The city’s new flood protection system was tested by the hurricane — and it passed.
Hurricane Isaac produced a 2-to-3-meter (6-to-10-foot) storm surge and dropped more than 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rain where it hit land near New Orleans last week. In an important post-Katrina test, the city’s new $US 14.5 billion system of beefed-up levees, flood gates, and pumps kept residents (relatively) dry. Hundreds of homes outside of the protected area faced flooding, however, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has called for an extension of the levee system.
In Alabama, we were barely tickled by the storm: a few days of heavy rain and a number of tornado warnings were the extent of my hurricane experience, for which I am grateful. (You can read about how my husband and I prepared before the storm here.) There were some flash-flood warnings in our area as well, but the lights stayed on and so did the water — two resources so readily available in the U.S. that it is easy to forget how quickly they can be taken away.
Unfortunately, much of the thirsty Midwest missed out on the hurricane, too. Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana received between five and 15 centimeters (two to six inches) of rain from the storm, easing the hold of one of the worst droughts in U.S. history, but Iowa and the Plains states are still parched, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. The area under “exceptional drought,” the highest level assigned by the Drought Monitor, expanded into northwest Iowa, southeast South Dakota, west and northeast Nebraska, and northwest Kansas.
If you want a behind-the-scenes account of how the Drought Monitor is created each week, read this story by my colleague Brett Walton. Also, take a look at Circle of Blue’s Hurricane Katrina coverage here, and Hurricane Irene coverage here.
How did you experience Hurricane Isaac? Let me know by emailing email@example.com, tweeting Codi6Yeager, or commenting below.
Circle of Blue Reporter
Codi Yeager-Kozacek is a reporter for Circle of Blue based out of Enterprise, Alabama. She studied journalism and biology as an undergraduate at West Virginia University and graduated summa cum laude from the university’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism. She has done research at the College of the Bahamas Gerace Research Center on San Salvador Island, Bahamas, and her study on coastal dune plants is currently pending publication in the Bahamas Natural History Proceedings. Her interests include food security and ecology. She co-writes The Stream, Circle of Blue’s daily digest of international water news trends.
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