Levees hold around New Orleans in city’s biggest hurricane hit since Katrina

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New Orleans’s levees stood their ground against Hurricane Ida as it barrelled through the city on Sunday.

As a category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds, Ida made landfall at 11:55 a.m. in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, which is 100 miles south of New Orleans.

While Ida left over a million homes in Louisiana and Mississippi without power, the levees in New Orleans were still erected after the storm and thereby, prevented massive flooding.

Still, neighboring suburbs, like LaPlace which is west of New Orleans, experienced flooding because the city doesn’t have levees. Levee construction is underway in this city, but it won’t be completed until 2024.

Ida struck Louisiana 16 years after Hurricane Katrina infamously broke down the levees, causing over 1,800 deaths and £125 bn in damages.

Because the broken down levees provided little defense against Hurricane Katrina, the federal government spent £15 bn to rebuild the flood bank.

Experts told The Washington Post that the newer, stronger levees, combined with the storm’s direction, protected the city from devastating floods.

Specifically, Ida hit New Orleans’s west side so the levees that stand on the eastern part were not tested by the hurricane. Also, Ida brought heavy winds but did not bring as much water compared to Katrina. Because Hurricane Ida was different, it’s difficult to make an exact comparison.

Although the federal government rebuilt the levees in New Orleans, there are 2,300 miles of levees across the country that have not been updated.

“There is no other system around the country that had the money to implement this level of risk reduction,” Dr Ed link, a University of Maryland research engineer, told the Washington Post. “Unfortunately, as a country, we tend to go after these things one disaster at a time.”

Not every levee is regulated by the federal government.

While the £15 bn investment in levees paid off this time around, experts also said it will take billions of dollars to maintain the defense system. And they were if government officials won’t continue to invest in the levee if the system keeps fending off flooding.

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