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Stopped Clocks Tell Tale of Katrina Flooding

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Stopped Clocks Tell Tale of Katrina Flooding

Katrina & Beyond

Stopped Clocks Tell Tale of Katrina Flooding

Stopped Clocks Tell Tale of Katrina Flooding

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5175772/5175779" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A stopped clock and the house where it was found. A mapping of clocks all over the area has revealed a disturbing timeline of a steady and unstoppable flood. (NPR has been asked to not identify the locations of the homes pictured here.) State of Louisiana hide caption

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State of Louisiana

A stopped clock and the house where it was found. A mapping of clocks all over the area has revealed a disturbing timeline of a steady and unstoppable flood. (NPR has been asked to not identify the locations of the homes pictured here.)

State of Louisiana

The clocks in St. Bernard Parish stopped around 6:30 a.m. In the neighboring Ninth Ward, the clocks ran a little longer -- until 7:30. Downtown flooded later, and the 17th Street canal gave way around 10:15 a.m., ripping houses off their foundations. State of Louisiana hide caption

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State of Louisiana

The clocks in St. Bernard Parish stopped around 6:30 a.m. In the neighboring Ninth Ward, the clocks ran a little longer -- until 7:30. Downtown flooded later, and the 17th Street canal gave way around 10:15 a.m., ripping houses off their foundations.

State of Louisiana

The day after Hurricane Katrina passed through New Orleans, it looked as if the city had dodged the bullet. But the water levels continued to rise, barriers broke and much of New Orleans filled with water. Some residents described the water as coming from all directions at once.

A team of state investigators decided to recreate the path of flood by searching for stopped clocks and plotting their times and locations.

The analysis is still ongoing, but preliminary results give new evidence that one of the breaches was caused by a design flaw at a levee at an industrial canal by the Ninth Ward.