8.25.2007

Predicting (but not preventing) Katrina-esque Catastrophism


Ivor and his team sought desperately—to have their warnings heeded by government officials. Nobody listened.

"A slow-moving Category 3 hurricane or larger will flood the city. There will be between 17 and 20 feet of standing water, and New Orleans as we now know it will no longer exist."

—Ivor van Heerden, October 29, 2004

"At, literally, the snap of the President's finger, we can spend $40 billion in Iraq. If we can start rebuilding their infrastructure immediately, we can do the same thing back home. ...we could spend the $16-20 billion that's needed to save New Orleans. All it takes is the will to do it."

—Ivor van Heerden, October 29, 2004
Click here for this story on my Clipmarks page.
Ivor van Heerden, a hurricane expert at Louisiana State University
Since 2001, he and colleagues have been generating computer
models of how a major storm could inundate the region in and around New Orleans.

Before the Flood


Interview conducted October 29, 2004


NOVA: If this region—New Orleans, the wetlands, and all—were
a patient in the hospital, how would you describe them? At what stage are they?


VAN HEERDEN: Close to death.

NOVA: Walk me through the worst-case scenario—if a hurricane hits
New Orleans.
a slow-moving Category 3 passing
west of the city

Within the city you have about 300,000 people who haven't left. There are about
57,000 families in New Orleans that don't own a motor vehicle. They can't get
out. There are numerous homeless folk who can't get out.
this is definitely something that requires the full
resources of the U.S. government.
the snap of the
President's finger, we can spend $40 billion in Iraq.
we could spend the $16-20
billion that's needed to save New Orleans.



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