The title of this post is a near exact quote from the May 2005 Popular Science article. I changed the quote slightly. They said ‘is’ instead of ‘was’. At this point in time I figure New Orleans doesn’t exist. More quotes from the article:
It takes Scott Kiser only a split second to name the one city in the U.S., and probably the world, that would sustain the most catastrophic damage from a category-5 hurricane. “New Orleans,” says Kiser, a tropical-cyclone program manager for the National Weather Service. “Because the city is below sea level—with the Mississippi River on one side and Lake Pontchartrain on the other—it is a hydrologic nightmare.” The worst problem, he explains, would be a storm surge, a phenomenon in which high winds stack up huge waves along a hurricane’s leading edge. In New Orleans, a big enough surge would quickly drown the entire city.
Today, parts of New Orleans lie up to 20 feet below sea level, and the city is sinking at a rate of about nine millimeters a year. “This makes New Orleans the most vulnerable major city to hurricanes,” says John Hall of the Army Corps of Engineers. “That’s because the water has to go down, not up, to reach it.”
New Orleans has nearly completed its Hurricane Protection Project, a $740-million plan led by Naomi to ring the city with levees that could shield residents from up to category-3 storm surges. Meanwhile, Winer and others at the Army Corps are considering a new levee system capable of holding back a surge from a category-5 hurricane like Ivan, which threatened the city last year.
The category-5 levee idea, though, is still in the early planning stages; it may be decades before the new barriers are completed. Until then, locals had better keep praying to Helios.
Katrina was a category 4/5 storm. I guess the locals didn’t do enough praying and else figure out how to get out of town permanently months or years ago. This wasn’t any big surprise to the locals or anyone with a room temperature I.Q. that had studied the problem for more than a few minutes.
Barb and I will be donating some money to the relief effort and if someone knows of a volunteer organization helping with the Katrina mess that wants a middle aged guy with heavy equipment, computer, firearms, explosives, and/or farm-boy type skills–let me know. I have some spare time on my hands right now.