The threat of flooding in brand-new Orleans native hurricanes had been known for a lengthy time. However, the was only after the catastrophic wreaked by Hurricane Katrina the a dependable flood manage system was emerged on the basis of a an extensive study.

You are watching: Could hurricane katrina have been prevented

A hurricane landfall top top the united state Gulf shore is not a rarely event. Professionals had long been conscious that a disaster might happen in new Orleans: even in moderately significant storms the an ar was at risk to flooding – with matching risks because that the civilization living there. Two years prior to the disaster, an post entitled "The rise Storm" showed up in the magazine civil Engineering, explicate in detail how a hurricane can cripple brand-new Orleans, and how together a disaster might be prevented. An emergency exercise had even been conducted using as its centrepiece a hypothetical hurricane, Pam – a storm roughly equal to Katrina in intensity. Through a comparatively brief return period of 50 years, new Orleans was among the regions in which damaging flooding had to it is in expected. Neither American society in basic nor the local population was particularly concerned the no hurricane protection system had actually been completed for the city because of lack of funds. In any kind of case, together an evaluation conducted by the Interagency Performance evaluation Task pressure (IPET) collection up ~ Katrina showed, the was based upon outdated architecture criteria.

Katrina tracked across the open sea as a category 5 hurricane, the highest in the Saffir-Simpson scale used by the US national Hurricane Center. The size and wind ar were that of a monster storm. It developed a large wind set-up in the water level long before it got to land. The water level climbed by as much as 7 metres follow me the eastern side of new Orleans and up come 9 metres follow me the shore of Mississippi. It to be the largest storm surge ever recorded in north America. A 200-km large of shore was devastated by solid winds and flooding. In brand-new Orleans, it to be the flooding rather than the wind that resulted in the most damage. The city, which is virtually surrounded by water, was not equipped with enough flood defense to cope through the high rise level. The device failed, and also dykes and also flood walls eastern of new Orleans and also along the countless canals leading right into the city were breached at much more than 50 locations. The "bathtub" in which brand-new Orleans is located was filled and also remained flooded because that over a month.

The storm rise was not the only reason of the catastrophe. Components of the protection device failed; some were also low, while others to be either poorly designed, maintained or constructed. As a result, the water to be able to pass through to the city mainly unhindered. But it was the failure of organisational structures that magnified the event into a serious catastrophe. The IPET was created in October 2005 in an initiative to understand what had actually gone wrong during Katrina and why. The aim of the scientists and also engineers native various establishments was come analyse and assess the plot of the system during Katrina and to implement result from this for the repair and also reconstruction of the storm rise protection device in and around new Orleans.

© Munich Re, based upon IPET 2009
Relative property loss for various return durations of flooding at 50% pumping volume in 2005 pre-Katrina conditions with the Hurricane Protection device (HPS) contrasted to today's situation with the Hurricane and Storm damage Risk Reduction device (HSDRRS) in place. Coloured locations reflect the various drainage containers within the city.

The IPET report compares the flood risk for new Orleans prior to Katrina v the risk following completion (in 2011) the the brand-new Hurricane and Storm damage Risk Reduction mechanism (HSDRRS). The IPET team analysed the full variety of possible hurricanes. The resultant water levels in various areas (storm surging heights to add waves) were applied to the device so the its performance can be studied. This also permitted the reliability of the device to it is in assessed based upon different architecture assumptions, and the team could additionally estimate what areas would be submarine to what depth at various levels that probability. Native the 152 hypothetical hurricanes offered for deriving the peril distribution, 76 were chosen to define surge and wave conditions for the actual danger analysis.

See more: What Does Yolanda Mean In Spanish, What Does Yolanda Mean

The Hurricane and Storm damage Risk Reduction system (HSDRRS) the has remained in place because 2011 to reduce vulnerability come flooding for many of the brand-new Orleans region. Three certain measures:

Higher and an ext resistant levees and also flood walls were built throughout the region.Emergency pumps and canal closures were installed at the end of the outfall canals.The pumps were designed to considerably reduce flooding heights in 100- and also 500-year events. In turn, this to reduce damage and the danger for the inhabitants.

While some areas could still experience far-ranging flooding and losses, the instance now to represent the best structural risk mitigation status new Orleans has ever had. Given comparable evacuation problems to those viewed in Katrina, the 2011 system is expected to mitigate potential loss of life by as much as 86% there is no pumping and up to 97% with 50% pumping for a 100-year flood event. It additionally markedly to reduce potential for loss the life native a 500-year event (98%). Provided the same residential or commercial property distribution and also values the existed before Katrina, it would reduce straight property damages by 90% for a 100-year flood event and by 75% for a 500-year event with 50% pumping, contrasted to the pre-Katrina situation without pumping. It is impossible to stop risk entirely, yet with further improvements come the equipment and additional technical and also non-technical measures, such as flood-proofing and emergency plans, it have the right to at the very least be minimised.