But a complete reckoning of the damage and death toll will likely focus on an entirely different event, hitherto overlooked: the devastating swamping of the eastern sections of New Orleans, hours before the central flooding began. The final tallying of the dead across the city will be substantially dictated by how many residents of these neighborhoods got out alive."
So, I think it is 9 days after the hurricane, and it is reported in the news that there were events during the hurricane itself that led to flooding parts of New Orleans. Previously, the story was that flooding resulted after the hurricane. I wonder if the politicians and pundits who are pointing fingers of blame, might not want to adopt a more cautious attitude? If the events described in this news article are accurately portrayed, then perhaps hindsight will point to a history of inadequate government action on every level and for many years?

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