Hurricane Isaac News Release

Published Sept. 1, 2012


The Army Corps of Engineers wishes to express its deepest sympathies to all citizens suffering losses from Hurricane Isaac. A natural disaster often time brings out the best in people.  The stories of heroism and compassion that have been shown around the world by the news media speak volumes about the men and women of Louisiana. The Corps is proud to be a part of this community.


Hurricane Isaac was a very slow moving storm, thus moving large amounts of surge and rainfall into the area.  It was located near the mouth of the Mississippi River for more than a day.  The counterclockwise winds pumped water into Breton Sound, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas during this entire period of time.  Katrina and other recent storms moved through the area much more quickly. 


There has been speculation that the recent flooding in areas outside the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) is a result of the presence of that system.


Extensive preconstruction storm surge modeling and analysis was performed in developing the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System.  Surge modeling was completed using best available science and engineering, and subjected to the rigors of Independent External Peer Review. 


With the exception of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) Surge Barrier, Seabrook Floodgate Complex, and the Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, the footprint of the new HSDRRS system is essentially the same as what was in place prior to Hurricane Katrina.   Extensive modeling of the IHNC Surge Barrier was completed prior to construction, which demonstrated that the structure caused insignificant unintended consequences.


Elected leaders have asked us to perform additional modeling and post-storm evaluations to help better understand changes in surge behavior resulting from systematic changes in the HSDRRS. We will respond to their request by modeling Hurricane Isaac. Results will be posted / shared with the public via our website and presented at future public meetings. A timeline for completing this effort is under development. We expect the results to indicate that changes in surge elevation are minimal but will defer further comment until the science and engineering work is completed.


For detailed information on the risk reduction system in the greater New Orleans area, emergency and other information, please




Rachel Rodi
After Hours:

Release no. 12-049