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New Orleans survived Hurricane Gustav, but rising ocean temperatures are making tropical storms worse. Can remote-controlled wind-powered boats save the day?

By Philip Ball   October 2008

How lucky was New Orleans?

So New Orleans survived Hurricane Gustav. But was it by dumb luck or foresight? Despite initial fears, Gustav didn’t pose much of a test for the defences erected since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Katrina hit the coast as a formidable category 3 hurricane, whereas Gustav faded to a category 2 by landfall. And while Katrina passed east of New Orleans, pushing the waters of Lake Pontchartrain into the city, Gustav passed south and west. The levees have been strengthened in the last three years, and although the waves from Gustav topped parts of the city’s…

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