Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wednesday September 5, 2007 It really is bliss

Ignorance is bliss and I'm a very happy man. Hmmm.

On another note, I've been thinking about locations and natural disasters and planning for the future.

We have a location in Kansas City, along Southwest Boulevard, near the Kansas River before it dumps into the Missouri River. That portion of road is in the river flood plain and everytime we get a heavy rain, it floods. Sometimes, it floods worse than others, but there is always some kind of water damage. Each time there is a major flood, the home and business owners are interviewed and vow to rebuild. They often say how many times they have been flooded, but how no river is going to drive them out.

Now these people are probably like the people who stay in trailers when the tornado is coming vowing that no stupid wind is going to make them leave their homes. I assume that the people of New Orleans are of the same human nature. Therefore, I have a hard time feeling sympathy for them when the expected does eventually happen. I feel sorry for their plight and sorry for their lack of foresight but I don't feel responsible for their choices, just as I don't feel responsible for people who frolic about in a lightning storm or dare a tornado to hit them. They seem to want to trust in their luck and rail against the storm. I admire their bravado but don't respect their intelligence and refuse to pay for their losses. Now I would believe in the Federal Government helping them to relocate and rebuild in a safer location because that should be a one time help and would make sense and actually save lives.

If you build on an earthquake fault line, you better build earthquake proof.

If you build in the middle of a forest, you better build fireproof.

If you build next to an ocean, below sea level, you better build floodproof.

If you build on top of a volcano, you are stupid and deserve what you get.


In New Orleans case, it's not like they haven't had Hurricanes before. Between 1851 and 2004, 49 of the 273 hurricanes that made landfall on the American Atlantic Coast hit Louisiana. On average, one major storm crosses within 100 nautical miles of New Orleans every decade.
Hurricanes bring storm tides that can be 15 feet or more above nomal tide levels which can cause storm surge of 30 feet or more. A cubic yard of water weighs 1700 pounds, which when driven by high winds and tides can cause much damage. New Orleans has an average elevation of 6 feet BELOW sea level. It is ringed by levees and flood water has nowhere to recede. The pumps designed to pump out any flood water won't work when completely submerged.

FEMA has listed a hurricane strike in New Orleans as one of the direst threats to the nation, on par with a large California earthquake or a terrorist attack on New York City.

Years with storms within 60 miles
36 times in 136yrs end of 2006

How often New Orleans gets affected?
brushed or hit every 3.78 years

Average years between direct hurricane hits.(usually within 40 miles to include small hurricanes)
once every 12.36 years

Statistically when New Orleans should be affected next
before the end of the 2009 season


Rebuilding New Orleans in the same place doesn't make sense. Why not relocate to a safer location or to a safer elevation?

It would truly be a NEW Orleans.


  1. as regards New Orleans, you should read New Orleans Slte Blog >>
    The hurricanes WERE NOT the issue -- it was the Levvies (as built by the Army Corp of Engineers to PROTECT the city) that failed...
    there are places in Europe that are many hundred of years older than the USA, they have levvies & are protected... our citizens should be able to expect that the Protection (as built for the city or area they live in) will actually be a protection.

  2. I realize that it wasn't so much the hurricane as it was the flooding and that was my point. Why in the world would you build a city next to the ocean BELOW sea level and not expect to be flooded at some time or other. And to rebuild in exactly the same spot time after time is not the most intelligent thing to do.