New Orleans’ Flood Risk and How to Stay Safe

Flooded streets with road barriersAfter Hurricane Katrina swept New Orleans, the vulnerability of the city to flooding has been a cause for concern. Since a good part of the city lies below sea level, the threat of flooding is real.

A Higher Risk

The government has spent more than $20 billion on flood control measures in the city’s vulnerable areas. This initiative includes building floodwalls, levees, enormous floodgates, and pump lines. Multiple flood control management systems are also in place in New Orleans, but the city can do with more.

The warmer temperature and higher moisture content in the air, brought about by climate change, causes heavier rains that continually overwhelms the city’s drainage system. Stronger storm surges, brought about by a rise in the oceans, also test the city’s protective measures.

Being Prepared

Things you take for granted could become major factors once you encounter heavy rains and flooding. Being informed is important. The radio or television will have flood watches or flood warnings if the weather turns bad. It is advisable to know the safe routes you can take to avoid the flooded areas.

If you evacuate, do not attempt to drive into flooded areas. As little as six inches of floodwater is enough to stall your car, and two feet of flowing water can sweep away even large SUVs. If you have to walk across a flooded area, you must avoid moving water and use a stick to check for obstacles and pits.

Resilient New Orleans

Though the city has faced flooding and the damages it brings, it remains strong in the face of adversity. The systems the city has in place are better than the one it had ten years ago. New Orleans’ flood control management systems, as well as drainage systems, are also continuously being updated and upgraded to make the city a safer place.

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The city is doing its best to protect its citizens from floods — but sometimes the unavoidable happens. Be prepared, keep in contact with your loved ones, and make sure everyone stays safe.