Saturday, September 10, 2005

"No One Foresaw the Breaching of the Levees.."

The "dumb" comment made by President Bush turns out to be fairly correct, after all. Pat at Brainster has a lengthy article about how previous disaster workups in NO expected the levees to be overtopped, not breached. In this case, there is evidence that the levee was breached by a barge from Lake Pontchartrain ramming into it. The barge can now be seen on the cityside of the floodwall. And the breach in the levee is a little bit wider than the barge itself.

According to the Times Picayne of New Orleans:
A loose barge may have caused a large breach in the east side of the Industrial Canal floodwall that accelerated Hurricane Katrina's rising floodwaters in the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish, Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi said Monday.

Naomi said the barge was found on the land side of the floodwall, leading corps officials to believe it could have crashed through the wall and sent a huge amount of water - which was already pouring over the top of the wall - into the neighborhoods immediately downriver.

"We have some pictures that show this very large barge inside the protected area. It had to go through the breach," Naomi said. "The opening is a little bit wider than the barge itself. One would think it's the barge that did it."

If it did strike the floodwall, Naomi said, the barge would have "precipitated a tremendous collapse" that would have quickly flooded the Lower Ninth Ward and then St. Bernard Parish. The breach is "ultimately in my opinion what got (St. Bernard) Parish flooded," Naomi said.

There are two large breaks in the floodwall, said Ivor Van Heerden, deputy director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, who did an aerial survey of flood damage Sunday. The larger of the two, possibly caused by the barge, is about 800 feet long. The second is 500 feet.
[Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin]

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