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Got Levees?

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The right wants to argue that those levees in New Orleans were weak because the city is mired in corruption and they were just too dumb to insist on getting them fixed and even if we poured in money, it would have been wasted anyway. Because obviously no other city would be stupid enought to ignore such an obvious danger.

Oops. Seems levees are weak and crumbling all over the country.

A prime potential trouble spot is here in Northern California, where hundreds of thousands of people live on low-lying land protected by levees. Levee networks are also prominent across the Gulf Coast, in Florida and in heavily populated areas of the Midwest along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers....

An earthquake or prolonged, heavy storms could cause levees to rupture near urban areas, particularly around Sacramento. Houses in a booming residential area north of the city could be inundated with up to 20 feet of water.

Widespread levee breaks also could imperil the water supply for 22 million Californians....

A levee break in dry, sunny weather in June 2004 flooded 12,000 acres of farmland and caused $150 million in damage. The cause, like the cause of most levee breaches, is unknown because rushing water washed away the evidence.

In 1997, more than 50 California levees broke on rain-choked rivers and killed eight people, forced the evacuation of 100,000 and damaged or destroyed 24,000 homes.

Levees have failed more than 140 times in the past century....

Few levees anywhere in the nation are built to more than a 100-year standard — capable of withstanding a flood so bad that its probability of occurring is once in a 100 years. The report urged a far more expensive 500-year standard for urban areas. In the Netherlands, levees along the Rhine River are built to a 1,250-year standard.
Now who's dumb? Nothing to investigate here. Keep moving.

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