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August 26, 2012

Hurricane Isaac creates worries across US gulf states

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

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Satellite file photo of Hurricane Katrina from 2005.

Hurricane Isaac is creating a swathe of concerns across many gulf states in the US, as it sweeps into Florida. As of 5:00pm EDT, Miami area winds were measuring at 60 miles per hour. Authorities indicated 5,180 homes across Broward county are without electricity. According to media sources, the governor of Louisiana anticipates giving evacuation orders as early as Monday morning.

Hurricane warnings have been issued in Florida, sweeping as far west as Louisiana. Louisiana’s Governor Jindal issued a state of emergency for the state on Sunday afternoon. 450 flights at Miami International Airport were canceled this weekend, in light of the storm’s arrival.

Ultimately, the storm could bring winds reaching as high as 110 mph, according to sources. The mayor of New Orleans told media that many residents there are nervous. The Gulf coast has not been struck by a hurricane since 2008.



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Some information contained in this article was obtained from television, radio, or live webcast sources. Reporter’s notes and the broadcast source details are available at the discussion page.

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October 23, 2005

FEMA official in New Orleans blasts agency\’s response

Filed under: New Orleans Disaster — admin @ 5:00 am

FEMA official in New Orleans blasts agency’s response

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

New Orleans Disaster

Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane Katrina causes upwards of $12bn of damage; oil prices surge
  • At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region
  • Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida, kills seven
  • Tropical Storm Katrina threatens Florida, Bahamas
Superdome refuge center

Superdome shelter.jpg

Other links
  • Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans
  • Hurricane Katrina

Marty Bahamonde, the only FEMA emplyee in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina, testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, contradicts former FEMA director Michael Brown’s testimony and says Brown ignored his pleas for help.

In an August 31 Blackberry email:

“Sir, I know you know that this situation is past critical. Here are some things you might not know. Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes” and “medical staff at the Dome expect to run out of oxygen in about 2 hours”

In an email from one of Brown’s aids: “Please schedule Joe Scarborough this evening… Also, it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner. Gievn[sic] that Baton Rouge is back to normal, restaurants are getting busy”

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September 23, 2005

Parts of New Orleans flood again

Parts of New Orleans flood again – Wikinews, the free news source

Parts of New Orleans flood again

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Rain and the storm surge from Hurricane Rita have overwhelmed one of the fragile levees in New Orleans. The Industrial Canal levee gave way, reflooding parts of the Ninth Ward. There are three significant breaches.

“Our worst fears came true,” said Maj. Barry Guidry of the Georgia National Guard.

“We have three significant breaches in the levee and the water is rising rapidly,” he said. “At daybreak I found substantial breaks and they’ve grown larger.”

The U.S. Corps of Engineers estimated that 6 inches of rainfall could breach the previously damaged levees. The Ninth Ward, which saw flooding as high as 20 feet during Hurricane Katrina, is currently in waist-high water as the nearby levee was overtopped. Water is spilling over the levee in a section 100 feet wide.

The Gentilly neighborhood has water accumulations of 6 to 8 inches deep as the patched London Avenue Canal has sprung leaks near its base.

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September 17, 2005

Navy helping New Orleans pets

Navy helping New Orleans pets – Wikinews, the free news source

Navy helping New Orleans pets

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Spanish word “tortuga” means “turtle.” But in the wake of the New Orleans disaster, the USS Tortuga is helping other animals.

For nearly two weeks now, sailors from Tortuga’s repair division have devoted much of their time during this disaster relief operation to ensure the health and comfort of displaced pets.

September 4th, just after the ship moored to a pier at Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans, HT1(SW) Mark Hanley and DC1(SW) Antony Graves gathered materials from the repair shop on board to construct a kennel along the levee. The facility they made soon became a popular shelter for the homeless animals of the storm.

Tortuga’s search and rescue team brought aboard more than 170 displaced citizens during this past week, providing them with food, water, medical aid and a place to sleep.

Residents and visitor.

Tortuga’s makeshift kennel, named ‘Camp Milo & Otis,’ has housed as many as 90 dogs, eight cats, one rabbit, one guinea pig, a pair of parakeets and a flightless pigeon during the past week of operation.

Currently, there are 14 dogs that remain in Tortuga’s care, as many of the other pets have been taken to animal shelters in the area for extra medical attention, or been claimed by their owners upon arrival to Tortuga. The pets that Tortuga has registered have all been in the hands of professional veterinarians assigned to provide expert medical attention to the members of Camp Milo & Otis.

Dr. Kelly Crowdis and Dr. Latina Gambles, both from Tuskegee University and Christian Veterinary Missions, have treated many of the pets for infection, dehydration, malnourishment and broken bones at the Camp during the past week.

“The animals were bathed and assessed before physical interaction with the sailors,” said Dr. Crowdis. “They’ve been given immunizations, antibiotics and medications based on their medical needs.”

Dr. Crowdis added, “What these sailors have done on their own has been such a heart-warming thing. As an animal lover, it is so comforting to know that everyone cares about the animals in addition to the human lives rescued from the storm. I’m very pleased with these guys for taking the initiative to construct this kennel.”

Graves, Hanley and other members of their division have consistently bathed, fed, walked and given special attention to every dog, every day.

“We play with them,” said Hanley. “We take them out of their kennels to give them attention every day. And we’ll continue to do that for as long as our ship’s mission keeps us here.”

USS Tortuga at New Orleans.

September 11th, the Agricultural Center at Louisiana State University donated supplies to “Camp Milo & Otis” in support of Tortuga’s efforts to help the animal victims.

”We got medical supplies, bowls, food, cages, leashes, collars, toys, cat litter and cleaning supplies from these people yesterday,” said Graves. “It’s nice to know that so many people out there have heard about what our ship is doing, and responded by donating so much to support us the best they can.”

A photo gallery of unclaimed pets is on the USS Tortuga’s web site.

As part of disaster plans, the Department of Homeland Security has also deployed Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams to provide medical care to pets and livestock, as well as provide any needed veterinary medical care for search and rescue dogs.

There are over 3,850 animals being sheltered around the state. If someone is looking for a pet they should contact their nearest Humane Society or go online to http://www.petfinder.org// . More information is also available at http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu//.

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September 16, 2005

Bush calls for expanding Federal authority

Bush calls for expanding Federal authority

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Friday, September 16, 2005

States “rights” battle unfolding.

In an address to the nation on Thursday, President Bush laid out a sweeping set of initiatives to aid the rebuilding effort of the gulf region and called for an investigation into what went wrong in the disaster and how better to respond in the future.

Following a list of economic stimulus programs designed to aid small businesses and individuals, the president called for something sure to draw fierce debate, a broadening of Federal power to declare martial law.

“It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces – the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment’s notice.”

Bush addressing the nation from New Orleans Sept. 15, 2005 immediately after calling for expanded authority to declare martial law

This follows on the heels of the Bush administration’s failed effort to have Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco sign documents allowing Bush to invoke the Insurrection Act during the height of the crisis in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Current law prevents regular military troops from law enforcement except in the case of insurrection against the state if that state has lost the ability to maintain order. Loosening of this restriction, and whatever else is contemplated in the president’s statement, would mean a fundamental shift in the current balance of power between the Federal and State governments.

Additional Information

Remarks on the Senate Floor Sept. 13th, 2005 by Senator John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee: (excerpt)

“Mr. President, as we face an uncertain future as it relates to terrorism and the use of weapons of mass destruction, I have some thoughts with regard to this law which was passed in 1878 which restricts in certain ways–and the predicate for doing so is wise–men and women of the Armed Forces–that is, a permanent U.S. military as opposed to National Guard–in matters relating to law enforcement.
Traditionally, that has always been left to the local authorities, and that is the way it should be. But sometimes there may be one–I will have to examine the facts–that becomes so overwhelming or so incapacitated by a natural disaster, or perhaps a terrorist attack, that the Armed Forces may have to perform some of those duties. We want to make sure the President has that capability.
Also, there are other permanent laws on the books called the Insurrection Statutes. At a very minimum, I would like to see the name changed that we put on this for reasons quite different than the threats and challenges that face this Nation today. But that statute also might be reviewed, along with the Posse Comitatus Act, to see whether other permanent pieces of law should be modified to meet the contingencies we face here in the future.”

Related news

  • “Were New Orleanians caught in political crossfire?” — Wikinews, September 15, 2005
  • “DeLay declares ‘victory’ in war on U.S. budget fat” — Wikinews, September 19, 2005

Sources

  • Transcript” — Newswire, September 15, 2005
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September 12, 2005

FEMA accused of misusing trained disaster workers as public-relations workers

Filed under: New Orleans Disaster — admin @ 5:00 am

FEMA accused of misusing trained disaster workers as public-relations workers

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Monday, September 12, 2005

New Orleans Disaster

Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane Katrina causes upwards of $12bn of damage; oil prices surge
  • At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region
  • Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida, kills seven
  • Tropical Storm Katrina threatens Florida, Bahamas
Superdome refuge center

Superdome shelter.jpg

Other links
  • Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans
  • Hurricane Katrina

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is being criticized for misallocation of personnel in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA representatives said they requested volunteers from fire departments around the U.S., to handle its community relations campaign. However, a document FEMA sent to local fire departments asked for firefighters with very specific skills and who were capable of working in “austere conditions”. Fire departments around the nation responded by sending crews to the FEMA staging ground in Atlanta. Some of these crews were unaware that they were only going to be used for public relations work. Others, however, merely hoped that FEMA would allocate them to rescue and damage control operations once it saw their qualifications.

The firefighter’s objections are particularly poignant as one of FEMA public relations training seminars coincided with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin plea for firefighters on national television, to relieve his own exhausted crews. It is unclear if FEMA’s request for firefighters prevented any municipalities from responding to Mayor Nagin’s request.

Some firefighters have objected to their use as FEMA public relations officers because their municipalities must bear the cost of their salaries, as well as endure reduced firefighting capacity. FEMA has stated that it sought to use firefighters to avoid background checks required of federal employees.

Firefighters began receiving their assignments Monday, September 5th. Among these was a crew of 50 assigned to tour the devastated areas with President Bush and the press.

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September 10, 2005

Red Cross is not in New Orleans for Katrina, Guard raced it to Superdome

Filed under: New Orleans Disaster — admin @ 5:00 am

Red Cross is not in New Orleans for Katrina, Guard raced it to Superdome

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

New Orleans Disaster

Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane Katrina causes upwards of $12bn of damage; oil prices surge
  • At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region
  • Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida, kills seven
  • Tropical Storm Katrina threatens Florida, Bahamas
Superdome refuge center

Superdome shelter.jpg

Other links
  • Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans
  • Hurricane Katrina

The American Red Cross is not lending its usual assistance in New Orleans, because the Louisiana National Guard acted first. After Saturday September 3, it was agreed with state officials the Red Cross was not needed because the large-scale evacuation of the city was under way.

The organization explains on its web site:

  • Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.
  • The state Homeland Security Department had requested–and continues to request–that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.
  • The Red Cross does not conduct search and rescue operations. We are an organization of civilian volunteers and cannot get relief aid into any location until the local authorities say it is safe and provide us with security and access.
  • The original plan was to evacuate all the residents of New Orleans to safe places outside the city. With the hurricane bearing down, the city government decided to open a shelter of last resort in the Superdome downtown. We applaud this decision and believe it saved a significant number of lives.

On September 1, the Red Cross offered to Louisiana state officials to enter New Orleans, who rejected the offer due to logistical difficulties. Making the offer the next day to Col. Jay Mayeaux, the deputy director of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Red Cross was asked to wait 24 hours while preparations were made. By the next day, Saturday September 3rd, the National Guard had arrived in the city, felt they had adequate supplies and did not need the Red Cross.

Superdome: refuge of last resort

Superdome roof, 2 days after Katrina struck

The American Red Cross is often involved in emergency situations, and the term applied to the Superdome, “refuge of last resort”, is based on Red Cross shelter standards. It is the minimal type of shelter, defined primarily by not meeting shelter standards:

  1. May or may not meet any of the ARC criteria for a shelter and has not been approved for use as a shelter by the ARC.
  2. May be located either inside or outside of the Hurricane Risk Area.
  3. Physical features required:
    Located outside of the flood zone or ability to locate on floors elevated above flood potential area and hurricane wind resistant structure.

Ticking clock

Despite the Superdome being a minimal shelter, it was reported there were 26,000 people there. As the Times-Picayune reported on Sunday, August 28, Col. Mayeaux was involved in preparations:

“To help keep them fed and hydrated, the Louisiana National Guard delivered three truckloads of water and seven truckloads of MREs — short for “meals ready to eat.” That’s enough to supply 15,000 people for three days, according to Col. Jay Mayeaux, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Preparedness.”

The National Guard delivered enough food for 15,000 people for 3 days, to a place which may have had 26,000 people. Four days later, National Guardsmen accompanied by buses (475 in all) and supply trucks arrived at the Superdome on September 1.

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Celebrities contribute to Katrina relief

Celebrities contribute to Katrina relief

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Published:Wednesday, September 7, 2005Updated:Saturday, September 10, 2005 (Travolta, Preston, Moore, Stones, Three Doors Down, Johnson, Smith)

After Hurricane Katrina passed across the United States, various artists and media stars have leapt at a call to action.

John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston flew his private plane to deliver a load of supplies and tetanus vaccine to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Part of a Scientology project which has been using their non-massage “assists”, in an interview Preston mentioned that “auditing” had also been performed on victims.

Kevin Smith is holding an online auction on his Web site.

Sean Penn actually went to Louisiana. After loading down a small boat with his entourage, it was discovered one of them had neglected to seal a hole in the bottom. Penn was wearing a white vest rather than a life vest while bailing. After the motor wouldn’t start, the crew paddled down a flooded New Orleans street. Bystanders jeered at whether any victims could fit aboard the crowded craft. No report on rescue stunts. Local authorities had previously been criticized for not allowing volunteer boaters in to help.

Morgan Freeman, whose home fared well, is organizing an online auction of celebrity items at charityfolks.com, to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Curt Schilling opened his home to a family of nine driven out of their New Orleans home. The Schilling family will provide housing for the Fields for a year while their home in New Orleans is rebuilt and repaired.

Some celebrities “graced” disaster zones with their presence in the days following Katrina.

Singer Macy Gray and television personality Phil McGraw visited Houston’s Astrodome.

Celebrities visiting New Orleans include Michael Moore (opposite side of lake), singer Harry Connick, Jr., CNN’s Anderson Cooper, actor Jamie Foxx, singer Faith Hill, actor Matthew McConaughey, singer Lisa Marie Presley, comedian Chris Rock, and The Oprah Winfrey Show contributor Lisa Ling and interior decorator Nate Berkus.

Oprah Winfrey visited New Orleans, Houston, and Mississippi.

Donations with press releases

Personality Contributions Beneficiary
Jerry Lewis Half of Monday telethon Salvation Army
Shelter From the Storm (US TV networks) Friday telethon  
BET Relief Telethon Friday BET telethon National Urban League and the American Red Cross
MTV ReAct Now Saturday MTV telethon several
Dave Matthews Band Sept 12 concert
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
 
Grand Ole Opry Country Reaches Out Sept 27 telethon  
Serena Williams $100 for every ace she hits on the tennis court  
Jay Leno celebrity motorcycle auction  
Barry Manilow matching contributions
manilowfund.com
Red Cross
David Banner Sept. 17 benefit concert in Atlanta  
 
Lance Armstrong $500,000 Affected cancer survivors.
Nicolas Cage $1 million Red Cross
George Clooney $1 million United Way
Ellen DeGeneres $500,000 + donations  
Celine Dion $1 million Red Cross
Hilary Duff $250,000 Red Cross & USA Harvest
Michael Jackson charity single  
Jay-Z and Diddy $1 million Red Cross
Magic Johnson jobs  
Ludacris $100,000  
The Rolling Stones $1 million Red Cross
Steven Spielberg $1.5 million American Red Cross and Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund
Three Doors Down $300,000 Better Life Foundation

Celebrities in the storm

Singer Fats Domino was missing during the New Orleans flood but has since reached safety.

Celebrities out of the storm

New Orleans residents who were out of town during the Hurricane included:

  • Juvenile, who left New Orleans before the storm.
  • Dave Pirner, who was visiting his Minneapolis hometown.
  • Master P, whose family members are missing.
  • The Neville Brothers have relocated to Round Rock, Texas.

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September 9, 2005

New Orleans officials confiscating guns

Filed under: New Orleans Disaster — admin @ 5:00 am

New Orleans officials confiscating guns – Wikinews, the free news source

New Orleans officials confiscating guns

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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New Orleans Disaster

Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane Katrina causes upwards of $12bn of damage; oil prices surge
  • At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region
  • Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida, kills seven
  • Tropical Storm Katrina threatens Florida, Bahamas
Superdome refuge center

Superdome shelter.jpg

Other links
  • Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans
  • Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina’s aftereffects are perhaps worse than the storm itself.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Law enforcement authorities in New Orleans are confiscating firearms, sources in the city say. The confiscations come after a wave of gun violence swept over the flood-ravaged city, with looters shooting at other refugees, police and military authorties, rescuers, and even hospital personnel.

“Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons,” said police superintendent P. Edwin Compass III. And although this is being enforced, private guards with permits are being allowed to keep their firearms.

Blogger Michael Barnett, who is manning a New Orleans datacenter, said he would turn in his weapons if authorities came for them. “I’m not gonna die on the 10th floor of this building to enforce my right to keep and bear arms.”

Sources

  • Michael Barnett. “Untitled entry” — LiveJournal, September 8, 2005
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How the Army Corps of Engineers closed one New Orleans breach

Filed under: New Orleans Disaster — admin @ 5:00 am

How the Army Corps of Engineers closed one New Orleans breach

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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New Orleans Disaster

Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane Katrina causes upwards of $12bn of damage; oil prices surge
  • At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region
  • Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida, kills seven
  • Tropical Storm Katrina threatens Florida, Bahamas
Superdome refuge center

Superdome shelter.jpg

Other links
  • Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans
  • Hurricane Katrina

Friday, September 9, 2005

New Orleans, Louisiana — After Category 4 storm Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, on the night before August 29, 2005, several flood control constructions failed. Much of the city flooded through the openings. One of these was the flood wall forming one side of the 17th Street Canal, near Lake Pontchartrain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the primary agency for engineering support during such emergencies. A USACE team was assessing the situation in New Orleans on the 29th, water flow was stopped September 2nd, and the breach was closed on September 5th.

Background

The breaches that occurred on the levees surrounding New Orleans were located on the 17th Street Canal Levee and London Avenue Canal Levee. The floodwall atop the canal levee was one foot wide at the top and widened to two feet at the base. The visible portion is a concrete cap on steel sheet pile that anchors to the wall. Sheet piles are interlocked steel columns, in this case at least 30 feet long, with 6 to 10 feet visible above ground.

Another breach was on a levee by Industrial Canal, which flooded the east side of the city during the storm.

The 17th Street Canal Levees and London Avenue Canal Levees were completed segments of the Lake Ponchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project. Although other portions of the Lake Ponchartrain project are pending, these two segments were complete, and no modifications or improvements to these segments were pending, proposed, or remained unfunded.

The Corps was authorized by Congress to do a reconnaissance study back in 1999 to provide Category 4 or 5 protection. Money was received in 2000 and the reconnaissance study was completed in 2002, which indicated there was a federal interest in proceeding with the feasibility study. Preparation for that study is still underway, and involves issues such as environmental impacts, economics, and the engineering design of the project itself. The feasibility study was scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2006. It may take six years to complete, and there was nothing that could have been done to get this level of protection in place before this storm hit.

Within the city there are 13 subbasins, some of which became flooded. There are existing pumping stations to remove water from the basins. Usually there is much less water to remove, and the level became too high for some pumping stations to continue operation.

August 27: Before the storm

One of the services of the USACE is planning, designing, building and operating dams and other civil engineering projects. It has been deeply involved in creating the navigation waterways and flood control constructions around New Orleans, although construction and operation involves various levels of state and local involvement. The Corps is well suited toward emergency activities due to its combination of engineering expertise and being a component of the nation’s military forces. Assigned by the Department of Defense as the primary agency for Public Works and Engineering support, USACE supports FEMA during disasters.

On Saturday, August 27, while Katrina was a Category 3 storm gathering strength in the Gulf of Mexico, USACE’s Mississippi Valley Division was preparing and posturing elements from as far as Hawaii. Anticipating the possibility of a Category 5 storm placing water in New Orleans, preparations began for un-watering operations.

August 29: Day of the storm

Strength of Katrina’s winds. (NOAA)

August 29 6:10AM CDT – Katrina makes second landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana as a Category 4 Hurricane. A change in course made the center of the storm pass slightly east of New Orleans.

USACE District Engineer, Col. Richard Wagenaar, and a team worked out of an emergency operations shelter in New Orleans. Other teams waited in the storm’s path across the Gulf coast. Corps employees assessed the situation at the 17th Street Canal floodwall that was breached overnight. Corps engineers believed that water over-topped the floodwall, scoured behind the wall, and caused it to collapse. A second breach was known to have occurred on the Industrial Canal during the storm.

Population affected in all states: 637,994. (FEMA)

The Corps worked with the U.S. Coast Guard, Army National Guard and other state and federal authorities to bring in all assets available to expedite the process. “We’re attempting to contract for materials, such as rock, super sand bags, cranes, etc., and also for modes of transportation ­ like barges and helicopters, to close the gap and stop the flow of water from Lake Pontchartrain into the city,” said Walter Baumy, Engineering Division chief and project manager for closing the breach.

Planning for repairs involved the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the East Jefferson Levee District and Orleans Levee District, to locate materials and access to the breach area.

The New Orleans District’s 350 miles of hurricane levee had been built to withstand a fast-moving Category 3 storm. The fact that Katrina, a category 4-plus hurricane, didn’t cause more damage is considered a testament to the structural integrity of the hurricane levee protection system.

August 30: Flood

Breach in 17th Street Canal floodwall in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 31, 2005. (NOAA)

Wind and other storm damage had already stopped the city. Many power lines were down and the remains of trees and buildings blocked streets.

At 2 or 3 AM, Corps officials got a telephone report of a suspected 17th Street Canal breach.

Flooding had begun slowly, but the second disaster appeared as water poured in even as the winds abated. Storm surge and rainfall had raised the level of Lake Pontchartrain, providing an enormous amount of water which poured into the city. By the end of the day much of the city was under as much as 20 feet of water.

As USACE workers working with FEMA begin work on city cleanup and civil engineering tasks, several boats survey the flooded and blocked waterways around the city. Corps of Engineers motor vessels are delivering barges with cranes and excavating equipment and critical recovery materials.

Plans were made to begin levee work, including use of 3,000-pound sand bags on the 17 Street Canal. Army National Guard helicopters are expected to begin assisting in the operation August 31.

Lake Pontchartrain is slowly draining and it is forecast the lake should return to normal level in about 36 hours.

August 31: Recovery begins

The Corps delivered two 5,000 cubic feet per second pumps to the Louisiana Superdome, and deployed 15 boats to assist in search and rescue.

The breach at the 17th Street Canal Levee, a levee-floodwall combination, is about 300 feet long. It’s believed that the force of the water overtopped the floodwall and scoured the structure from behind and then moved the levee wall horizontally about 20 feet, opening both ends to flow.

State Transportation workers began building a road toward the breach with available equipment.

The Corps released two contracts to close the breach in the 17th Street Canal. The 3,000 pound sandbag operation at the 17th Street Canal was postponed early in the day when U.S. Army Chinook helicopters were diverted for rescue missions. The Corps continued to coordinate with Army officials to have helicopters assist in placement of sandbags at the breaches. The 3,000 pound sandbags are each about 3 feet square.

Water began flowing slowly out of New Orleans as Lake Pontchartrain returned almost back to normal levels.

Corps officials worked with Orleans Parish and Louisiana Department of Transportation officials and Boh Brothers Construction Company, headquartered in New Orleans, to place piling at the lakefront to stop flow in the 17th Street Canal. This would stabilize the water flow and allow work on the levee, while also helping to stabilize the rest of the levee system.

Along with local and state officials, the Corps contracted to build access roads to the breach sites and to fill in the breaches. Rock/stone/crushed concrete would be hauled by truck for road construction and to repair the breaches. One plan called for building an access road from Hammond Highway to the 17th Street breach, and then southward to the end of the breach. The road would have to be built to safely permit backing and dumping of heavy materials.

September 1: Construction

Flexifloat barge delivers 15,000 pound sand bags to plug a breach in the 17th Street Canal. (USACE)

Lake Pontchartrain was almost back to normal levels, so little water flowed out of the city. This allows a change of plans, and marine equipment was used to drive sheet piling at the mouth of the 17th Street Canal to seal off the entire canal from the lake.

Shortly after 1 PM the first piece sheet piling is driven, to form a steel wall across the lake’s entrance to the 17th Street canal. The opening was expected to be closed by the end of the day. A contractor began bringing in rock to build a road toward the breach. The breach was south and east of the Hammond Highway bridge over the canal, with dry land on the west side of the bridge.

Rock was being transported from offsite to complete the access road and closure at the 17th Street breach. Once the rock required to build the roads arrived in New Orleans and the access road to the breach has been completed, the Corps estimated closure of the breach could be completed in three to four days. Several private firms have volunteered services and provided assistance in design of the closure.

Similar work was planned for sealing a 300-foot London Avenue breach, although in that case materials would come from demolition of Lakeshore Drive. Five 42-inch pumps were ordered, with delivery expected within three days.

The 17th Street Canal Levee, a levee-floodwall combination, was now estimated to have a breach 450 feet long. It was still believed water overtopped the floodwall, scoured the structure, and then moved the structure 20 feet horizontally.

Corps work continued on nearby waterways, including several locks which were closed. Use of some locks requires raising bridges. The Industrial Canal Lock needed repair, and its lockmaster raised St. Claude Avenue bridge, but lowered it because of hostility from civilians wanting to cross on both sides.

September 2: Water flow stopped

Texas Army National Guard Blackhawk deposits a 6,000 pound bag of sand and gravel on September 4. (USACE)

To allow drainage, backhoes mounted on marsh buggies and draglines mounted on barges cut breaches in some other levees. Marsh buggies are tracked vehicles whose wide tracks enable them to operate in soft, marshy terrain.

On east side of the 17th Street Canal, closure by sheet piling of the 200-foot-wide canal was done after the Corps was confident that the lake had fallen to a normal level and water was not trapped inside the city that would otherwise drain out by gravity.

Water could no longer flow from the lake into the city.

With the mouth of the canal sealed, the sheet piling prevented lake water from getting to the levee breach. Since no additional water can get through the breach it was no longer necessary to seal the breach itself. The next step is to get existing pumps working, and to bring in additional pumps to drain the surrounding city and the canal. Later, the canal can be drained so permanent repairs will be made to the levee.

Helicopters were dropping large sandbags made of strong, synthetic materials in the breach. Heavy equipment on the ground has been placing rock. Ground access was created by building a rock road from Hammond Highway, which is about 700 feet lake-ward of the breach. The 17th Street Canal is a drainage canal whose dimensions and an important bridge, integral to the flood control system, would not permit entry of barges and towboats to haul rocks and placement cranes.

A pump station was pumping out about 5,000 cubic feet per second at the Industrial Canal. One pump was working in New Orleans East. Removing water will take 36 and 80 days according to Brig. Gen. Robert Crear.
President Bush visits the 17th Street Canal site.

September 3

The first of the five pumps was delivered. Four more pumps have been loaned to the Corps by St. Charles Parish.
Senator Landrieu overflies the area in the morning, reports seeing “a single, lonely piece of equipment.”

September 4: Almost done

The 17th Street Canal stretches southward between Jefferson and Orleans Parishes in this aerial photo taken Sunday, September 4. (USACE)

Work continued on the breach. The sheet piling still blocks water from flowing in.

September 5: Breach closed

17th Street Canal breach was closed. After the emergency is over, the canal will be drained and the wall repaired.

Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters had dropped over 200 sand bags. Approximately 125 sandbags had broken the surface of the water.

There were three 42″ mobile pumps staged and two 42″ and two 30″ pumps were placed at the sheet pile closure. Sewer & water board, electric utility and 249th Prime Power Engineer Battalion were completing pump house inspection.

When pumps began operation, a 40-foot-wide opening was made in the sheet piling to allow water to flow out the canal.

September 6: Pumping and moving on

The pump stations began to get online on 17th Street Canal. Pump Station 10 was actually pumping at this point. Pump Station 6 was interrupted to clean up some debris out of the area.

Pump Station 1, which is a little bit further up in the system, was pumping to Pump Station 6, so as to drain the upper area, uptown areas. Over on the east side, Pump Station 19 had been running for some time. Two of the three big pumping stations in New Orleans East were running, in addition to temporary pumps. At least one pump station was running in Plaquemines Parish.
A roadway was built, at the rate of 500 feet a day, from the 17th Street Canal work area to reach the London Avenue Canal breach. From the London Avenue west side breach, the road was built to the second breach area at Mirabeau Road.
It was decided to use sheet pile closure to stop water flow at the London Avenue breach, similar to what was done at 17th Street Canal. A rock wall had initially been built there. The London Avenue canal will be drained so the breach can be repaired.
Approximately 100 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers workers were in New Orleans. Over 500 contracted workers were involved in repairs.
Storm surge was estimated at 20 feet; levee height was about 17 feet. Several small breaches caused by the storm had been found and were being closed. Draining the city was estimated to take anywhere from 24 to 80 days. Volunteers from as far as Germany and the Netherlands offered to assist with pumps and generators.

See also

Sources

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