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UMaine Today Magazine

Kelley's call on Katrina
Back to That Sinking Feeling-]

Sinking roads on the Louisiana coast

Roads like this one are commonly found along Louisiana's coast. Areas of open water on either side of the road were formerly vegetated by marsh grasses and are converting because of sea level rise and storm damage. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

While his involvement in the National Academy of Science's review of Louisiana's coastal improvement plan did not include an evaluation of the state's levees, dikes or other storm-protection measures, Joe Kelley did write the book on the Louisiana coastline (Living With the Louisiana Coast, 1984), making him something of an expert on the gulf state's ability to withstand hurricanes and other storms. His verdict on Katrina? There is little any city can do in the face of a major hurricane.

"Any city that gets a direct hit from a Category 5 hurricane is going to be destroyed, especially New Orleans because it's so low," says Kelley. "Even if they spent the money, it doesn't matter if it's tomorrow, next week, or 50 years from now: with a Category 5 hurricane, it wouldn't matter."



UMaine Today Magazine
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