Re: engineering questions re. Katrina

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 08:32:48 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Yoder" <>
To: "Keith Miller" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 10:04 PM
Subject: Re: engineering questions re. Katrina

> Ruth,
> In my mind the biggest immediate issue in this disaster is that the levees
> broke. Why did the levees break? They should not have broken. I suspect
> that the amount of water that flowed over the levees would not have caused
> anywhere near the amount of flooding that was caused by the water that
> flowed through the breaches.
> Apparently the water that overflowed the levees ran down the other side
> and washed out the foundation of the levees. This soon weakened them and
> they failed. Is this a reasonable way to design a levee? IMO this is
> represents a major failure in levee design. I am confident that levees can
> be designed to preclude this.

Apropos this could someone in the know clear up a point? On 60 Minutes ~1.5
weeks ago someone who sounded as if he knew what he was talking about argued
that it wasn't the _levees_ that had failed but the _floodwalls_ - i.e.,
relatively narrow flat walls rather than the broader earthen levees. I
gathered - but was not sure - that these floodwalls, not having been tall
&/or strong enough, broke down, & that the resulting flooding then caused
failures in the levees. Is this right, was he wrong, or was I just
misunderstanding things?

Received on Wed Sep 21 08:35:20 2005

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