NEW ORLEANS — One of the turbines powering the drainage pumps in New Orleans is out of service one day before a hurricane is projected to hit the city,
The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans announced Monday that Turbine 4, one of the main power generators for the city's 99 drainage pumps, would not be available for the storm because of needed emergency repairs.
Turbines 1, 3 and 6 remain operational, although Turbine 3 is designated for emergency use only.
Turbine 4 was installed in 1915, and has been a costly black spot in the S&WB ledger, with the agency spending $43 million to repair it over a period of six years in the 2010s.
In a series of tweets Tuesday, S&WB said crews were examining the turbine to find the problem before determining how to fix it.
S&WB officials said five EDM generators -- used as backup power sources -- were available alongside the currently in-service turbines.
Turbine 5 is also down after an explosion in December seriously damaged it.
Weather experts say Zeta will likely strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a projected landfall Wednesday evening. While it is expected to move quickly, even a relatively small amount of rain can flood New Orleans streets.
The city's pumps can handle up to an inch in the first hour they are operating, and can move half an inch of water every hour after that. Zeta is forecast to bring 2-4 inches of rain over about six hours.
WWL-TV has featured extensive coverage of Turbine 4 as part of our Down the Drain series on the Sewerage and Water Board's flood control operations.
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