Hurricane Katrina Essay

960 words - 4 pages

Hurricane Katrina
The historical event of Hurricane Katrina, a category three hurricane with winds ranging from 111-130 mph, in August 2005 revealed major structural failures in the levee systems of New Orleans. Though not all structural failures are as catastrophic, the breeched levees led to loss of life, homes, businesses, highways, and left a trail of destruction that is still being repaired today. The result of this failure led to lawsuits, conspiracy theories, and court cases. Hurricane Katrina had a major effect upon our country and those results are still rippling on today. Though a city once devastated, major improvements to the failed system have been made and leave the city ...view middle of the document...

Between these three levees alone, the congressional inspection discovered more than fifty breeches in the structural design.
Once the speculations of a faulty levee system were proven correct, the blame inevitably fell upon the designer’s shoulders; the federal company of the U.S. army corps of engineering. This organization admitted to have fallen short of the specifications required for the levee. Five main studies were completed to determine the cause of the levee failure, two of which derived from LSU and FEMA.

The studies found: that the levees did not follow design specifications, there were incomplete sections, surrounding soil gave way, substandard construction of levee segments, and warning signs were ignored.
Many comparable breeches along the levees were found throughout the city. Sections of the wall that were incomplete and cracked prior to the hurricane were the first to fall. Many junctions of the canals were poorly engineered and were too weak to handle any great amount of pressure. The safe load for the canals was designed to hold around fourteen feet of water flow. In reality, the canals were only built to safely hold seven feet of flow. In most places the water never capped the tops of the canals, they simply broke when halfway full. One of the main causes for this was that the steel sheet pilings were seven feet less deep than the designs called for. This allowed for the already unstable soil to shift easily, and pull the unanchored canal walls with it. Also, inferior materials were found to be used throughout the entire protections system. Prior to the storm, residents along the 17th street canal claim they had been reporting flooding in their yards and homes for several months prior to the hurricane. The warning signs were ignored, and no repairs or inspections were made to the wall.
After Hurricane Katrina, many changes were made to the protection system. Levees were...

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