Re: engineering questions re. Katrina

From: Keith Miller <>
Date: Sat Sep 24 2005 - 10:50:10 EDT

On Friday, September 23, 2005, at 10:36 PM, <>

> I am not surprised to hear upon awakening this morning that New
> Orleans is re-filling with water and this after such a small amount of
> weather turbulence in N.O.  Even if we get 6 months of dry weather to
> repair everything, it is a futility to rebuild the parts of the city
> which are underwater.  Who wants to insure such a situation? What bank
> wants to loan money to the home owner? How can businesses and a
> tourist industry exist without those people?
> If we spend billions to rebuild N.O. we will be throwing that money
> into a toilet, especially given that sea-levels are predicted to rise
> significantly over this century.  We should take our lumps now, help
> the people restructure their lives, turn the port(which is an economic
> necessity) into an American Venice and/or  let  the rest of N.O. sink
> into the Gulf (like every other sedimentary layer has done in the
> past.)
Amen to the idea! Political reality, however, does not see decades
down the road.

It was 80% of the city that flooded. Can we let all of that sink?
(Like we can stop it!) We had a BBQ here last night hosted by the
half-dozen NO grad student refugees now here in Manhattan. They left
when the getting was good, before Katrina got close--and as a result
left everything of value behind. But they are geologists, they
understand the situation, and I think they have little interest in
returning. But one said he'd heard some govt person suggest that oil
refining facilities should be moved away from the coast. Like where?
And how do you think you're going to get the oil to the refineries?
Nice big oil pipelines up the Mississippi valley to KS--just think of
the environmental complaints!

> I have no inside information, but I would be willing to bet that most
> of the oil industry will not return to N.O. but will enlarge their
> offices in Houston. Many workers are already working at temporary
> locations in Houston. My suspicion is that it will become permanent At
> least after a hurricane, the water drains to the sea in
> Houston--something which can't be said for N.O.
Sounds like Houston came out of this one ok. Here's a new question for
you: how well can a refinery stand up to high winds? Those tall pipes
don't look too durable to me...


Ruth Douglas Miller
Associate Professor
Dept of Electrical and Computer Engrg
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-5204
Received on Sat Sep 24 10:55:04 2005

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