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Aug 27 / Dave Schumaker

Katrina Threatens New Orleans

Hurricane Katrina is currently moving towards New Orleans and expected to make landfall on Monday night as either a category 4 or 5 storm. Due to the extensive network of levees that protect the city from the Mississippi River, major flooding is expected. Here is an older article that discussed scenarios for New Orleans if it was ever hit by a major hurricane.

People have known for centuries that New Orleans is a risky spot — the biggest river in North America wraps around it; and most of the land is below sea level. But researchers say they’ve been learning just how grave the problem is, only in the last few years. And they say the city and the nation aren’t prepared to handle it. To begin to understand why, we clamber up the levees along the Mississippi River. Our guide is Oliver Houck, who runs the environment program at Tulane University Law School. Houck describes it, “There’s no place in the world that has a levee system that is as extensive as this one—it’s a monster system.”

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