This article from CNN states that Hurricane Katrina was a category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 127 MPH at landfall... Furthermore, it cites measures of one-minute sustained winds over areas of New orleans far below category 3 strength. No, I'm not posting this to downplay the impact of the storm on New Orleans. I'm posting it to make a point...
The levees were assumed to be able to withstand a category 3 storm.
Obviously, they didn't.
In the dreaded worst-case scenario of a true category 5 storm hitting New Orleans, things would have been MUCH worse.
The rest of us living on high ground would do well to remember this and have a very healthy respect for the plights of people living in these areas. They may choose to live there, but we are pouring money into the resorts and making the areas attractive places to live... Is it fair to leave people high and dry and scream, "Choice!" when the trouble comes??? I won't even go very far into the issue of poverty this morning. Certainly that's about choice, too; but when is the last time anyone gave a thought to how much that McDonald's worker gets paid and what she's paying for child care--or even if she can find it... "Go flip burgers," is a pretty standard response given to the high school drop-out on welfare trying to support three or four children. Flipping burgers is not a nine to five job. It's not even a consistent job. One day it's eight to three; the next it's two to ten. Try raising kids on that... There's no easy solution to poverty in this country. I'm sick of hearing criticism of the poor people who choose their fate living in New Orleans!