Nate aims at New Orleans amid worries about drainage system

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NEW ORLEANS – With forecasts putting New Orleans in the path of Tropical Storm Nate, one big question looms in the minds of residents and business owners: Will the pumps work?

Nate is forecast to make landfall in southeast Louisiana early Sunday, possibly as a Category 1 hurricane.

An unexpected Aug. 5 rainstorm caused flash floods that revealed personnel and equipment problems at the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, the agency that runs the antiquated pump system that drains the city.

The resignation of the agency's director and others was followed by the appointment of an emergency management team, headed by veteran disaster recovery expert Paul Rainwater.

He and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu say the system is much better off than it was, but much work remains.

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