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Tuesday, September 16

The camel's back is groaning

As it zigzagged from water to land Tropical Storm Fay -- Aug 18-24 in the USA -- became the first storm in recorded history to make landfall in Florida four times. Damage from Fay was quite extreme, but a specific cost of damage is unknown.

When Hurricane Gustav hit New Orleans:
More than 60 vessels broke loose in area waterways, as some in the Industrial Canal threatened to strike its levees and pump facilities.

American Explorer and USS Hunley (AS-31) struck the Florida Ave bridge causing damage. They then struck the concrete pile barriers that protected pump station #19 that served New Orleans 9th ward.

The two military vessels were pinned to the wharf by US Coast Guard tugboats until they could be tied down.

The freighter Courier ... and two barges were pushed into Alamonaster bridge (L & N railroad bridge) near the I-10 high rise bridge, above the natural gas pipeline. ...

The impact to New Orleans and the Eastern US could have been substantial: a 16-inch high-pressure high-velocity natural gas pipeline was identified by an Entergy employee as being under the Courier as waters receded.

Damage to that natural-gas pipeline could have resulted in catastrophic problems in New Orleans and shut off a major supply of gas to the eastern coast of the US. ...

A controversy has developed over what the US Coast Guard told dock managers to do prior to [Tropical Storm] Fay, and what dock owners did to secure the vessels. ...

There was also concern as to why the Army Corps of Engineers undertook a 60-day period of lock testing at the Industrial Canal (began August 11) during the peak of hurricane season, thus restricting the evacuation of ships during storms.

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