Flooding Hazards – Netherlands and Greater New Orleans

Both the Netherlands and the Greater New Orleans area are subjected to flood hazards.

In the Netherlands, they have a storm surge from the North Sea.  These are periods of high wind, but not hurricane force winds.  The wind blows towards the Netherlands, “piling up” water along the coastline.  The water level is even higher if it happens during a time of high tide.

The country is also at the end of several rivers, primarily the Rhine and the Maas (translates to “Mouse”).  These rivers are contained within levees; so when the water level gets higher, there is a potential for overtopping the levees.

The Netherlands also experience subsidence.  That’s a general sinking of the land.  It’s different than settlement, which occurs when the ground is compressed under a load of some sort.  Like a building foundation.


The three main flooding threats in the Netherlands: storm surge, the rivers, and subsidence.

The flooding hazards of the New Orleans area are similar to those of the Netherlands.  New Orleans faces the storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico.  This storm surge is driven in front of a hurricane by its winds.  This storm surge can also enter Lake Pontchartrain, which boarders the city from the North.

It’s important to note that the winds of the hurricane itself pose a great threat to life and property; the storms that cause the surge in the Netherlands are not that strong.  Along the Gulf of Mexico there are evacuation plans to  move people out of the way of hurricane force winds; there are no such evacuation plans in the Netherlands.

There is also the potential for New Orleans to flood from high levels of water in the Mississippi River.  I’ve discussed the steps that were taken during the 2011 flood in previous posts.  The New Orleans area also suffers from subsidence.

The flooding hazards in the Greater New Orleans area: storm surge, river flooding, and subsidence.

That’s an overview of the flooding hazards for both the Netherlands and for the Greater New Orleans area.  In future posts I will discuss the steps taken in both areas to reduce those effects.





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