Why New York Waits

Replica of flooded home in New Orleans after the nearby London Avenue Canal breached in August 2005

Ten years ago, Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge flooded twenty-four US states, particularly New York and New Jersey.

Prior to landfall, the Associated Press reported that experts predicted a billion dollars in damage in the US. It turned out to be $43 billion (1). 

Now, near the 10th anniversary of what is unofficially known as Superstorm Sandy, NBC Channel 4 TV in New York City devoted a 5-minute segment to address this question: “Why shouldn’t we be all protected?” (2)

This question is posed while observing that after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the US Army Corps of Engineers built a new system––including a massive regional surge barrier––in under eight years in Louisiana.

But for New York, and for New Jersey, the Corps is still debating the best approach to battle storm surge, ten years out.

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Levees.org hero receives major award

Dr. J. David Rogers

Dr. J. David Rogers was recently awarded the Schuster Medal for his decades of work in geohazards (geologic conditions capable of causing widespread loss of property and life).

“Robert Schuster inspired me to deepen my involvement in the field,” says Rogers, the Karl F. Hasselmann Missouri Chair in Geological Engineering at Missouri S&T. “I want to help the world define problems and find solutions.”

Dr. Rogers is also a major Levees.org hero.

In 2015, Dr. Rogers was lead author in the eye-opening paper laying bare who was responsible for the levee breaches during Hurricane Katrina.

This watershed paper retracted wrong conclusions made in the initial levee investigation reports about what caused the levee failures during the 2005 storm.

The paper––published in the official journal of the World Council––describes how the levees failed mainly due to mistakes the Army Corps of Engineers made in the 1980s when interpreting the results of their levee load test study.

A story about the paper appeared in a front page above-the-fold New York Times story on Sunday May 24, 2015

Learn more about Dr. Rogers and the prestigious award.

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Founder Rosenthal on 50 episodes of hosting her weekly Beat the Big Guys podcast

Sandy Rosenthal on Beat the Big Guys.

On August 8, 2022, founder Sandy Rosenthal interviewed her 50th guest on her weekly podcast, Beat the Big Guys.

Every week except on holidays, Rosenthal has coached her national base of listeners on how to take on the Big Guys in their own communities. Using an interview format, Rosenthal asks each of her guests to tell their stories. Then she identifies the tools, tricks and tips her guest used and then helps listeners take on their own Big Guys.

After interviewing 50 knowledgeable and heroic guests, Rosenthal discovered that all the Big Guys shared a common characteristic. In every story, the “big guys” were no different from the typical bully in the playground in the 4rd grade.

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