Flower

Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Katrina’

12 Years Later: Remembering Hurricane Katrina

Twelve years ago, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. Nearly 93,000 square miles were impacted by Katrina. 138 counties and parishes were affected by the storm. New Orleans, Louisiana, Gulfport, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama were among the devastated cities that bore the brunt of Katrina’s destruction. The 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is a great opportunity for educators to help students learn about one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States.

People sit on a roof waiting to be rescued after Hurricane Katrina.

People sit on a roof waiting to be rescued after Hurricane Katrina.
By Jocelyn Augustino / FEMA (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To commemorate the anniversary, here are 10 facts about Hurricane Katrina:

1. Hurricane Katrina struck Florida first.

On August 23, 2005, a tropical depression developed in the Bahamas. The tropical depression intensified into Tropical Storm Katrina the next day. On August 25th, Katrina made landfall in South Florida between North Miami Beach and Hallandale Beach as a Category 1 hurricane, with wind speeds of approximately 80 mph.

2. Hurricane Katrina became a Category 5 storm on August 28, 2005.

After crossing over Florida, Katrina moved into the Gulf of Mexico and strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of approximately 175 mph.

3. The first-ever mandatory evacuation for New Orleans was issued on August 28, 2005.

The day before Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered the first-ever mandatory evacuation of the city. It is estimated that about 80% of the city’s residents evacuated. Residents who lacked transportation were urged to go to the Superdome, a domed sports venue and home of the New Orleans Saints. The stadium was to be used as a “shelter of last resort” for people unable to evacuate the city. Approximately 26,000 people sought refuge in the Superdome. Unfortunately, the stadium, which became synonymous with the misery of Hurricane Katrina, was undersupplied and understaffed–demonstrating how woefully unprepared local, state, and federal government officials were for the catastrophic event.

4. Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005.

On Monday, August 29, 2005, Katrina made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane near Buras, Louisiana, with winds estimated at 125 mph. Katrina continued northward and made its final landfall as a Category 3 hurricane near the Louisiana/Mississippi border with winds estimated at 120 mph.

5. Approximately 80% of New Orleans was underwater.

Much of the damage and devastation from Hurricane Katrina was due to the storm surge. Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge overwhelmed the levee system built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect the city from flooding. The flooding was so extensive in low-lying areas like the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish that people climbed to rooftops for safety.

6. Hurricane Katrina was the costliest and the third deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.

The storm caused an estimated $108 billion in damage and resulted in 1,833 fatalities, according to CNN. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has described Hurricane Katrina as the “single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history.”

7. Hurricane Katrina displaced more than one million people in the Gulf Coast region.

Hurricane evacuee shelters accommodated 273,000 people at their peak. FEMA trailers were used to house approximately 114,000 households. Up to 600,000 households remained displaced a month after the storm.

8. New Orleans lost more than half of its population.

The population of New Orleans decreased from 484,674 in April 2000 to approximately 230,172 in July 2006, almost a year after Hurricane Katrina. By 2015, the city’s population was at 80% of what it was before Katrina in 2000.

9. Hurricane Katrina damaged over one million housing units across the Gulf Coast.

Approximately half of the damaged housing units were in Louisiana. 134,000 housing units in New Orleans were damaged as a result of Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing flooding.

10. Post-Katrina, the federal government has spent $120.5 billion on the Gulf Coast region.

$75 billion of that money was used for emergency relief operations.

For more information on Hurricane Katrina, check out these related resources available through ProQuest eLibrary and ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher.

Hurricane Katrina (2005) Research Topic

Hurricanes Research Topic

In Depth: Hurricane Katrina

Storm That Drowned a City