USA Today: With Isaac, change is in the air
That question is being asked repeatedly across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana as Tropical Storm Isaac gathers strength and continues its slow, plodding northwest march through the Gulf of Mexico toward the coast.
Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall somewhere between southern Louisiana and eastern Mississippi as early as this evening -- almost seven years to the day of Katrina -- as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of up to 95 mph.
In New Orleans
Meanwhile, residents across New Orleans on Monday tracked weather reports and weighed decisions to stay or go.
In the Lower 9th Ward -- epicenter of Katrina's destruction and the scene of survivors pleading for their lives from rooftops -- residents mostly fled, not waiting to see whether improved levees would work this time, said Linda Jackson, president of the Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association.
"I think we're OK," Jackson said, referring to bigger levees and flood walls ringing her neighborhood. "But we're not that OK that we want to stay."
The improved flood walls around the Lower 9th are a tiny segment of a massive expansion of the city's hurricane protection system: a series of levees, flood walls and gates designed to protect from a "100-year storm," or a storm that has a 1% chance of making landfall in any given year, said Ricky Boyett, a spokesman with the Army Corps' New Orleans district. Katrina was considered a 395-year storm. Isaac is closer to a 100-year storm, he said.
Unlike the protection system in place when Katrina hit, the current system is designed to handle overtopping of flood walls, Boyett says. Overtopping led to many of the breaches that caused the city to flood during Katrina. The centerpiece of the new protection system is a mammoth surge barrier stretching 1.8 miles across a waterway in eastern New Orleans that cost $1billion to build, he said. READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>