New Orleans area hurricane and river levees still categorized high risk, report says

New Orleans area hurricane and river levees still categorized high risk, report says
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans levees have been given a final classification of high risk, according to a report by our partners NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.

The classification reflects the potential effects of flooding faced by the nearly 1 million people and $170 billion in infrastructure The Army Corps of Engineers protects, according to the report.

The report states that the new Levee Safety Action Classification for the New Orleans area and Mississippi River is designed to communicate to the public what risks they face from flooding.

The high risk category recognizes the likelihood that tropical storms and hurricanes will create storm surges that will threaten hurricane levees, and that annual high water events will threaten the Mississippi River levees, according to the report.

Corps officials said in a news conference that the post-Katrina levees and river levees have performed as they were designed during recent surge and high water events, and are expected to perform well in the future.

The Corps said that residents of the area are aware of the risks they face.

"We have the best hurricane defenses in the country, probably in the world," Clancy said. But, he said, everyone who lives behind the area's levee system should have flood insurance and have plans for evacuation already in place in the event of a hurricane or the unlikely event of a river flood.

According to the report, the hurricane levees are designed to protect from surges created by hurricanes with a one percent chance of occurring in any year, a so-called 100-year storm. Much of the river levee system is designed to withstand river events with a 0.1 percent chance of occurring in any year, or a 1,000-year event, the report said.

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