10 Hurricane Katrina Levee Design

October 20, 2009

 On the morning of Monday, August 29 2005 hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast of USA from Florida to Texas. New Orleans, Louisiana suffered the main brunt of the hurricane but the major damage and loss of life occurred when the levee system catastrophically failed. Floodwaters surged into 80% of the city and lingered for weeks. At least 1,836 people lost their lives in the hurricane and resulting floods making it the largest natural disaster in the history of the United States.hurricane katrina 2

The Maths Error: The 100-Year Flood Won’t Happen for 100 Years

On July 31, 2006 the Independent Levee Investigation Team released a report on the Greater New Orleans area levee failures.Hurricane katrina people 

Their report “identified flaws in design, construction and maintenance of the levees. But underlying it all, the report stated, were the problems with the initial model used to determine how strong the system should be.” The hypothetical model storm upon which storm protection plans were based is called the Standard Project Hurricane or SPH. The model storm was simplistic, and led to an inadequate network of levees, flood walls, storm gates and pumps. The report also found that “the creators of the standard project hurricane, in an attempt to find a representative storm, actually excluded the fiercest storms from the database.”hurricane katrina

Remember, mathspig, the 100 year storm can happen tomorrow!!!!!

And levees are cheap. Dirt cheap!!!!!

Street scene photostream: people.com



  1. […] has a 10-post series on the 10 Worst Mathematical Disasters. Start with #10 and work up from there; I had never heard about the one involving an Air Canada flight which ran […]

  2. Great Blog – Number 1 should be the inablity of governements around the world to understand that the exponential function means that exponential growth can not continue forever.

    • Thanks Kevin, I economics is tied to human behaviour and no one has come up with a mathematical model for human behaviour yet. Cheers Mathspig.

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