U.S. Water News Online
NEW ORLEANS-- The head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
has conceded that despite aggressive efforts to repair the levee
system in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, it was unclear whether
it could hold up to a sizable hurricane this year.
Lt. General Carl Strock, the commander of the Corps, said the
agency was carefully tracking Tropical Storm Ernesto, which was
spinning in the Caribbean and projected to reach hurricane strength.
He was confident the Corps had done all it could to repair and
reinforce 220 miles of levee walls, but he conceded he couldn't be
sure whether the system would withstand Ernesto if reached Category 3
status and struck near New Orleans, as Katrina did Aug. 29, 2005.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who appeared at a news conference with
Strock, said her office was carefully watching the storm and would
order evacuations if they became necessary.
She said that although she is not happy with the current strength
of the levee system, she believes as much work as possible was done
in the year since Katrina.
It was too soon to predict whether Ernesto would hit the United
States, said Michael Brennan, a meteorologist with the hurricane
center in Miami.
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