[StBernard] Latest storm surge projections better for Industrial Canal, St. Bernard Parish

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Sun Aug 31 21:00:59 EDT 2008

Latest storm surge projections better for Industrial Canal, St. Bernard
by Sheila Grissett, The Times-Picayune
Sunday August 31, 2008, 6:47 PM
This is the first dispatch from Sheila Grissett, a Times-Picayune reporter
who will be embedded with the Corps of Engineers for the duration of the

The latest prediction of reduced Hurricane Gustav storm surge should be good
news for the Industrial Canal and St. Bernard Parish levees, but may still
potentially put water over deficient levees on the west bank of Jefferson
Parish, the Army Corps of Engineers' ranking officer said Sunday.

Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, the corps' chief of engineers, also suggested
that only one of three New Orleans outfall canals still have to be closed
against the surge.

London Avenue, where corps floodgates would start closing when the water
level reaches four feet, was at about one foot at late afternoon Sunday.

"If I were a betting person, I'd bet we would have to close these here," he
said of the mammoth gates intalled in all three canals after Katrina to
control the amount of storm surge allowed to enter the canals and rise
against their deficient floodwalls.

Van Antwerp said he couldn't estimate when the gates would closed.

"I think by tomorrow, with the storm much closer, we'll know our surge and
our wave factor," he said. Also still not known is how much rainfall Gustav
will produce, the third factor in detemining elevation.

Just 24 hours ago, when Gustav was a Category 4 hurricane headed to Cuba,
corps officials predicted that they would likely close the 17th Street and
London Avenue canal floodgates as well.

At that time, predicted surges at landfall ranged from 20 to 25 feet along
the coast. They have since fallen to a range of 12 to 16 feet.

Van Antwerp is in New Orleans to help Col. Al Lee, commander of the local
district, coordinate the corps response to Gustav.

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