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Hurricane Katrina

Formed August 23, 2005
Dissipated August 30, 2005
Highest winds 175 mph (280 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure 902 mbar (hPa; 26.65 inHg)
Fatalities 1,836 total
Damage $81.2 billion (2005 USD) $86 billion (2007 USD)(Costliest Atlantic hurricane in history)
Areas affected Bahamas, South Florida, Cuba, Louisiana (especially Greater New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida Panhandle, most of eastern North America

Hurricane Katrina was the costliest and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. It was the sixth-strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the third-strongest hurricane on record that made landfall in the United States. Katrina formed on August 23 during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and caused devastation along much of the north-central Gulf Coast.

NASA: In Katrina's Wake Video

Vehicle & Homes, Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, Louisiana

 The most severe loss of life and property damage occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland. The hurricane caused severe destruction across the entire Mississippi coast and into Alabama, as far as 100 miles (160 km) from the storm's center. Katrina was the eleventh tropical storm, fifth hurricane, third major hurricane, and second Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic season.

 Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, Louisiana

 

Credit Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
“Katrina is comparable in intensity to Hurricane Camille of 1969, only larger,” warned the National Hurricane Center on Sunday, August 28, 2005. By this time, Hurricane Katrina was set to become one of the most powerful storms to strike the United States, with winds of 257 kilometers per hour (160 miles per hour) and stronger gusts. The air pressure, another indicator of hurricane strength, at the center of this Category 5 storm measured 902 millibars, the fourth lowest air pressure on record for an Atlantic storm. The lower the air pressure, the more powerful the storm.

Two hours after the National Hurricane Center issued their warning, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured this image from NASA’s Terra satellite at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time. The massive storm covers much of the Gulf of Mexico, spanning from the U.S. coast to the Yucatan Peninsula.

A U.S. Coast Guard air boat navigates the flooded streets of New Orleans

It formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding there, before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico and becoming one of the strongest hurricanes on record while at sea. The storm weakened before making its second and third landfalls as a Category 3 storm on the morning of August 29 in southeast Louisiana and at the Louisiana/Mississippi state line, respectively.

The storm surge caused severe damage along the Gulf Coast, devastating the Mississippi cities of Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and Pascagoula. In Louisiana, the federal flood protection system in New Orleans failed in more than 50 places. Nearly every levee in metro New Orleans breached as Hurricane Katrina passed east of the city, subsequently flooding 80% of the city and many areas of neighboring parishes for weeks.

The floods that buried up to 80 percent of New Orleans had noticeably subsided by September 15, 2005, when the top image was taken by the Landsat 7 satellite. In the two and a half weeks that had passed since Hurricane Katrina flooded the city, pumps had been working nonstop to return the water to Lake Pontchartrain. As portable pumps were brought in to supplement the permanent pumps already hard at work, as much as 380 cubic meters (380,000 liters or 23,190,000 cubic inches) of water were being pumped out of New Orleans every second, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The extent of flooding in the greater New Orleans metropolitan area is clearly visible in this image, acquired from the International Space Station on September 8, 2005, of areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Flooded areas are dark greenish brown, while dry areas to the west of the 17th Street Canal and along the banks of the Mississippi River (lower half of image) are light brown to gray. This cropped image (from the parent frame ISS011-E-12527) is oriented with north to the top. Credit: NASA

 

At least 1,836 people lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. The storm is estimated to have been responsible for $81.2 billion (2005 U.S. dollars) in damage, making it the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. The catastrophic failure of the flood protection in New Orleans prompted immediate review of the Army Corps of Engineers since the agency has by congressional mandate sole responsibility for design and construction of the flood protection. There was also widespread criticism of the federal, state and local governments' reaction to the storm and resulting in an investigation by the U.S. Congress and the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown. Conversely, the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service were widely commended for accurate forecasts and abundant lead time.

Hurricane Katrina Track

CIMSS is a Cooperative Institute formed through a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). CIMSS scientists conduct research using passive remote sensing systems for meteorological and surface-based applications.

Credit: NOAA, NASA,CIMSS,FEMA