Breaking News - FEMA issues flooding warning for N.O. - Levees May Overtop due to Storm Surge
NEW ORLEANS - As Hurricane Gustav steamed toward the Louisiana coast early Monday, a top FEMA official warned that the surge will likely overtop levees and at least partially flood the city that was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
While offering his ominous warning, Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Harvey E. Johnson said there's enough food, water, ice and other supplies stockpiled for 1 million victims over the next three days.
Johnson said an estimated 2 million people have been evacuated from Louisiana, but as many as 10,000 remain in the New Orleans area.
Those who heeded days of warnings to get out watched from shelters and hotel rooms hundreds of miles away, praying the powerful Category 3 storm and its 115-mph winds would pass without the same deadly toll.
"We're nervous, but we just have to keep trusting in God that we don't get the water again," said Lyndon Guidry, who hit the road for Florida just a few months after he was able to return to his home in New Orleans. "We just have to put our faith in God."
Early Monday, water gushed off buildings and flags hung in tatters, ripped to shreds in the high winds. But there were no reports of serious flooding, and only scattered clusters of power outages.
It appears that the Army Corps of Engineers are disagreeing though:
Corps chiefs: No major storm surge flooding expected by Sheila Grissett, The Times-Picayune Monday September 01, 2008, 7:44 AM
Army Corps of Engineers chiefs say they anticipate no storm surge flooding due to Hurricane Gustav, which is turning out to be far less than what was previously forcast by the National Weather Service.
But they do anticipate localized flooding due to heavy rainfall. That water will have to be handled by local drainage and pumping systems in each parish, they say.
"The dewatering of the internal city due to rainfall will be up to these non-federal pumping stations,'' said Brigadier Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, the corps' chief of engineers.
Numbers provided to Van Antwerp and corps District Commander Col. Al Lee early Monday indicated that non-federal systems throughout the region are reporting a variety of current pumping capacities.