Hurricane Set to Strike Louisiana Exactly 16 Years after Katrina


The storm threatening the U.S. Gulf Coast is expected to make landfall Sunday, exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, eventually causing an estimated $176 billion in damage and killing more than 1,800 people.

This time the city is better prepared. 

“The risk to New Orleans is much lower now than when Katrina hit,” said Navid Jafari, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Louisiana State University. 

The Army Corps of Engineers built a $14.5 billion Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System in the years after Katrina. It features levies, flood walls, enormous pumps and a concrete barrier to protect against storm surges. 

“It’s a massive surge barrier, one of the biggest in the world,” Jafari said. 

The U.S. National Hurricane Center is tracking the storm southwest of Jamaica that will probably grow into Tropical Storm Ida Thursday evening. It’s headed toward Louisiana and expected to reach hurricane strength over the weekend, though the forecast may shift over the coming days. 

The region is still recovering from two hurricanes that pummeled the Louisiana coastline last year year. 

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