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Forensic Analysis Of Hurricane Katrina’s Impact

January 27, 2010

A recent special edition of the Elsevier journal Ocean Engineering provides an analysis of the impact of Hurricane Katrina and an overview of the lessons learned in the aftermath of the disaster.

Hurricane Katrina was the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history. Katrina’s size was larger than most hurricanes, and its storm surge affected the greatest area, nearly 93,000 square miles. Katrina’s winds and storm surge overwhelmed the protective infrastructure in and around the city of New Orleans, flooding nearly 80 percent of the city.

Between September 2005 and September 2006, an Interagency Performance Evaluation Task (IPET) force, consisting of inter-government agencies, academics and private industry contributors, conducted a study that analyzed the performance of flood protection systems, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina throughout the coastal areas of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas.

The Guest Editors of this special issue of Ocean Engineering are Zeki Demirbilek and Donald T. Resio of the Coastal & Hydraulics Laboratory, U.S. Army Engineer R&D Center and Robert G. Dean of the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, University of Florida. This special issue of Ocean Engineering presents key findings from research and engineering works conducted by the IPET task force to scientific and engineering communities worldwide. The aim is to provide a forum for scientific dialogue and exchange of information that has emerged from the IPET study and to help prepare for and deal with potential consequences of severe hurricanes in the future.

Guest Editor Zeki Demirbilek commented, “This Special Issue is important as it provides scientists and decision-makers with valuable data and peer-reviewed engineering tools and procedures for analysis and characterization of extreme meteorological and oceanographic events such as Hurricane Katrina. The thirteen papers provide useful lessons learned from independent and critical assessments conducted by experts. The special issue will serve as a comprehensive guide for planners at all levels of government, engineers and scientists developing predictive modeling capabilities and emergency plans for hurricanes.”

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