09 July 2006

Palm Beach Post: Could Tampa Bay be the Next New Orleans?

The realization of the vulnearability of the Tampa Bay area to hurricanes and related-storm surges is featured in a story in today's Palm Beach Post. The majority of the urban area's population lives on land with an elevation less than 20 feet above sea level adjacent to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Tampa Bay estuary system and the last direct hit by a hurricane was in 1921. The Tampa Bay estuary system (comprised of Old Tampa Bay, Hillsborough Bay, McKay Bay, and New Tampa Bay) covers 400 square miles compared to the 630 square miles of Lake Pontchartrain. The article tends to be focused on the potential property loss more so than the potential loss of life. The piece forgot to mention that Tampa has more Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters, and Outback Steakhouses than New Orleans does.

UPDATE, 12 JULY 2006: They've added a flash animation modeling the storm surge inundation of the Tampa Bay area in a Category 4 hurricane landfall north of St. Petersburg.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Tampa Bay, Flood


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