The LSU Hurricane Center developed a comprehensive hurricane exercise for the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness, held in their new Emergency Operations Center on 18 June 2002. The objectives of the exercise were to evaluate preparedness levels for the new hurricane season, to test out the new EOC facilities, and to exercise the evacuation decision-making processes. Hurricane Delaney, the mock hurricane used for emergency preparedness simulations at the LOEP, simulates a category 4 hurricane that was only a category 2 storm 24 hours before landfall. Such an event has a relatively high probability any given year. The flooding occurs by overtopping of the hurricane protection levees along the lake shore and the water floods the city.
A number one question would indeed be when to start and end contra flow. During the Hurricane Delaney exercise at the Louisiana OEP, this was demonstrated to be a big question, i.e., "should we wait until traffic builds up to a certain point before we begin contra flow, or by that time, is it too late to institute it?" particularly given the estimated two hours delay needed to clear inbound lanes and change everything over.
Following a major hurricane in New Orleans, flooding was the principal public health threat - stranding large numbers of the population for significant amounts of time, while subjecting a vast number of evacuees to crowded and possibly unsanitary conditions.
The Army Corps of Engineers estimated that it could take as long as nine weeks to pump out New Orleans under certain hurricane/flooding scenarios. Particularly under conditions of standing water, the human environment could be much more vulnerable to any number of the short and long term public health consequences.
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