Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the costliest hurricane,[3][4] as well as one of the five deadliest, in the history of the United States.[5] Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall. Hurricane Katrina 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. The storm weakened before making its second landfall as a Category 3 storm on the morning of Monday, August 29 in southeast Louisiana. It caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much of it due to the storm surge. 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. [6] Eventually 80% of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks.[6] At least 1,836 people lost their lives in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane. Economist and crisis consultant Randall Bell wrote: "Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the largest natural disaster in the history of the United States. Preliminary damage estimates were well in excess of $100 billion, eclipsing many times the damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992."[7] The levee failures prompted investigations of their design and construction which belongs to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as mandated in the Flood Control Act of 1965 and into their maintenance by the local Levee Boards. There was also an investigation of the responses from federal, state and local governments, resulting in the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael D. Brown, and of New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Eddie Compass. Conversely, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), National Hurricane Center (NHC) and National Weather Service (NWS) were widely commended for their actions, accurate forecasts and abundant lead time.[8] Four years later, thousands of displaced residents in Mississippi and Louisiana were still living in trailers. Reconstruction of each section of the southern portion of Louisiana has been addressed in the Army Corps LACPR Final Technical Report which identifies areas not to be rebuilt and areas and buildings that need to be elevated.[9]

Meteorological history
Hurricane Katrina formed as Tropical Depression Twelve over the southeastern Bahamas on August 23, 2005 as the result of an interaction of a tropical wave and the remains of Tropical Depression Ten. The system was upgraded to tropical storm status on the morning of August 24 and at this point, the storm was given the name Katrina. The tropical storm continued to move towards Florida, and became a hurricane only two hours before it made landfall between Hallandale Beach and Aventura, Florida on the morning of August 25. The storm weakened over land, but it regained hurricane status about one hour after entering the Gulf of Mexico.[5] The storm rapidly intensified after entering the Gulf, growing from a Category 3 hurricane to a Category 5 hurricane in just nine hours. This rapid growth was due to the storm's movement over the "unusually warm" waters of the Loop Current, which increased wind

speeds.[10] On Saturday, August 27, the storm reached Category 3 intensity on the SaffirSimpson Hurricane Scale, becoming the third major hurricane of the season. An eyewall replacement cycle disrupted the intensification, but caused the storm to nearly double in size. Katrina again rapidly intensified, attaining Category 5 status on the morning of August 28 and reached its peak strength at 1:00 p.m. CDT that day. The pressure measurement made Katrina the fourth most intense Atlantic hurricane on record at the time, only to be surpassed by Hurricanes Rita and Wilma later in the season; it was also the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico at the time . Katrina made its second landfall at 6:10 a.m. CDT[5] on Monday, August 29 as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana. After moving over southeastern Louisiana and Breton Sound, it made its third landfall near the Louisiana/Mississippi border .Katrina maintained strength well into Mississippi, finally losing hurricane strength more than 150 miles (240 km) inland near Meridian, Mississippi. It was downgraded to a tropical depression near Clarksville, Tennessee, but its remnants were last distinguishable in the eastern Great Lakes region on August 31, when it was absorbed by a frontal boundary. The resulting extra tropical storm moved rapidly to the northeast and affected eastern Canada.[5]

Deaths by state Alabama Florida Georgia Kentucky Louisiana Mississippi Ohio Total Missing 2 14 2 1 1,577* 238 2 1,836 705

*Includes out-of-state evacuees counted by Louisiana

On August 29, Katrina's storm surge caused 53 different levee breaches in greater New Orleans submerging eighty percent of the city. A June 2007 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers indicated that two-thirds of the flooding were caused by the multiple failures of the city's floodwalls.[33] Not mentioned were the flood gates that were not closed.

The storm surge also devastated the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, making Katrina the most destructive and costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States, and the deadliest hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. The total damage from Katrina is estimated at $81.2 billion (2005 U.S. dollars), nearly double the cost of the previously most expensive storm, Hurricane Andrew, when adjusted for inflation.[5][34]

As of May 19, 2006, the confirmed death toll (total of direct and indirect deaths) stood at 1,836, mainly from Louisiana (1,577) and Mississippi (238).[1][2][35] However, 705 people remain categorized as missing in Louisiana,[36] and many of the deaths are indirect, but it is almost impossible to determine the exact cause of some of the fatalities. Federal disaster declarations covered 90,000 square miles (233,000 km²) of the United States, an area almost as large as the United Kingdom. The hurricane left an estimated three million people without electricity. On September 3, 2005, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff described the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as "probably the worst catastrophe, or set of catastrophes," in the country's history, referring to the hurricane itself plus the flooding of New Orleans.[37]

Environmental effects
Katrina also had a profound impact on the environment. The storm surge caused substantial beach erosion, in some cases completely devastating coastal areas. In Dauphin Island, approximately 90 miles (150 km) to the east of the point where the hurricane made landfall, the sand that comprised the barrier island was transported across the island into the Mississippi Sound, pushing the island towards land. [75] The storm surge and waves from Katrina also obliterated the Chandeleur Islands, which had been affected by Hurricane Ivan the previous year.[76] The US Geological Survey has estimated 217 square miles (560 km2) of land was transformed to water by the hurricanes Katrina and Rita.[77] The lands that were lost were breeding grounds for marine mammals, brown pelicans, turtles, and fish, as well as migratory species such as redhead ducks.[68] Overall, about 20% of the local marshes were permanently overrun by water as a result of the storm.[68] The damage from Katrina forced the closure of 16 National Wildlife Refuges. Breton National Wildlife Refuge lost half its area in the storm.[78] As a result, the hurricane affected the habitats of sea turtles, Mississippi sandhill cranes, Red-cockaded woodpeckers and Alabama Beach mice.[78] Finally, as part of the cleanup effort, the flood waters that covered New Orleans were pumped into Lake Pontchartrain, a process that took 43 days to complete.[34] These residual waters contained a mix of raw sewage, bacteria, heavy metals, pesticides, toxic chemicals, and about 6.5 million U.S. gallons (24.6 million L) of oil, which has sparked fears in the scientific community of massive numbers of fish dying.[68] Prior to the storm, subsidence and erosion caused erosion in the Louisiana wetlands and bayous. This, along with the canals built in the area, allowed for Katrina to maintain more of its intensity when it struck.[79]

Looting and violence
Shortly after the hurricane moved away on August 30, 2005, some residents of New Orleans who remained in the city began looting stores. Many were in search of food and water that were not available to them through any other means, as well as non-essential items.[80] Reports of carjacking, murders, thefts, and rapes in New Orleans flooded the news. Some sources later determined that many of the reports were inaccurate, because of the confusion.[81] Thousands of National Guard and federal troops were mobilized (the total went from 7,841 in the area the day Katrina hit to a maximum of 46,838 on September 10) and sent to Louisiana along with numbers of local law enforcement agents from across the country who were temporarily deputized by the state. Several shootings were between police and New Orleans residents, including a fatal incident at Danziger Bridge.[83]A number of arrests were made throughout the affected area, including some near the New Orleans Convention Center. A temporary jail was constructed of chain link cages in the city train station.[84]

Media involvement
Many representatives of the news media reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina became directly involved in the unfolding events, instead of simply reporting. Because of the loss of most means of communication, such as land-based and cellular telephone systems, field reporters in many cases became conduits for information between victims and authorities. The authorities, who monitored local and network news broadcasts, as well as internet sites, would then attempt to coordinate rescue efforts based on the reports. One illustration was when Geraldo Rivera of Fox News tearfully pleaded for authorities to either send help or evacuate the thousands of evacuees stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. [139] The storm also brought a dramatic rise in the role of Internet sites - especially blogging and community journalism. The role of AM radio was of importance to the hundreds of thousands of persons with no other ties to news. AM radio provided emergency information regarding access to assistance for hurricane victims. Announcers continued to broadcast from improvised studio facilities after the storm damaged their transmitter tower.The cellular phone antenna network was severely damaged and completely inoperable for several months. As the U.S. military and rescue services regained control over the city, there were restrictions on the activity of the media. On September 9, the military leader of the relief effort announced that reporters would have "zero access" to efforts to recover bodies in New Orleans. Immediately following this announcement, CNN filed a lawsuit and obtained a temporary restraining order against the ban. The next day the government backed down and reversed the ban.[144]

Because of the large loss of life and property along the Gulf Coast, the name Katrina was officially retired on April 6, 2006 by the World Meteorological Organization at the request of the U.S. government. It was replaced by Katia on List III of the Atlantic hurricane naming lists, which will next be used in the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.[146]

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