Engineers create weather risk Web site for New Orleans

The Army Corps of Engineers has launched a Web site that offers geospatial tools so that residents and policymakers alike can assess the risks and potential consequences of future hurricanes in the New Orleans area.

In creating the Web site, the Corps of Engineers ran 152 future storm scenarios on supercomputers to estimate water levels that could be expected under different weather conditions across the Louisiana coastal area. The scenario variables included barometric pressure, maximum wind speed, storm size, how fast the storm was moving and direction of storm track.

The result is a series of Google Earth maps that users can view online in a static fashion, or in dynamic fashion by downloading the appropriate overlay and launching it in Google Earth. The risk assessment covers Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Plaquemines parishes.

According to the Corps, the risk-assessment method will continue to be improved upon. The site was developed by the corps in cooperation with New Orleans city officials, business groups and community organizations.

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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