Wednesday, March 08, 2006

U.S Army Corps of Engineers ignored data that showed higher levees needed...

According to this story in today's Times-Picayune, weather data showing the need to raise the height of levees to defend New Orleans against stronger hurricanes was not incorporated in Army Corps of Engineers designs, even though the agency was informed of the new calculations as early as 1972.

The heights of floodwalls and levees currently being rebuilt by the corps are based on research for a likely worst-case storm done in 1959. When new weather service research in the 1970s increased the size and intensity of that storm and its projected surges, the corps stuck to its original design specifications when work began in the 1980s, including for structures that failed during Hurricane Katrina.

This news has to be discouraging for individuals trying to decide if they should rebuild homes that were destroyed by the hurricane.


President Bush traveled to New Orleans this morning and visited a levee reconstruction site as well as some of the devastated areas, including the Lower 9th Ward. He seemed so much more in touch with the challenges confronting hurricane survivors than he was on previous visits. As I've been saying on this blog, you have to go out into the neighboods to fully appreciate the extent of the devastation.