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Confirmed, Katrina Cat 1 In New Orleans

In a story Wizbang has been all over for months, it has now been confirmed by the National Hurricane Center that Katrina was a "Cat 1" when she hit New Orleans.

Hurricane Katrina Hit As Category 3, Not 4

MIAMI - Katrina hit the Gulf Coast as a Category 3 hurricane, not a Category 4 as first thought, and New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain likely were spared the storm's strongest winds, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday. New Orleans' storm levees were generally believed to be able to protect the city from the flooding of a fast-moving Category 3 storm. But Katrina was generally a slow-moving storm, said Jim Taylor, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers. [Sorry Mr. Taylor, that's an excuse and more importantly a lie. -ed]

Parts of the levee system were either topped or failed, leaving up to 80 percent of the city under water.

Katrina made landfall Aug. 29 with top sustained wind of about 125 mph, not the 140 mph that was calculated at the time, the hurricane center said in its final report on the hurricane.

New Orleans was on the storm's west side, which normally has weaker wind. Although an accurate reading of the highest wind in the New Orleans area was made difficult by the failure of measuring stations, a NASA facility in eastern New Orleans measured sustained wind of about 95 mph, the report said.

There is a profound reason this is important.

First it makes it obvious that the "Cat 3" floodwalls weren't. But more importantly, it shows what the real damage to the city was caused by... The dam break. If you drive thru New Orleans, the wind damage is minimal. Many homes will be torn down with perfectly fine roofs.

Absent engineering malfeasance, New Orleans would be booming right now much like lower Florida booms after a storm rolls thru. The roofers would be working overtime and life would be getting back to normal.

Instead we have the worst natural man made disaster in history.


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Comments (11)

I heard this about a month ... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

I heard this about a month ago in New Orleans. Why does it take so long for this information to make it out to the general public? Where are all of those hard hitting investigative reporters? When you are close to a story the national press is covering, you see they are just as bad as the government they are moaning about all the time.

Absent engineering... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
Absent engineering malfeasance, New Orleans would we booming right now

Let's not forget that the idiocy continues. How many rebuilding committees are there again? At last count, I knew of 3.

Science needs to figure wha... (Below threshold)
Todd:

Science needs to figure what a Category 0.52 or maybe a 2.86 is, is. Science and politics? Together, I'm not so sure.

I didn't know that the caus... (Below threshold)
Shannon:

I didn't know that the cause of the New Orleans damage was under question. Everyone already knows it was caused by the dam break and not the wind damage.

I'd be with you but for the... (Below threshold)

I'd be with you but for the fact that it's pretty commonly recognized (or at least should be) that the majority of hurricane damage is caused by the storm surge and extreme flooding due to rainfall rather than high winds. Have you ever heard of *wind* tearing down a dam? I don't think so.
And whether or not Katrina was a Cat 1 as felt in New Orleans, it was still a Cat 3 where she made landfall, and the storm surge... well, all that water needed someplace to go, didn't it?
Also, you say that Katrina was a slow mover was a lie. Any data from the NWS or otherwise that says it was going any faster than 10MPH?

kbiel, I'd trade you all th... (Below threshold)
Paul:

kbiel, I'd trade you all the political malfeasance we've had in the whole city twice over for the engineering malfeasance on this one project.

===============

Todd you get it. I don't care if they call them Cat 5,280 levees... That storm should not have sunk us.
===============

Pietro see any one of my dozens of other posts on the topic. search "myth new orleans flooded" or "dam break" and you'll get 2. (or 3 or 4 or 5...)

Storm surge is a big compli... (Below threshold)
K:

Storm surge is a big complication to engineering calculations. The "surge" depends on the shape of the container (lake in this case), the water depth, the speed and direction of the wind, and how steady it is.

Engineers can figure out what force a dam will withstand. But they don't really know what force will be exerted. There should be recording sensors which tell exactly what the peak forces were at those dams. (I use dam as generic for any restraint such as levee, etc.)

So far I haven't seen any information about sensor data. To say the storm was Catagory 3 or 4 or 2.8 is not useful here.

From what I have read the design was not proper. Test drilling had showed the earth underneath was too soft and the foundation should have been deeper.

Some may call it malfeasance, I would say mistake or blunder until evil intent is shown.

Shannon, The im... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

Shannon,
The importance of this information is that supposedly the levees were to designed to withstand a catergory 3 storm (just lately a slow moving catergory 2 storm was added to that definition.) This adds to the evidence that negligence was involved in the destruction of so many people's lives.

yeah but it wasnt the storm... (Below threshold)

yeah but it wasnt the storm that hurt us ...

(sigh). I did know this - ... (Below threshold)

(sigh). I did know this - that Kat was only Cat 1 or 2 when it struck NOLA - but I didn't see much point in pushing it. The info was public and I knew it would come out into wider circulation eventually.

It changes nothing. The levees did not perform to their original design specification. Period.

When all is said and done, ... (Below threshold)

When all is said and done, and I'm sure no one is going to believe me when I say this, we're going to find out that a bigger issue than engineering faults (which I'll admit there were) will be something much more simple.

What is it that I'm suggesting?

It's "nutria", a fuzzy little rodent also know as the Coypu. These criters have been burrowing into the canal sides of the levees for decades. Everyone has known this and every now and then someone will come along and do something about it. Like removing the nutria and filling in their burrows. I know that no one wants to look in this direction, but I've made a few trips down to my hometown since the storm and while I was focusing on other things I missed the most obvious factor weakening the levee system.

Take it for what it's worth, but if you sit back and think about it, it makes alot of sense and there's plenty of evidence to back it up. As they begin upgrading/armoring the levees under the new plan, they're going to find thousands of these burrows undermining the entire system, FROM THE CANAL SIDE. People always came along from the CITY SIDE and deal with the burrows, but they rarely get on the other side of the wall and deal with the CANAL SIDES as they tear down and rebuild the levees, they'll see that nutria were a major factor in the breaches. The reason they don't find this factor at the breaches they are examining now, is because when the breach goes, it also takes the burrow and the evidence of the burrow with it.

Sorry bout the length of this comment.

--Jason




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