Is the levee system high risk?

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
Friday, May 25th
Tommy talks to Ricky Boyett, the Chief of Public Affairs for the Army Corp of Engineers, New Orleans, about reports about the New Orleans levee system.

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

These numbers get so confusing with 200 year flood 100 year flood what does that mean and then there is this. The issue about. Levees system then we have the new levees system. Being high risk minimally acceptable. What does all that mean Ricky boy yet chief of public affairs of the Army Corps of Engineers new loans joins us. Right now as we sit on the precipice of another hurricane season to morning raking. And I know I'm doing well sir thanks for taking time when this clue com I don't know if this all goes back. To the Levy portfolio report. Did the 1020300. Year event level etc. Doing a back and have maybe in the flood protection levees 101 and explain what some of these terms mean. Sure absolutely. MM well look at it from only they New Orleans district. They're great to hurricane protection. And what we did as we built this system to defend against a storm surge of of 100 year event and that means in these storms and as 1% chance at a car and and any given year. Doesn't mean as the storm of the century or you only have a chance or reaching this once in a hundred years. It means that there's 1% chance I've occurring in any given year. Can can I interrupt for 12 Ricky in terms of each time you flip a coin right even if it comes up heads. Nine times in a row it's still a 5050 chances it's gonna come up heads or tails. So how does that rank with this 1% in occurring in a hundred years. That doesn't mean that you're only gonna have one and a hundred years rated did you explain all that. The eighty year here very rise and when you look at it as ever I mean what is going you're looking at a fifty. Percent chance in this case sort of a quandary not a 1% chance. We were discussing it earlier and it's like. Rolling dice and that you know it comes into play in the game and year old seven. It doesn't mean that you're gonna roll all the other numbers free assembly and you had the exact same championing. Seven again the next. Our hero so. I won't ride some sanity into this 1% which means that every year. What. Yeah every year. And you have a 1% chance of having this storm but. You can have more than one. More than 1100 year eight storm in years I don't want to say you know one issue is as simple factor. Where we have to evaluate to establish. I saying. A level of decisions and it it all is related to back in his sixties and seventies. When they're looking at the flood insurance program they had to have kind of pace. Big storm that they they planned against and at that time it came out wit that 100 year was going to be your base storm that you it was required a flood insurance. It kind of became the standard. Rich production lot. So when he comes to. Bill Levy protection. And there and eat it did have chances of the 100 year storm 200 year flooded etc. And put their own context if you will. Church so we didn't modeling and we are creating that need this system itself. We did this large we have storms are arranged on 25 years took 5000 years stormy ends. And we came up with what would be idea I have is the storm that had it 1% chance with 1% chance expedience. The storm that had a 1% chance of getting to a certain level and then we built the abilities are to that elevation. And so that 100 years Alex how are the levees were. But we know and then we've experienced it there'll be storms bigger than 100 year in New Orleans so in addition to building to a height. Of the 100 year. We've also on hand and were armed marine levees so that there are strong and to withstand. And much large storm and this case a 500 years former Clinton and as a point 02%. Chance McCurry. The statistics and numbers when it comes a Levy protection and it is not Ricky is easy is it seems understand isn't. It is is not that you know I'm actually an ailment and earlier when you're saying that it doesn't matter how many storms have only takes one right. And I jump in for a second Ricky along those lines at find out. That the system that everyone has been watching I mean invest in L nine years now sub tropical storm. Alberto the first named storm in the Atlantic. Season suds on to get that out there but go ahead Ricky please it only takes one storm is what you're saying. Exactly and annual Portland. It's just that and inherit. Characteristic of living here it really doesn't matter how high we build a system will never be able to build a system high enough. To defend against. Every storm that we're gonna get inevitably there will be a larger storm. We built a 100 years has done we will have a 500 year storm if we build a 500 year inevitably will have a thousand years. Dorm enemy here is one of my allotted times out here when you're saying a hundred year levees to protect against a hundred year storm. That's that storm that has a 1% chance of happening in any hundred years the rocket. In any given year one and a hundred chance of happening in any given year. Okay. So. And when we go to some definitions here so before we get too far along. In terms of a one. In a hundred years story have been or you call it a hundred year storm resentment. Right yeah hundred year event. He met. How how would that look in terms of cool ordinance and not to ordinance but in terms of wind in terms of storm surge how we defining. A one and a hundred of man 1% chance that happening in any given year. Sure any responses in different and so it it really depends on the characteristic of that individual's storm. Now what we're designing. Slider risk reduction levees flood walls we don't look at win we only look at surge. In the case of New Orleans say here at the lake Bryant you're looking at around a sixteen foot surge for 100 year event. Into. And on where you are out and New Orleans Easter currently born here yet. The other much higher. Global surge. And so it it depend on where you. Surge protection but surge itself Serb. Itself I attack. And an independent where you are who depend on outback as storms moving it depends on where the storm makes landfall on the patent case so everything kind of goes into place what we did is we modeled. A 170 storms. And for each point in the system and we came out wit what would be the elevation needed at that point so it's it's. It's a little tricky to say what exactly is 100 years depend on the storm is now. Armed and so. Does this relate to category and all are not really. It does not you can have a 100 years storm that's a category one or we can have a category three that's 100 year age is strictly on search I don't want to discount when wind is important windows or risk. Q the people and infrastructure. And in New Orleans you have to account for the win. But it did not agree to. So with all that being said Ricky due to what what do we have. Now in terms of protection that we didn't have before and went to he has that perhaps might not be protective enough. So and then what are the factors that we we added her featuring is we and a guy anyway the levees systems as a hole and and we've come up with this classification systems are not final yet. But what we're looking at it in exactly that is what is the system and how good it condition as this system. What was it two as well. What's the residual risk. In New Orleans we have a 100 year level system when we look at elevations. And it is by far the best hurricane system in the country not the world. We know in New Orleans that we're gonna have a storm greater than 100 year so we also two. Taking into account. The likelihood of this system being over topped. As well as what are the consequences. If there is. This system over top or worst case scenario we have a breach and because we have such a dense population so much infrastructure and so much industry here in the Norman area. The consequences are grave. And so we look at that and that's where you would do it. As mentioned in the article by higher risk because we have the best system. We we we can it is it is in great shape we have a very aggressive. I inspection process in the Levy districts have a very aggressive. Mean its program but we know. That eventually there will be a bigger storm that can happen. Oh boy it is so how one you get 100 years and is equivalent to a sixteen foot surge as measured like at the lake front. Is. What we've built PL levees to that 100 year level. It's sixteen feet along the late prime. And an intern in terms of the danger with the over topping the war. Breaching you know I don't think people realize now is make the example if you stand in the beach again be careful this weekend but. And no waves flat out displeasure par you realize how strong water isn't. That's miniscule example compared to storm surge so. Hum how do you compute. Or balance being open topped width. This storm surge and and breach in strengthening and sad if if that question makes any sense at all. No it does then and that's where armory comes in so what what we view is. If you're gonna build a system that needs to be over top there need to be able to withstand over top gap apple way to prevent. That power of that surge unbelievably rode the levees. And we're at Colorado State help we came up with pay armory program. And then I'll worry our book our our similarities. There's a matting that goes down and and it's it's basically nailed into the Levy. And then decided over and that Mattingly will prevent erosion to it then uses an at large warm. The water single over top the Levy itself has not gonna deteriorate. And then you know what water does come over we can we can manually pumped out. However you don't have a breaching situation once the water received below the system could at least a strong. So skip I'm sorry. This conversation could go on for five hours is I have a bunch of questions but. In conclusion does this mean Ricky that as long as storm surges lessened sixteen feet. We should be okay. And it's over sixteen feet. Then we're in trouble and and certainly timed. Evacuated and and I know one of mean. I mean throw evacuation and here is that there are a lot of things factor in that. And would anything overs sixteen foot surge be. It 200 years it. So I would. Great with evacuations. My can do that out there because we I'll keep evacuation on. On the table people in your own can become complacent witnesses and then they need to always be ready have a plan to evacuate for a record in these. In the case they'll love the nation's right wheel and it is 21 under here at the Lakefront August 16. But Serbs got water will commit we haven't been integrated. It could be. 102020500. Even greater that comes over. Is there are. Is there's surged definition for a 200 years storm. Don't have it and it really depends on where you are so again it here. New Orleans east right you're gonna you know you're in the 2526. Where for 100 year storm. On the front we got to run thank you I appreciate your time hoping comeback on.