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Posted inEnvironmentKatrina fact-check: Guesstimate that Katrina’s flooding in new Orleans to be correct
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During Hurricane Katrina, the floodwall and levee on the 17th Street Canal collapsed without being overtopped. It to be one of about 50 breaches in the flood protection mechanism that was an alleged to defeat "the most severe storm" that can be intended in the area. (Army Corps of engineers photo) Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
“Gas leaks started erupting right into flames, and looking at the city, currently at least 80 percent under water, that was tough not come think of critical year’s tsunami, or even ancient Pompeii.”—New York time editorial, Aug. 31, 2005

“With 80 percent the the city flooded and police policemans working out of your cars, crime lab employees struggled in the consequences of Katrina to keep even a skeletal procedure online.”—The new Orleans Advocate, might 12, 2015

Eighty percent the the city of brand-new Orleans submarine in Hurricane Katrina: That’s among the undisputed facts around the storm and the succeeding levee failures. It’s cited by journalists, politicians, federal government agencies and nonprofit groups, normally without a source. (We’ve done it, too.)

As the 10th anniversary approaches, we chose to take an additional look at that figure. Walk 80 percent the the city really flood native Katrina?

Like every little thing else with the storm, that seems, the soundbite no quite capture what taken place on the ground.

In short, 80 percent is virtually certainly specific description of how much of new Orleans flooded — yet officials latched ~ above to that figure practically through a happy guess.

Fact-checking Hurricane KatrinaOver the next couple of weeks, The Lens will fact-check statements and assertions made about the hurricane and the city’s recovery.If you’d favor us to examine something you heard or saw, email reporter Charles Maldonado. Be details and encompass links if you have them.

There are caveats, however. That has the unpopulated eastern new Orleans wetlands outside the levees, which can be inundated also from usual tropical storms. That marshy area is a 3rd of the city’s 180 square miles.

In the city’s core, surrounded by levees, about 70 percent the the soil area flooded. But that consists of Algiers, the small part of the city top top the various other side of the Mississippi River. It was unaffected by the levee breaks brought about by Lake Pontchartrain, swollen by Katrina’s storm surge.

Excluding the land exterior the levees and Algiers, the flooding works out to 79 percent.

Interestingly, the statement that gained currency was a guesstimate, no the result of a clinical study. It come from a FEMA employee who eyeballed the flooding native a helicopter the job Katrina do landfall — prior to flooding indigenous the levee failures reached its full extent.

The mayor repeated the number in a TV interview, and it stuck.

One factor it’s hard to check this number is that Katrina resulted in two varieties of flooding.

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Its storm surging washed over those wetlands in the much eastern component of the city. However the flooding you witnessed in all the photos, with people on the roofs the their houses surrounded by water, developed when levees and also floodwalls protecting the city buckled.