Hurricane Rita: Water Flowing Over New Orleans Levee

Hurricane Rita has already caused more flooding in New Orleans, pushing water over repaired levees.

Water flows over New Orleans levee (CNN)

Water washed over a levee in New Orleans’ hard-hit 9th Ward on Friday as Hurricane Rita swept towards the region, the Army Corps of Engineers said. Heavy rain and intensifying winds from the storm had reached the city Friday, threatening the city’s already battered city levees.

Mayor Ray Nagin said Thursday that levees breached when Hurricane Katrina hit the city on August 29 have been shored up ahead of the new storm. Workers have been bolstering the levees with sandbags and bringing in extra portable pumps. Nagin expressed confidence that the levees would hold. “The Army Corps of Engineers has done some work to assure us that they can handle that type of storm surge in the current condition at our levees,” Nagin told reporters.

Forecasters expect Rita’s center to come ashore Saturday morning, likely between Galveston, Texas, and the Louisiana border. Although the city was under a tropical storm warning, the National Hurricane Center said Friday that “any tropical storm force winds in the New Orleans area are expected to be confined to a few squalls associated with quickly moving rainbands” — suggesting the primary threat to the city could be rain. New Orleans could receive 3-to-5 inches of rain and 3-to-5-foot storm surges from Rita, the hurricane center said.

Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Mitch Frazier said: “Right now, it’s a wait and see and hope for the best.”

Sadly, that appears the only option at this point.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.