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Dreadnought
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If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:46 am

Should we rebuild it again? How many billions of dollars would have been thrown out the window to rebuild a city below sea level? Do you throw good money after bad?

What do you think?
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N867DA
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:51 am

I'll leave questioning should we rebuild it to people who know more about New Orleans than I do. I will however say that it will probably be rebuilt over and over as needed.
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Mir
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:58 am



Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Should we rebuild it again?

Yes. We'd do the same for Houston or Miami should they get hit hard.

-Mir
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Dreadnought
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:15 am



Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
Yes. We'd do the same for Houston or Miami should they get hit hard.

Houston and Miami don't lie below sea level. Ask any civil engineer - the idea that we can hold back water indefinately is crazy, particulary when the city lies in a prome zone for massive storms. Water will find a way.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 1):
I'll leave questioning should we rebuild it to people who know more about New Orleans than I do

You have a right to be heard - your tax dollars are involved.
Democrats haven't been this angry since we took away their slaves.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:28 am



Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
Yes. We'd do the same for Houston or Miami should they get hit hard.

Completely different case. Those cities don't require tens (hundreds?) of billions of dollars worth of levees and active pumping to stay dry even on sunny days.
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Mir
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:47 am



Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
the idea that we can hold back water indefinately is crazy, particulary when the city lies in a prome zone for massive storms

Then where will the city relocate to? If you're going to cut off funding to New Orleans, you'd better have a plan to help the city move. You can't just decide that everyone there needs to fend for themselves.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
ltbewr
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:57 am

I am very concerned that Gustav may make NO go down for the count. The fact is that too much of the city and nearby areas are not safe in any serious hurricane. America can only afford only so much to restore areas after a major attack like this.
 
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LAXintl
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:14 am

Yes money should be spent -- but not on rebuilding New Orleans proper.

The money should be spent on helping developing and expanding communities and providing assistance in resettling folks further inland whether Baton Rouge, Lafayette, or other towns that are not freaking sitting underwater, and not susceptible to the inherit calamity NO is.

While this might be a mega decade long project, and billions of dollars, its gotta to be cheaper then working against nature continually trying to keep water out of a under water bowl which is NO.
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Pyrex
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:18 am



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7):
While this might be a mega decade long project, and billions of dollars, its gotta to be cheaper then working against nature continually trying to keep water out of a under water bowl which is NO.

Well, Amsterdam seems to be able to do it, I don't see why NO shouldn't be. If we let NO disappear we will have failed as a human race. Do you really wan't to see New Orleans join the ranks of cities like Pompeii?
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LAXintl
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:23 am



Quoting Pyrex (Reply 8):
Well, Amsterdam seems to be able to do it, I don't see why NO shouldn't be.

I cant recall AMS ever being hit or subject to Cat4-5 hurricanes on a regular basis.

The the North Sea might not be pretty, but its nothing compared to the tidal surges, water and wind damage a hurricane can do.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
Mir
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:23 am



Quoting Pyrex (Reply 8):
Well, Amsterdam seems to be able to do it, I don't see why NO shouldn't be.

Amsterdam is a model of how to build your flood protection systems right, as is the Netherlands as a whole. But to be fair, they don't have to deal with the kind of tropical storms that New Orleans has to deal with.

-Mir
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redngold
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:26 am

I am really, truly sad to say that I think if this hurricane hits where they say - slightly to the west, therefore slingshotting the worst storm surge straight into New Orleans - that the city will be lost for years if not forever. I just cannot imagine the city surviving another blow like this. I'm praying for people to accept what we cannot change and change what we do have power over - certainly not the force of nature, but where we live.

I just have a terrible feeling about this, much worse than when Katrina hit, and I was feeling bad then. This is more a sense of helplessness. I'm sorry, MSYtristar and others, but I think this evacuation is probably permanent.
Up, up and away!
 
Pyrex
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:34 am



Quoting Mir (Reply 10):
But to be fair, they don't have to deal with the kind of tropical storms that New Orleans has to deal with.

True, but New Orleans has been around for hundreds of years and that never seemed to be a problem until recently (and hurricane patterns haven't changed that much). So that begs the question, what is different this time around?
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waterpolodan
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:43 am

As a Tulane grad that went through the Katrina experience and lived in the city until a month ago, I can't even begin to describe how crushed I will be if this storm does what it has the possibility of doing to that city. I love that place, I really do, and if you haven't lived there you'll never understand why such a run down, eclectic, poorly managed and laid out town can be cherished by so many. I pray that the levees hold, but I am also glad on a personal level that my friends and all my belongings are already out of the city this time around.
 
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LAXintl
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:47 am



Quoting Pyrex (Reply 12):
So that begs the question, what is different this time around?

People and urbanization.

Yes the city has been there for hundreds of years, however urban growth has seen the city expand at its edges and become much more denser.

If the city was simply a port town surrounded with swaps and plantations like 200 years ago, any damage would obviously not be on such a calamity scale.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
baroque
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:48 am



Quoting Mir (Reply 10):
Quoting Pyrex (Reply 8):
Well, Amsterdam seems to be able to do it, I don't see why NO shouldn't be.

Amsterdam is a model of how to build your flood protection systems right, as is the Netherlands as a whole. But to be fair, they don't have to deal with the kind of tropical storms that New Orleans has to deal with.

The North Sea storm surge in 1953 does not ring a bell? Over 100 breaches in the Dutch dykes, 1,365 km² of "land" flooded - 9% of Holland! Not sure about Amsterdam, but at Walcheren, the damage was more severe than caused during WWII including bombing of the dykes with tallboy (6 ton) bombs. One of the Walcheren dykes has still not been repaired after 1953, whereas they all were after the 1944 battle. 1,835 killed killed in Holland in 1953. (The surge also flooded huge areas of the UK as well.)

In addition to NO being below sea level, this problem gets worse each year as the surface sinks (normal delta process PLUS effects of pumping underground water - and in a few places oil reservoirs). Then to add to the problems, that delta is eroding rapidly, there are some websites with startling maps of the delta over the past 70 years or so. The erosion is being accelerated by the control works on the river. If you control the river, you also disturb the equilibrium of the delta and especially the delta front.

The more the river is controlled, the more out of balance it becomes. And hurricanes and heavy flood events are the time when the rivers develop a new equilibrium. The floods in India are more or less the same cause and effect - the river has developed an avulsion.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avulsion

In relation to Gustav, what an unfortunate name. One of the more famous Gustavs was G Mahler, who was married to Alma (Alma Schindler). Tom Lehrer's song "Alma" has the verse:
The first one she married was Mahler,
Whose buddies all knew him as Gustav.
And each time he saw her he'd holler:
"Ach, that is the Fräulein I moost have!"


If this Gustav is fixated on Alma, there is unhappily one N of New Orleans, and it (he) misses that there is another Alma N of Galveston.
 
MSYtristar
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:15 am

I'll say this. To those of you who say there's a chance the area won't be rebuilt...I can see where you are coming from. If the city gets wiped out again, I personally would find it doubtful that the Federal Government would kick in additional monies (ie, billions more) to bring it back again. Could it happen? Surely. I know the people of the city and area are a tough bunch and they take great pride in the history and culture of New Orleans...and they will fight for it. And I know it would be a damn shame if we abandon the place. But looking at it...maybe the whole Katrina ordeal gave me a new perspective, I don't know...maybe part of me has come to the realization that this could just be history running its course. I suppose in the end, not all cities last forever. And if this is the end of New Orleans as some speculate, I'm glad I got to grow up there and spend the vast majority of my life there. So many awesome memories which I will never forget. I feel like I am a part of the city and I will never let that go. But I don't want to jump the gun. If this storm moves more to the West, most of the metro area will be spared. So at this point I am just sitting here, as nervous and as anxious as ever, watching countless weather reports which are making my eyes hurt and my brain numb, trying to get a feel for this stupid hurricane and what it will end up doing to an area of the country which is, in a word...unique. I posted this on another thread, but thanks to everyone for keeping the people of the region in your thoughts and (if you're so inclined) prayers.

[Edited 2008-08-31 04:44:11]
 
baroque
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:41 am



Quoting MSYtristar (Reply 16):
To those of you who say there's a chance the area won't be rebuilt...I can see where you are coming from. If the city gets wiped out again, I personally would find it doubtful that the Federal Government would kick in additional monies (ie, billions more) to bring it back the region.

What would it cost to pump in sand to build a pad for the place? It would have to be about 5 m thick, but if you really want NO, that is the best way to do it.
 
huskyaviation
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:35 pm

My heart goes out to all the people of NO, especially those who contribute to this site.

New Orleans as a city will be around forever, as far as I'm concerned. But I think everyone is going to have to accept as reality that it cannot come back to a pre-Katrina level. The lowest-lying areas should never be rebuilt, period. It's (1) dangerous and (2) too costly to keep rebuilding. New Orleans should be reduced to a 1/4 of its size, where the highest areas are reinforced (ie, French Quarter, Garden District) by pumping in sand and raising the city up (like Galveston did after the 1900 hurricane). The areas that sit the furthest below sea level should be returned to Mother Nature and/or used to secure the safer parts of the city (in whatever manner possible).

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 12):
So that begs the question, what is different this time around?

What is different is that whole communities were built in the lowest-lying areas of the surrounding area NO--there is no coincidence that the areas least affected by Katrina were also the oldest portions of the city.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:00 pm



Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
Houston and Miami don't lie below sea level. Ask any civil engineer - the idea that we can hold back water indefinately is crazy, particulary when the city lies in a prome zone for massive storms. Water will find a way.



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 4):
Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
Yes. We'd do the same for Houston or Miami should they get hit hard.

Completely different case. Those cities don't require tens (hundreds?) of billions of dollars worth of levees and active pumping to stay dry even on sunny days.



Quoting HuskyAviation (Reply 18):
New Orleans as a city will be around forever, as far as I'm concerned. But I think everyone is going to have to accept as reality that it cannot come back to a pre-Katrina level. The lowest-lying areas should never be rebuilt, period. It's (1) dangerous and (2) too costly to keep rebuilding. New Orleans should be reduced to a 1/4 of its size, where the highest areas are reinforced (ie, French Quarter, Garden District) by pumping in sand and raising the city up (like Galveston did after the 1900 hurricane). The areas that sit the furthest below sea level should be returned to Mother Nature and/or used to secure the safer parts of the city (in whatever manner possible).

What about building proper defenses? I understand, that while the levees and sea walls around NO were very costly, they were in fact substandard compared to similar constructions on the coast between Flanders in Belgium and Denmark.
After the disastrous floods of 1953, the Netherlands built a huge system of dykes and barriers in the deltas of the Schelde and Rhine rivers. They are normally open to let the river water and shipping pass, but get closed during surges to prevent water funneling up the rivers.
Similar designs exist in the Thames estuary in the UK and the river Eider in Northern Germany.
Germany started a massive construction programme in 1962, after a major surge inundated large parts of Hamburg. We are not thinking of giving up Hamburg, the Northern German plain, Denmark or the Netherlands.
Go to the Netherlands to see how effective flood barriers can be built and check where the money went in NO.

BTW, North sea storms in winter are just a vicious as your hurricanes, and the mud and tidal flats of most of the European North Sea coast funnels water into the river estuaries, actually increasing the damage potential.

Jan
Jan
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ltbewr
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:03 pm

Don't forget too that the worse hit areas of NO were the only places where Blacks could own land and build a house due to the legacy of segeration that existed legally until the 1960's and still for real today as well as the only affordable land for those who were poor or working class white.
I suspect that the old French Quarter and upper income areas of the city will end up being a kind of adult 'Disneyland', with most working class persons pushed outside the city. I also suspect that many 10,000's will give up and move to other parts of the country after this, further reducing the population of NO and worse hit areas.
 
lowrider
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:11 pm

If rebuilding is necessary, then it should be restricted to areas that do not lie below sea level. Anything less than, say, 20 feet above sea level that is damaged beyond repair should be abandoned. We simply cannot afford to keep pouring billions of dollars into the Gulf with so little return. New Orleans is not Amsterdam and the US is not The Netherlands. We are not short on land above sea level. Look at the difference in population density between The Netherlands and Louisiana. It would be more cost effective to take any item or structure of cultural significance and move it inland, rather than continue the losing battle of trying to keep a sinking patch of land dry for the benefit of a few at the expense of many.

EDIT:
I should amend this to say no Federal money less than 20 feet above sea level. If someone wants to put their own money in to it, they should certainly be allowed to.

[Edited 2008-08-31 07:34:38]
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baroque
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:50 pm



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 19):
BTW, North sea storms in winter are just a vicious as your hurricanes, and the mud and tidal flats of most of the European North Sea coast funnels water into the river estuaries, actually increasing the damage potential.

Additionally, both the GOM and the North Sea are subject to seiching. Other things being equal, the surge will be mostly a seiche effect - the whole sea mass oscillates. Very nasty - it is the same as what happens when you carry an overly full cup of coffee and get the wobbles. The right frequency for the wobble and out comes the coffee.

The period for the GOM is close to 24 hrs. One difference with the N Sea is that the speed of cyclonic depressions sweeping down the N Sea can be such that the passage time is close to the seiche period of the N Sea. This can make the surges more intense than if the passage time were slower or faster.

The other difference as far as NO is concerned is that the shoreline offshore Holland is generally accretionary whereas that near NO is erosional at present. This means that longer term protecting Holland is a better bet than trying the same for NO. And BOTH are sinking!

It is not getting any better with time.
 
KFLLCFII
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:42 pm

Let's not kid ourselves.

Of course the billions will be thrown at it again by all sides, whether it's the right thing to do or not.

Not one politician will want to be held responsible by certain communities for not doing so.
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Mikey711MN
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:57 pm

This is how I understand the situation:
If it were purely up to the State of Louisiana, NO would be rebuilt every time. That said, the State has long desired to gain control of revenues for the offshore oil production that, and this is where my memory/understanding is a bit dicey, goes to the federal government coffers and not the state's coffers, at least outside of a certain range from shore.

That said, as it enjoys the revenue, the Federal government therefore also buys the risk. It's one that, on the surface, one might think the feds may want to take on, but when you analyze the relative importance of the shipping and ports to the middle part of the country, I at least understand it.

In general, I would tend to believe that as long as the Feds are the recipient of these dollars, so should the obligation towards rebuilding the infrastructure to support its revenue income production. Which just happens to include a whole city under sea level.

As for the general question of rebuilding where mother nature suggests otherwise, as a Civil Engineer, I have a world of opinions regarding this. To certain extents, similar decisions have been made before: Galveston, TX, for one, was destined--and out and out designed--to be the preeminent port city of Texas before an early 20th Century hurricane destroyed the town. The industries that supported this preeminence conducted their own cost-benefit analysis and moved to higher ground, which is precisely how Houston has come into the fray as being the commercial capital city of the Gulf Coast region. Residents of Galveston rebuilt on higher ground, but can only now pale in comparison to the city to the north that it could've once become.

-Mike
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aaflt1871
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:02 pm

Do we rebuild California after each earthquake or do we give up on them. What about the midwest and tornado alley, No we rebuild, New Orleans would be the same, we will not abandon a city. We rebuild and make it better. Instead of us pumping out so much money to other efforts around the world, we need to take that and fix what is broke here in the United States first before helping others.
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galapagapop
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:28 pm

I personally love NO, but I really don't see how NO could ever really be continually sustained. The city is sinking every year, and the river control system is merely accelerating the doomsday clock for NO, because of the delta disappearing rapidly. The delta was what protected NO mainly for all those centuries before. The beach grasses can take whole feet of a storm surge, but as the delta diminishes, the estuaries that would help take the storms impact are disappearing as well. We can rebuild NOLA again and again, but it will come at a huge cost, not only financially, but environmentally. The Mississippi Delta is a crucial part of the Gulf's ecosystem, and combined with runoff from farming in the Midwest, and the river control systems in NOLA, an area once filled with exotic wild life is slowly dying out. It will continue to do so until the Mississippi is once again free to deposit sediment in the gulf and free of O2 diminishing fertilizers, but those days are well past view on the horizon. No one ever seems to think of the extreme environmental impact NOLA has on the rest of the country and the ecosystems that surround it. Instead we rebuild because of the people who are poor who have no where else to go understandably, but alas the billions the government pumps in to keep these lower sections dry is never going to see a return on its investment. Those billions aren't protecting any really key industry that couldn't be moved elsewhere, and it's a population that already takes more of it's share in government handouts. Why not take the $38 billion appropriated to rebuilding and simply give $50-75 k to move everyone out permanently into new cities with economies that could actually help get many out of the poverty cycle. Even handing out 50k to each NOLA resident would only cost, $13.75 Billion (assuming about 275,000 residents, which may be less after this storm). Compare that to the $38 billion set aside for rebuilding after just Katrina, no including all the support from welfare and private foundations. By receiving such a sum, the residents are required to leave NOLA and move elsewhere, where some other government assistance could help them get situated in many of America's metropolis's. If they end up spending it all on cars and TV's, well then fine, but at that point they are out of danger and stand a much better chance of making it fiscally, than back in NOLA. At a certain point someone must sit down and look at the numbers and realize, NOLA will never work realistically in any form similar to the present.

Cheers!
 
galapagapop
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:36 pm



Quoting AAFLT1871 (Reply 25):
fix what is broke here in the United States first before helping others.

The fix for NOLA will never come from rebuilding after each hurricane, unlike houses that can be better built to withstand tornadoes and better warning systems, NOLA is underwater and is fighting to not flood 7 days a week/ 365 days a year, much different than the cities ravaged by a F2-4 tornado every ten years, and even then the overall amount of damage is incomparable.
 
2H4
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:54 pm



Quoting Pyrex (Reply 8):
If we let NO disappear we will have failed as a human race.

I disagree. If we let NO disappear and move the present residents to a safer and more suitable location, we have evolved as a human race!

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
baroque
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:02 pm



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 28):
If we let NO disappear and move the present residents to a safer and more suitable location, we have evolved as a human race!

Question is though, will logic (and engineering) prevail?
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:29 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 29):
Quoting 2H4 (Reply 28):
If we let NO disappear and move the present residents to a safer and more suitable location, we have evolved as a human race!

Question is though, will logic (and engineering) prevail?

On the other hand, will we get rid of the Netherlands and Northern German plain due to floods, Japan, the Philippines, Alaska and California due to earthquakes, Rome and Naples due to vulcanoes etc.? Will we opt for the minimum risk option?

In the case of NO, I'd suggest to take the damage caused by Katrina as a scale (e.g. note how high the water levels were rising and build the new defenses 5 feet higher) and invest once into proper civil engineering, instead of either keeping on rebuilding the cityafter each hurricane or giving up.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
lowrider
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:45 pm



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 30):
In the case of NO, I'd suggest to take the damage caused by Katrina as a scale (e.g. note how high the water levels were rising and build the new defenses 5 feet higher) and invest once into proper civil engineering, instead of either keeping on rebuilding the cityafter each hurricane or giving up.

To what end? Will that be cheaper than simply building on higher ground? If a sizable percentage of Louisiana was below sea level, then we would have a more compelling reason to invest in this technology. Why expend billions to accomplish something that can be done for less a few miles away?

New construction in Florida has to meet certain standards for hurricanes. New construction in California and other earthquake prone zones has to meet standard to make them resistant to smaller earthquakes. What will be the standard for new buildings below sea level? That they float? Be submersible and water tight? We made a mistake after Katrina. Are we required to keep compounding it?
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Revelation
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:09 pm

Some interesting discussion here.

I value the European's perspectives. One interesting thing to me is that because the North Sea winter storms are pretty regular occurrences, so everyone can see the value of maintaining defenses. With Gulf hurricanes, they are so darn unpredicatable. Here it is one day away from a major storm, and we seem to have a band of 100 miles or so where the storm can hit, and it makes a huge difference as to where it hits.

As said above, hurricane defenses are a zero tolerance project, and the scope of the project is huge, but I really wonder why we can't come up with a plan that works. We didn't seem to have a huge deal with coming up with $17B for Boston's Big Dig project over a decade or so, not to mention $180B a year for Iraq/Afganistan, and we shouldn't have a problem coming up with a coherent set of defenses for New Orleans.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:19 pm



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 31):
What will be the standard for new buildings below sea level? That they float? Be submersible and water tight? We made a mistake after Katrina. Are we required to keep compounding it?

Make sure that the area doesn't get flooded again? E.g. by building levees, which would withstand Katrina (which is a rather rare event), dedicating uninhabited lower areas as intentionally floodable reservoirs for rainwater to store the rainwater until the pumping station can dump it into the sea, building houses out of more solid materials than wooden boards (concrete / bricks), with the living areas in the top floors, with roofs, which can't be blown away (like in Florida)?

The construction minima we have in Germany for dikes etc. are not just guessed. After the disaster of 1962, experts had a look at century old records to see how high the water would come in rare cases. They set up computer simulations to adapt for changed coast lines.
The idea they came up with was to design for a flood level and storm, which would statistically only occur once a century.
The Dutch did the same after their disaster in 1953.
So far these calculations have worked.
There are many places in the world, sited below or just above sea level, in regions visited by tropical cyclones. Unfortunately most of them are too poor the build defenses (like Bangladesh or Burma), and the low regions are important agrarian land or contain important coastal towns.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
lowrider
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:57 pm



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 33):
The construction minima we have in Germany for dikes etc. are not just guessed.

I am sure they are well planned and built to a high level of quality. It is not a question of if New Orleans can be kept dry, but rather should it. I am looking at it from a cost/benefit perspective. Since available space is not a constraining factor, do we keep trying dry out more land at an exorbitant expense, so simply do what humans have done for centuries before when floods came; move to higher ground. Allow these low lying areas to act as buffers against future storms. Some day, years from now, if we run out of room and need to reclaim the land, I am sure the technology will be no worse and we will be no less able to do so.
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DfwRevolution
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:52 am



Quoting AAFLT1871 (Reply 25):
Do we rebuild California after each earthquake or do we give up on them. What about the midwest and tornado alley,

Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. There are hundreds of examples in history of human groups leaving a place after natural disaster and not returning.

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 8):
Well, Amsterdam seems to be able to do it, I don't see why NO shouldn't be. If we let NO disappear we will have failed as a human race. Do you really wan't to see New Orleans join the ranks of cities like Pompeii?

1. Amsterdam doesn't lie in the path of tropical cyclones.

2. WTH? Beating nature defines the human race? By that metric, the human race would be a failure if we never traveled faster than the speed of light.

3. Why not?

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 19):

What about building proper defenses?

What about spending taxpayer money responsibly? When spending the kind of money that it would take to defend NOLA properly, we should be objective not sentimental.
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Dreadnought
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:22 am

I would add this comment about those who compare NO to Amsterdam.

Apart from the fact that the North Sea - if sometimes violent, does not compare to a Class 3-5 hurricane, If Holland were to abandon their low-lying areas, it would cost them half their country. The U.S. does not have this problem - we have plenty of room.
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:00 am



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 33):
Quoting Lowrider (Reply 31):
What will be the standard for new buildings below sea level? That they float? Be submersible and water tight? We made a mistake after Katrina. Are we required to keep compounding it?

Make sure that the area doesn't get flooded again? E.g. by building levees, which would withstand Katrina (which is a rather rare event), dedicating uninhabited lower areas as intentionally floodable reservoirs for rainwater to store the rainwater until the pumping station can dump it into the sea, building houses out of more solid materials than wooden boards (concrete / bricks), with the living areas in the top floors, with roofs, which can't be blown away (like in Florida)?

The construction minima we have in Germany for dikes etc. are not just guessed. After the disaster of 1962, experts had a look at century old records to see how high the water would come in rare cases. They set up computer simulations to adapt for changed coast lines.

It is unfortunate that you seem to reflect on the quality of engineering expertise available in the US. It is first class. What is a bit more obscure is how federal recommendations will be implemented at state level.

The situation of NO is entirely different. It is not so much the storms, which may be more severe in top wind strength but probably not in surge height or wave intensity, but the setting which is different.

The coast of Holland is accretionary - that is sands and silts are being deposited along the coastline tending to build it out. The Miss delta is also accretionary OVERALL, but near NO it is in an erosional phase. This is partly due to the existing engineering works.

Then there is the long term aspect. NO is atop a pile of about 1.5 kms of compacting sediments, and IIRC, the typically thickness in Holland is less than 300 m. (Below about 1.5 kms, most compaction is essentially complete.) The most rapidly compacting rock type is peat, and luckily both sections have only thin peats. After that it is the claystones and there are probably more claystones in the NO section than in most sections in Holland.

This translates to the amount NO will subside being much greater than for most or all of Holland. Even Holland may come to a point where some areas have to be abandoned. That certainly happened with part of Walcheren after 1953.
 
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:53 pm



Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
You can't just decide that everyone there needs to fend for themselves.

Of course they can! They're Republicans! Big grin

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 36):
Apart from the fact that the North Sea - if sometimes violent, does not compare to a Class 3-5 hurricane,

"Sometimes violent..."
Dreadnought, the North Sea storms can be extreme, and when they are, the Netherlands WILL flood, except for the fact that they have done great engineering to prevent it.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 36):
If Holland were to abandon their low-lying areas, it would cost them half their country.

If Louisiana was to abandon New Orleans, it would cost them most of their income.

Also, you seem to completely ignore the reason why New Orleans is where it is: do you realize New Orleans' importance as a port? Being at the mouth of the Mississippi, New Orleans is the site where ocean-going vessels can transfer to river-going vessels that cleanly serve two-thirds of this country by water. New Orleans is extremely important to our nation's economy. (Compare and contrast to San Francisco, which is built on a major fault zone that we KNOW will eventually lead to a devastating earthquake that could easily cause a trillion dollars of damage, and has no good reason for being where it is, other than the fact that it is pretty.)


And you seem to be under the mistaken belief that New Orleans is below sea level as a whole. That is not true: only a portion of it is, and most of that area is still uninhabited from Katrina's destruction.

So all this talk about not rebuilding is short-sighted at best.
 
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RE: If New Orleans Gets Flooded Again

Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:52 pm



What do you all think?

Btw, there's another video from levees.org with one guy saying "we have cat 2 protection". Good thing Gustav landed as a cat 2.

[Edited 2008-09-01 12:54:55]
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