New Orleans’ levees face a hard test as storm bears down

New Orleans residents are warily eying the levees that protect their city from a swollen Mississippi River as Tropical Storm Barry approaches the Gulf Coast.

Never in the modern history of New Orleans has water from the Mississippi River overtopped the city’s levees. That could change this weekend if it turns out forecasters are underestimating the storm’s flooding threat.

On Thursday, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers models weren’t calling for water from the river to rise above New Orleans’ levees. However, Corps spokesman Ricky Boyett said the height of the river levees remains the Corps’ greatest concern with this storm, which could dump 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) of rain on New Orleans through Sunday.


Kunzelman reported from College Park, Maryland.

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