This wetland flooding is often considered to be a natural means of absorbing floodwaters and thus floodwater does not continue to flow downstream.
Where natural levees are heightened and maintained in order to provide flood protection, the floodwater cannot leave the river channel.
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This overview describes Hurricane Katrina and the science behind the disaster.
back to top The eye of Hurricane Katrina made Louisiana landfall near Buras-Triumph on August 29, 2005, at AM.
By AM Central Standard Time, several sections of the levee system in New Orleans had collapsed.
There has been an increasing number of hurricanes since 1995.
Natural levees are built by floodwaters depositing sediment along the river banks.
Thus, the adjacent wetlands (also called a backswamp) do not receive periodic inputs of sediment and floodwater.
Normally, rivers do not stand above the backswamp, but New Orleans is an exception.
Much of the damage sustained in Louisiana was due not only to the storm, but also to the unique physiographic setting of New Orleans.
Although the Mississippi River enters the Gulf at the South Pass, the river is only about two feet above sea level as it flows through New Orleans.
Topics include hurricane history in the Gulf Coast, the geologic setting of the area affected by Hurricane Katrina, the science of the storm, the storm surge and flooding in New Orleans and the damage incurred by Hurricane Katrina.