The US Army Corps of Engineers yesterday operated and closed major structures within the Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) in preparedness for the arrival of Hurricane Isaac.
According to the US National Hurricane Center, Isaac is beginning to move inland today in south east Louisiana and dangerous storm surge and flood threat from heavy rain is likely to continue throughout the day and tonight.
The New Orleans District Corps carried out closures including all three gates within the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier, the Seabrook Floodgate Complex, and the London Avenue and 17th Street Outfall Canals. These closures are in addition to the Orleans Outfall Canal, which was closed the previous evening.
The Corps closure teams will remain on site at all major closure structures in the risk reduction system and will remain there throughout the event.
The Corps said the infrastructure was “stronger and more resilient than it has ever been”, reducing the risk of flooding from hurricane storm surge to its lowest levels ever. Since Hurricane Katrina, which hit the same area exactly seven years ago today, the Corps and its engineers have worked to raise and strengthen nearly all of the levees, floodwalls and surge barriers that form the 214km Greater New Orleans HSDRRS perimeter.
Construction of surge barriers at Lake Borgne, Seabrook, the New Orleans Outfall Canals and the West Closure Complex have pushed the defences further outside of the city and protected 109km of interior levees and floodwalls from exposure to storm surges.