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Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 tropical cyclone that occurred in August 2005, which caused $125 billion in damage, particularly in the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas, and over 1,200 deaths. It is the costliest tropical cyclone on record, tying with Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The storm was the third major hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, and the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record to make landfall in the contiguous United States, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Michael in 2018.

Katrina originated on August 23, 2005 as a tropical depression from the merger of a tropical wave and the remnants of Tropical Depression Ten. Early the following day, the depression intensified into a tropical storm as it headed generally westward toward Florida, strengthening into a hurricane two hours before making landfall at Hallandale Beach on August 25. After briefly weakening to tropical storm strength over southern Florida, Katrina emerged into the Gulf of Mexico on August 26 and began to rapidly intensify. The storm strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before weakening to Category 3 strength at its second landfall on August 29 over southeast Louisiana and Mississippi.

Flooding, caused largely as a result of fatal engineering flaws in the flood protection system known as levees around the city of New Orleans, precipitated most of the loss of lives. Eventually, 80% of the city, as well as large tracts of neighboring parishes, were inundated for weeks. The flooding also destroyed most of New Orleans' transportation and communication facilities, leaving tens of thousands of people who had not evacuated the city prior to landfall stranded with little access to food, shelter or basic necessities. The scale of the disaster in New Orleans provoked massive national and international response efforts; federal, local and private rescue operations evacuated displaced persons out of the city over the following weeks. Multiple investigations in the aftermath of the storm concluded that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which had designed and built the region's levees decades earlier, was responsible for the failure of the flood-control systems, though federal courts later ruled that the Corps could not be held financially liable because of sovereign immunity in the Flood Control Act of 1928.

The emergency response from federal, state and local governments was widely criticized, resulting in the resignations of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael D. Brown and New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Eddie Compass. Many other government officials were criticized for their responses, especially New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, and President George W. Bush, while several agencies, including the United States Coast Guard (USCG), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and National Weather Service (NWS), were commended for their actions. The NHC was especially applauded for providing accurate forecasts well in advance.

Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 was one of the strongest and most devastating storms to impact the coast of the United States during the last 100 years. With sustained winds during landfall of 125 mph (110 kts) (a strong category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale) and minimum central pressure the third lowest on record in the United States at landfall (920 mb), Katrina caused widespread devastation along the central Gulf Coast states of the U.S., with the cities of New Orleans, Louisiana, Mobile, Alabama, and Gulfport, Mississippi bearing the brunt of Katrina's force, which caused $81.2 billion in damage.

The tropical cyclone

Hurricane Katrina developed initially as a tropical depression (TD #12 of the season) over the southeastern Bahamas on August 23. This tropical depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Katrina the following day. It then moved slowly along a northwesterly and then then westerly track through the Bahamas, increasing in strength during this time within favorable conditions. A few hours before landfall in South Florida at around 6:30 EDT on August 25th, Katrina strengthened to become a Category 1 (wind speeds of 75 mph or greater) hurricane. Landfall occurred between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach, Florida, with wind speeds of approximately 80 mph (70 kts). Gusts of above 90 mph (78 kts) were measured as Katrina came ashore. As the storm moved southwest across the tip of the Florida peninsula, Katrina's winds decreased slightly before regaining hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico. Given that Katrina spent only seven hours over land, its strength was not significantly diminished and it quickly re-intensified shortly after moving over the warm waters of the Gulf.

Katrina moved almost due westward after entering the Gulf of Mexico. A mid-level ridge centered over Texas weakened and moved westward allowing Katrina to gradually turn to the northwest and then north into the weakness in the ridging over the days that followed. Atmospheric and sea-surface conditions (an upper level anticyclone over the Gulf and warm SSTs) were conducive to cyclone's rapid intensification, which lead to Katrina attaining 'major hurricane' status on the afternoon of the 26th.

Continuing to strengthen and move northwards during the next 48 hours, Katrina reached maximum wind speeds on the morning of Sunday August 28th of over 170 mph (150 kts, category 5), and its minimum central pressure dropped that afternoon to 902 mb - the 4th lowest on record for an Atlantic storm. Although Katrina, at its peak strength was comparable to Camille's intensity, it was a significantly larger storm and impacted a broader area of the Gulf coast. Although tropical cyclones of category 5 strength are rarely sustained for long durations (due to internal dynamics), Katrina remained a strong category 4 strength hurricane despite the entrainment of dryer air and an opening of the eyewall to the south and southwest before landfall on the morning of the 29th. Landfalling wind speeds at Grand Isle, Louisiana were approximately 125 mph (110 kts) (strong category 3 intensity) with a central pressure of 920mb - the 3rd lowest on record for a landfalling Atlantic storm in the US. Rainfall amounts for Louisiana and along the Gulf are described below along with other impacts of the storms.

Rain, wind, and storm surge

Eastern Florida

During its initial landfall in southern Florida, Katrina generated over 5 inches of rainfall across a large area of southeastern Florida. An analysis by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center shows that parts of the region received heavy rainfall, over 15 inches in some locations, which caused localized flooding.

Winds at landfall north of Miami were 80 mph (category 1 strength), leading to some damage and extensive power outages.

Gulf Coast

Rainfall from Katrina's outer bands began affecting the Gulf coast well before landfall. As Katrina came ashore on August 29th, rainfall exceeded rates of 1 inch/hour across a large area of the coast. NOAA's Climate Reference Network Station in Newton, MS (60 miles east of Jackson, Mississippi) measured rainfall rates of over an inch an hour for 3 consecutive hours, with rates of over 0.5 in/hr for 5 hours during August 29th. Precipitation analysis from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center show that rainfall accumulations exceeded 8-10 inches along much of the hurricane's path and to the east of the track.

Wind speeds over 140 mph were recorded at landfall in southeastern Louisiana while winds gusted to over 100 mph in New Orleans, just west of the eye. As the hurricane made its second landfall on the Mississippi/Louisiana border, wind speeds were approximately 110 kts (125 mph). Gusts of over 80mph were recorded in Mobile and 90 mph in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The central pressure at landfall was 920 mb, which ranked 3rd lowest on record for U.S.-landfalling storms behind Camille (August 17, 1969, 909 mb) and the Labor Day hurricane that struck the Florida Keys on September 2, 1935 (892 mb). Hurricane Andrew in 1992 dropped to fourth, as its central pressure was 922 mb at landfall. Katrina also reached a minimum central pressure of 902 mb at its peak, ranking 4th lowest on record for all Atlantic basin hurricanes.


As the storm moved inland and weakened to a tropical storm on the 29th, rainfall became the primary impact. Rainfall amounts exceeded 2-4 inches across a large area from the Gulf coast to the Ohio Valley. As a result, flood watches and warnings were common across these regions. Rain bands from Katrina also produced tornadoes causing further damage in areas such as Georgia.


Loss of Life

From the Gulf states (principally Louisiana and Mississippi), the loss of life is estimated to be 1,836 people. It is clearly one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent US history. From Katrina's first landfall in Florida, while it was at category one strength, initial estimates suggest 11 deaths resulted.


The loss of life and property damage was worsened by breaks in the levees that separate New Orleans from surrounding lakes. At least 80% of New Orleans was under flood water on August 31st, largely as a result of levee failures from Lake Pontchartrain. The combination of strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge led to breaks in the earthen levee after the storm passed, leaving some parts of New Orleans under 20 feet of water. Storm surge from Mobile Bay led to inundation of Mobile, Alabama causing imposition of a dusk-to-dawn curfew for the City. Large portions of Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi were underwater as a result of a 20 to 30+ foot storm surge which flooded the cities.

Oil industry

A major economic impact for the nation was the disruption to the oil industry from Katrina. Preliminary estimates from the Mineral Management Service suggest that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was reduced by 1.4 million barrels per day (or 95 % of the daily Gulf of Mexico production) as a result of the hurricane. Gasoline had reached a record high price-per-gallon as of Monday August 30th with concerns over refinery capacity apparently driving the increase.

In addition, the hurricane caused 44 oil spills in Southeast Louisiana, totaling approximately 7 million gallons.<ref>44 oil spills found in southeast Louisiana</ref> The vast majority of oil spilled was from on-shore industrial plants and above ground storage depots plus other facilities. Damage to pipelines and oil platforms was very significant. 45 oil platforms were destroyed and 54 pipelines were damaged (10“ or larger). <ref> </ref> 70 oil spills (one barrel or larger) totaling over 11,000 gallons of crude oil and other refined products were reported. 211 minor pollution incidents were also reported. Minor pollution incidents are categorized as incidents involving less than 500 barrels of oil that do not reach the coast line. No significant spills from any offshore wells were reported. <ref></ref>

Power outages

Over 1.7 million people lost power as a result of the storm in the Gulf states, with power companies estimating that it would take more than several weeks to restore power to some locations. Drinking water was also unavailable in New Orleans due to a broken water main that serves the city. Power was lost to 1.3 million customers in southeastern Florida from the initial landfall on August 24th.


Both of New Orleans' airports were flooded and closed on August 30th and bridges of Interstate 10 leading east out of the city were destroyed. Most of the coastal highways along the Gulf were impassable in places and most minor roads near the shore were still underwater or covered in debris as of August 30th. Katrina also disrupted travel as it headed inland, with more than 2 inches of rain falling across a large area from the coast to parts of Ohio during the 48 hours after Katrina made landfall.


An August 2008 report by Oxfam America showed that while progress has taken place, it is behind expectations, and that much work remains to be done:

  • More than 35,000 individuals are still living in FEMA trailers in the Gulf Coast
  • Only 12 percent of African-American evacuees who returned to New Orleans after the hurricanes were able to find work, compared with 45 percent of white evacuees
  • In Louisiana 82,000 apartments were damaged or destroyed by Katrina and Rita, but the highest official estimate proposes to replace only about 25,000 affordable units
  • In Mississippi, federal money that was mandated for use in rebuilding low-income housing was, instead, diverted to improving the shipyards in Biloxi
  • Compliance with federal labor laws has been ignored, with frequent occurrences of safety and health violations, wage theft and exploitative treatment of immigrant workers.<ref>{D68D716B-779E-496B-A75E-0B1B1014F888}&dist=hppr</ref>

Political repercussions

The disaster fueled partisan criticism of the response of federal officials, causing significant political damage to the administration of President George W. Bush. In particular, deaths of 1,836 people were rather pointedly blamed on President Bush and his appointees, on the grounds that their response was “too little, late.”

Independent sociological studies have shown that nearly all the deaths were due to people waiting too long to obey the evacuation orders. Also, the Democratic governor and Democratic mayor refused (for as long as it was politically viable) to accept federal help. Internally, resources such as school buses were simply abandoned instead of being used to shuttle out the economically disadvantaged residents of New Orleans lower 9th ward.

{{License|license = This work is in the [[public domain]] in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.| source = []}}

See Also


<references />

Weather Hurricanes The South Natural Disasters Gulf Coast of the United States 2000s Survivalism Disasters Threats



Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and most destructive Atlantic tropical cyclone of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Katrina was the sixth most intense Atlantic hurricane ever, part of the 2005 season that included three of the six most intense Atlantic hurricanes ever (along with #1 Wilma and #4 Rita). At least 1,833&nbsp;people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane; total property damage was estimated at $81&nbsp;billion (2005 USD),<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”>

</ref> nearly triple the damage brought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.<ref name=“andrewtcr”>


Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005 and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category&nbsp;1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding there before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane strengthened to a Category&nbsp;5 hurricane over the warm Gulf water, but weakened before making its second landfall as a Category&nbsp;3 hurricane 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 significant number of deaths occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland.<ref name=“TPInteractive” /> Eventually 80% of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks.<ref name=“TPInteractive”>

</ref> However, the worst property damage occurred in coastal areas, such as all Mississippi beachfront towns, which were flooded over 90% in hours, as boats and casino barges rammed buildings, pushing cars and houses inland, with waters reaching 6–12&nbsp;miles (10–19&nbsp;km) from the beach.

The hurricane surge protection failures in New Orleans are considered the worst civil engineering disaster in U.S. history<ref>

</ref> and prompted a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the designers and builders of the levee system as mandated by the Flood Control Act of 1965. Responsibility for the failures and flooding was laid squarely on the Army Corps in January 2008 by Judge Stanwood Duval, U.S. District Court,<ref>

</ref> but the federal agency could not be held financially liable because of sovereign immunity in the Flood Control Act of 1928. 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.

Several agencies including the United States Coast Guard (USCG), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and National Weather Service (NWS) were commended for their actions. They provided accurate hurricane weather tracking forecasts with sufficient lead time.<ref name=“CongressInvestigation”/>

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 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.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

The storm rapidly intensified after entering the Gulf, growing from a Category&nbsp;3 hurricane to a Category&nbsp;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.<ref>

</ref> On Saturday, August 27, the storm reached Category&nbsp;3 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson 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&nbsp;5 status on the morning of August 28 and reached its peak strength at 1800 UTC that day, with maximum sustained winds of 175&nbsp;mph (280&nbsp;km/h) and a minimum central pressure of

. 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. However, this record was later broken by Hurricane Rita.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

.]] Katrina made its second landfall at 1110 UTC (6:10&nbsp;a.m. CDT) on Monday, August 29 as a Category&nbsp;3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125&nbsp;mph (205&nbsp;km/h) near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana. At landfall, hurricane-force winds extended outward 120&nbsp;miles (190&nbsp;km) from the center and the storm's central pressure was

. After moving over southeastern Louisiana and Breton Sound, it made its third landfall near the Louisiana/Mississippi border with 120&nbsp;mph (195&nbsp;km/h) sustained winds, still at Category&nbsp;3 intensity. Katrina maintained strength well into Mississippi, finally losing hurricane strength more than 150&nbsp;miles (240&nbsp;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 extratropical storm moved rapidly to the northeast and affected eastern Canada.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>


Federal government

, Secretary of Homeland Security, left, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, President George W. Bush meets with members of the White House Task Force on Hurricane Katrina Recovery on August 31, 2005, in the Cabinet Room of the White House.]]

On the morning of Friday, August 26, at 10&nbsp;am CDT (1500&nbsp;UTC), Katrina had strengthened to a Category&nbsp;3 storm in the Gulf of Mexico. Later that afternoon, the NHC realized that Katrina had yet to make the turn toward the Florida Panhandle and ended up revising the predicted track of the storm from the panhandle to the Mississippi coast.<ref>Spann, James. "Models Shifting West," "NHC Shifting Track To MS Coast" and "Late Katrina Thoughts" from the ABC33/40 Weather Blog August 26, 2005. Retrieved July 23, 2006.</ref><ref name=“NHC disc 014”>

</ref> The NHC issued a hurricane watch for southeastern Louisiana, including the New Orleans area at 10&nbsp;am CDT Saturday, August 27. That afternoon the NHC extended the watch to cover the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines as well as the Louisiana coast to Intracoastal City.

The United States Coast Guard began prepositioning resources in a ring around the expected impact zone and activated more than 400&nbsp;reservists. On August 27, it moved its personnel out of the New Orleans region prior to the mandatory evacuation.<ref>

</ref> Aircrews from the Aviation Training Center, in Mobile, staged rescue aircraft from Texas to Florida.<ref name=“CG leadership”>

</ref> All aircraft were returning towards the Gulf of Mexico by the afternoon of August 29. Air crews, many of whom lost their homes during the hurricane, began a round-the-clock rescue effort in New Orleans, and along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines.<ref name=“WP Coast Guard”>


President of the United States George W. Bush declared a state of emergency in selected regions of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi on Saturday, the 27th, two days before the hurricane made landfall.<ref>Bush, George W. ”Statement on Federal Emergency Assistance for Louisiana.“ White House. August 27, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> That same evening, the NHC upgraded the storm alert status from hurricane watch to hurricane warning over the stretch of coastline between Morgan City, Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border, 12&nbsp;hours after the watch alert had been issued, and also issued a tropical storm warning for the westernmost Florida Panhandle.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

During video conferences involving the president on August 28 and 29, the director of the National Hurricane Center, Max Mayfield, expressed concern that Katrina might push its storm surge over the city's levees and flood walls. In one conference, he stated, “I do not think anyone can tell you with confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but that's obviously a very, very great concern.”<ref name=“Levee Breach Warning”>


On Sunday, August 28, as the sheer size of Katrina became clear, the NHC extended the tropical storm warning zone to cover most of the Louisiana coastline and a larger portion of the Florida Panhandle. The National Weather Service's New Orleans/Baton Rouge office issued a vividly worded bulletin predicting that the area would be “uninhabitable for weeks” after “devastating damage” caused by Katrina, which at that time rivaled the intensity of Hurricane Camille.<ref>"NWS bulletin"

. National Weather Service/New Orleans, Louisiana. August 28, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-07-30.</ref> “On Sunday, August 28, President Bush spoke with Governor Blanco to encourage her to order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans.” (Per page 235 of Special Report of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)<ref>


Voluntary and mandatory evacuations were issued for large areas of southeast Louisiana as well as coastal Mississippi and Alabama. About 1.2&nbsp;million residents of the Gulf Coast were covered under a voluntary or mandatory evacuation order.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

Investigation of State of Emergency declaration

In a September 26, 2005 hearing, former FEMA chief Michael Brown testified before a U.S. House subcommittee about FEMA's response. During that hearing, Representative Stephen Buyer (R-IN) inquired as to why President Bush's declaration of state of emergency of August 27 had not included the coastal parishes of Orleans, Jefferson, and Plaquemines.<ref name=“Brown testimony”>

</ref> (In fact, the declaration did not include any of Louisiana's coastal parishes, whereas the coastal counties were included in the declarations for Mississippi<ref>Bush, George W. ”Statement on Federal Emergency Assistance for Mississippi.“ White House. August 28, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.</ref> and Alabama.<ref>Bush, George W. ”Statement on Federal Emergency Assistance for Alabama.“ White House. August 28, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.</ref>) Brown testified that this was because Louisiana Governor Blanco had not included those parishes in her initial request for aid, a decision that he found “shocking.” After the hearing, Blanco released a copy of her letter, which showed she had requested assistance for “all the southeastern parishes including the City of New Orleans” as well specifically naming 14 parishes including Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines.<ref>


Gulf Coast

On August 26, the state of Mississippi activated its National Guard in preparation for the storm's landfall. Additionally, the state government activated its Emergency Operations Center the next day, and local governments began issuing evacuation orders. By 6:00&nbsp;pm CDT on August 28, 11 counties and cities issued evacuation orders, a number which increased to 41 counties and 61 cities by the following morning. Moreover, 57 emergency shelters were established on coastal communities, with 31 additional shelters available to open if needed.<ref name=“CongressInvestigation”>

</ref> Louisiana's hurricane evacuation plan calls for local governments in areas along and near the coast to evacuate in three phases, starting with the immediate coast 50&nbsp;hours before the start of tropical storm force winds. Persons in areas designated Phase II begin evacuating 40&nbsp;hours before the onset of tropical storm winds and those in Phase III areas (including New Orleans) evacuate 30&nbsp;hours before the start of such winds.<ref>


Many private caregiving facilities that relied on bus companies and ambulance services for evacuation were unable to evacuate their charges because they waited too long. Louisiana's Emergency Operations Plan Supplement 1C (Part II, Section II, Paragraph D) calls for use of school and other public buses in evacuations.<ref>

</ref> Although buses that later flooded were available to transport those dependent upon public transportation, not enough bus drivers were available to drive them as Governor Blanco did not sign an emergency waiver to allow any licensed driver to transport evacuees on school buses.<ref>

</ref> However, 20 year old Jabbar Gibson armed with only a standard operator's permit took it upon himself to take a school bus and drive it to Houston with 50 to 70 evacuees.<ref>


</ref> Some estimates claimed that 80% of the 1.3&nbsp;million residents of the greater New Orleans metropolitan area evacuated, leaving behind substantially fewer people than remained in the city during the Hurricane Ivan evacuation.<ref>


By Sunday, August 28, most infrastructure along the Gulf Coast had been shut down, including all freight and Amtrak rail traffic into the evacuation areas as well as the Waterford Nuclear Generating Station.<ref>

</ref> The NHC maintained the coastal warnings until late on August 29, by which time Hurricane Katrina was over central Mississippi.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

City of New Orleans

By August 26, the possibility of unprecedented cataclysm was already being considered. Many of the computer models had shifted the potential path of Katrina

westward from the Florida Panhandle, putting the city of New Orleans directly in the center of their track probabilities; the chances of a direct hit were forecast at 17%, with strike probability rising to 29% by August 28.<ref>”Hurricane Katrina Probabilities Report Number 15,“ and ”Hurricane Katrina Probabilities Report Number 21.“ National Hurricane Center. August 26, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> This scenario was considered a potential catastrophe because some parts of New Orleans and the metro area are below sea level. Since the storm surge produced by the hurricane's right-front quadrant (containing the strongest winds) was forecast to be 28&nbsp;feet (8.5&nbsp;m), emergency management officials in New Orleans feared that the storm surge could go over the tops of levees protecting the city, causing major flooding.<ref>Drye, Willie. ”Hurricane Katrina Pulls Its Punches in New Orleans.“ National Geographic. August 29, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

At a news conference at 10&nbsp;am on August 28, shortly after Katrina was upgraded to a Category&nbsp;5 storm, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin ordered the first-ever mandatory evacuation of the city, calling Katrina “a storm that most of us have long feared.”<ref>Staff Writer. ”Katrina Heads for New Orleans

.“ Fox News/Associated Press. August 29, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> The city government also established several “refuges of last resort” for citizens who could not leave the city, including the massive Louisiana Superdome, which sheltered approximately 26,000&nbsp;people and provided them with food and water for several days as the storm came ashore.<ref>Staff Writer.”26,000 shelter at Superdome.“ Times-Picayune. August 28, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref><ref>Diary From the Dome is a 2008 memoir written by a tourist who was stuck inside the Superdome during Katrina and the levee failures. It offers an overview of the conditions inside the stadium as well as a critique of the media's coverage of the disaster.</ref>


Many people living in the South Florida area were unaware when Katrina strengthened from a tropical storm to a hurricane in one day and struck southern Florida near the Miami-Dade&nbsp;– Broward county line. The hurricane struck between the cities of Aventura, in Miami-Dade County, and Hallandale, in Broward County, on Thursday, August 25, 2005. However, National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts had correctly predicted that Katrina would intensify to hurricane strength before landfall, and hurricane watches and warnings were issued 31.5&nbsp;hours and 19.5&nbsp;hours before landfall, respectively&nbsp;— only slightly less than the target thresholds of 36 and 24&nbsp;hours.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

Florida Governor Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency on August 24 in advance of Hurricane Katrina's landfall in Florida. Shelters were opened and schools closed in several counties in the southern part of the state. A number of evacuation orders were also issued, mostly voluntary, although a mandatory evacuation was ordered for vulnerable housing in Martin County.<ref name=“Florida-preps”>Staff writer. ”Hurricane Katrina Situation Report No. 3.“ Florida State Emergency Response Team. August 26, 2005. Retrieved 2006-06-06.</ref>


File:Hurricane Katrina (short film by NASA).ogv


Deaths by state
Alabama 2
Florida 14
Georgia 2
Kentucky 1
Louisiana 1,577*
Mississippi 238
Ohio 2
Total 1,836
Missing 135<ref name=“louisiana1”>”Reports of Missing and Deceased.“ Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. August 2, 2006. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref>
<small>*Includes out-of-state evacuees <br />counted by Louisiana</small>

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.<ref name=“ASCE HKERP report”>

</ref> 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&nbsp;billion (2005 U.S. dollars), nearly double the cost of the previously most expensive storm, Hurricane Andrew, when adjusted for inflation.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/><ref name=“katreport”>


The confirmed death toll (total of direct and indirect deaths) is 1,836, mainly from Louisiana (1,577) and Mississippi (238).<ref name=“louisiana1”/><ref name=“MWR 2005AHS”>

</ref> However, 135&nbsp;people remain categorized as missing in Louisiana,<ref name=“louisiana1”/> 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&nbsp;square miles (233,000&nbsp;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.<ref>”The Aftermath of Katrina: Transcript of CNN Live Saturday.“ CNN. September 3, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

Even in 2010, debris remained in some coastal communities.<ref>


South Florida and Cuba

following Hurricane Katrina]]

Hurricane Katrina first made landfall on August 25, 2005 in South Florida where it hit as a Category&nbsp;1 hurricane, with 80&nbsp;mph (130&nbsp;km/h) winds. Rainfall was heavy in places and exceeded 14&nbsp;inches (350&nbsp;mm) in Homestead, Florida,<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/> and a storm surge of 3&nbsp;–

was measured in parts of Monroe County.<ref name=“katreport”/> More than 1&nbsp;million customers were left without electricity, and damage in Florida was estimated from $1&nbsp;– $2&nbsp;billion, with most of the damage coming from flooding and overturned trees. There were 14 fatalities reported in Florida as a result of Hurricane Katrina.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

Most of the Florida Keys experienced tropical-storm force winds from Katrina as the storm's center passed to the north, with hurricane force winds reported in the Dry Tortugas. Rainfall was also high in the islands, with 10&nbsp;inches (250&nbsp;mm) falling on Key West. On August 26, a strong F1 tornado formed from an outer rain band of Katrina and struck Marathon. The tornado damaged a hangar at the airport there and caused an estimated $5&nbsp;million in damage.<ref name=“Marathon Tornado”>Devenas, Andy ”Marathon Tornado Survey Report.“ National Weather Service Forecast Office Key West, Florida Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

Although Hurricane Katrina stayed well to the north of Cuba, on August 29 it brought tropical-storm force winds and rainfall of over 8&nbsp;inches (200&nbsp;mm) to western regions of the island. Telephone and power lines were damaged and around 8,000&nbsp;people were evacuated in the Pinar del Río Province. According to Cuban television reports the coastal city of Surgidero de Batabano was 90% underwater.<ref name=“Cuba damage”>Staff Writer. ”Hurricane Katrina batters western Cuba



]] On August 29, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana with 125&nbsp;mph (205&nbsp;km/h) winds, as a strong Category&nbsp;3 storm. However, as it had only just weakened from Category&nbsp;4 strength and the radius of maximum winds was large, it is possible that sustained winds of Category&nbsp;4 strength briefly impacted extreme southeastern Louisiana. Although the storm surge to the east of the path of the eye in Mississippi was higher, a very significant surge affected the Louisiana coast. The height of the surge is uncertain because of a lack of data, although a tide gauge in Plaquemines Parish indicated a storm tide in excess of 14&nbsp;feet (4.3&nbsp;m) and a 12-foot (3&nbsp;m) storm surge was recorded in Grand Isle. Hurricane Katrina made final landfall near the mouth of the Pearl River, with the eye straddling St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana and Hancock County, Mississippi, on the morning of August 29 at about 9:45M CST.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

Hurricane Katrina also brought heavy rain to Louisiana, with 8&nbsp;– 10&nbsp;inches (200&nbsp;– 250&nbsp;mm) falling on a wide swath of the eastern part of the state. In the area around Slidell, the rainfall was even higher, and the highest rainfall recorded in the state was approximately 15&nbsp;inches (380&nbsp;mm). As a result of the rainfall and storm surge the level of Lake Pontchartrain rose and caused significant flooding along its northeastern shore, affecting communities from Slidell to Mandeville. Several bridges were destroyed, including the I-10 Twin Span Bridge connecting Slidell to New Orleans.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/> Almost 900,000&nbsp;people in Louisiana lost power as a result of Hurricane Katrina.<ref name=“Power failures”>Staff Writer. ”Hurricane Katrina Situation Report#11.“ Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) United States Department of Energy. August 30, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

Katrina’s storm surge inundated all parishes surrounding Lake Pontchartrain, including St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles Parishes. St. Tammany Parish received a two-part storm surge. The first surge came as Lake Pontchartrain rose and the storm blew water from the Gulf of Mexico into the lake. The second came as the eye of Katrina passed, westerly winds pushed water into a bottleneck at the Rigolets Pass, forcing it farther inland. The range of surge levels in eastern St. Tammany Parish is estimated at 13 to

, not including wave action.<ref>


Hard-hit St. Bernard Parish was flooded because of breaching of the levees that contained a navigation channel called the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MR-GO) and the breach of the 40 Arpent canal levee that was designed and built by the Orleans Levee Board. The search for the missing was undertaken by the St. Bernard Fire Department because of the assets of the United States Coast Guard being diverted to New Orleans. In the months after the storm, many of the missing were tracked down by searching flooded homes, tracking credit card records, and visiting homes of family and relatives.<ref>Cannizaro, Steve. ”List of Missing Residents Down to 47, and More...St. Bernard Parish Government (press release). December 17, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

.]] According to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, in St. Bernard Parish, 81% (20,229) of the housing units were damaged. In St. Tammany Parish, 70% (48,792) were damaged and in Placquemines Parish 80% (7,212) were damaged.<ref>


In addition, the combined effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was the destruction of an estimated

of coastal wetlands in Louisiana.<ref>Rosenzweig, C., G. Casassa, D.J. Karoly, A. Imeson, C. Liu, A. Menzel, S. Rawlins, T.L. Root, B. Seguin, P. Tryjanowski. (2007). “Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”. Chapter 1 in Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. (url : Pp 92. Accessed 19 December 2011. </ref>

New Orleans

and surrounding area of northwest New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana]] As the eye of Hurricane Katrina swept to the northeast, it subjected the city to hurricane conditions for hours. Although power failures prevented accurate measurement of wind speeds in New Orleans, there were a few measurements of hurricane-force winds. From this the NHC concluded that it is likely that much of the city experienced sustained winds of Category&nbsp;1 or Category&nbsp;2 strength.

Katrina's storm surge led to 53 levee breaches in the federally built levee system protecting metro New Orleans and the failure of the 40 Arpent Canal levee. Nearly every levee in metro New Orleans was breached as Hurricane Katrina passed just east of the city limits. Failures occurred in New Orleans and surrounding communities, especially St. Bernard Parish. The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MR-GO) breached its levees in approximately 20 places, flooding much of east New Orleans, most of Saint Bernard Parish and the East Bank of Plaquemines Parish. The major levee breaches in the city included breaches at the 17th Street Canal levee, the London Avenue Canal, and the wide, navigable Industrial Canal, which left approximately 80% of the city flooded.<ref>Murphy, Verity. ”Fixing New Orleans' thin grey line.“ BBC News. October 4, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

Most of the major roads traveling into and out of the city were damaged. The only routes out of the city were the westbound Crescent City Connection and the Huey P. Long Bridge, as large portions of the I-10 Twin Span Bridge traveling eastbound towards Slidell, Louisiana had collapsed. Both the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway and the Crescent City Connection only carried emergency traffic.<ref>Gordon, Meghan. ”Causeway closed but hardly damaged.“ Times Picayune. August 31, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

On August 29, at 7:40&nbsp;am CDT, it was reported that most of the windows on the north side of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans had been blown out, and many other high rise buildings had extensive window damage.<ref>Transcript from, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.Hurricane Damages Gulf Coast.“ PBS. August 29, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> The Hyatt was the most severely damaged hotel in the city, with beds reported to be flying out of the windows. Insulation tubes were exposed as the hotel's glass exterior was completely sheared off.<ref>Mowbray, Rebecca. ”Evacuations to hotels come with own set of hazards.“ Times-Picayune. August 30, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

The Superdome, which was sheltering many people who had not evacuated, sustained significant damage.<ref name=“Gibson”>Christine Gibson

“Our 10 Greatest Natural Disasters,” American Heritage, Aug./Sept. 2006.</ref> Two sections of the Superdome's roof were compromised and the dome's waterproof membrane had essentially been peeled off. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport was closed before the storm but did not flood. On August 30, it was reopened to humanitarian and rescue operations. Limited commercial passenger service resumed at the airport on September 13 and regular carrier operations resumed in early October.<ref name=“New Orleans Airport”>


Levee breaches in New Orleans also caused a significant amount of deaths, with over 700 bodies recovered in New Orleans by October 23, 2005.<ref>Warner, Coleman; Travis, Robert. ”Where They Died.“ Times-Picayune. October 23, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> Some survivors and evacuees reported seeing dead bodies lying in city streets and floating in still-flooded sections, especially in the east of the city. The advanced state of decomposition of many corpses, some of which were left in the water or sun for days before being collected, hindered efforts by coroners to identify many of the dead.<ref>O'Neill, Ann. ”Identifying victims a grueling task.“ CNN. September 9, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

The first deaths reported from the city were reported shortly before midnight on August 28, as three nursing home patients died during an evacuation to Baton Rouge, most likely from dehydration. While there were also early reports of fatalities amid mayhem at the Superdome, only six deaths were confirmed there, with four of these originating from natural causes, one from a drug overdose, and one a suicide. At the Convention Center, four bodies were recovered. One of the four is believed to be the result of a homicide.<ref name=“thevenot”>Thevenot, Brian; Russell, Gordon. ”Reports of anarchy at Superdome overstated.“ Seattle Times. September 26, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

There is evidence that many prisoners were abandoned in their cells during the storm, while the guards sought shelter. Hundreds of prisoners were later registered as “unaccounted for”.<ref>Left to Die in a New Orleans Prison, Democracy Now/AlterNet, 27 Sept 2005. Retrieved 28 Nov 2012.</ref><ref>The Fate of Prisoners during Hurricane Katrina, The Society Pages, 27 Aug 2011. Retrieved 28 Nov 2012.</ref><ref>Doing “Katrina Time”—Torture in New Orleans Prisons, Revolution Newspaper, 8 Oct 2006. Retrieved 28 Nov 2012.</ref><ref>New Orleans prisoners left to drown after Katrina struck, World Socialist Web Site, 1 Oct 2005. Retrieved 28 Nov 2012.</ref><ref>Abandoned & Abused: Report on the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans Prisons (PDF) (://, American Civil Liberties Union, 9 Aug 2006. Retrieved 28 Nov 2012.</ref>


Bay St. Louis Bridge on Pass Christian was destroyed as a result of Katrina.]] The Gulf coast of Mississippi suffered massive damage from the impact of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, leaving 238&nbsp;people dead, 67&nbsp;missing, and billions of dollars in damage: bridges, barges, boats, piers, houses and cars were washed inland.<ref name=HBrecov>

</ref> Katrina traveled up the entire state, and afterwards, all 82 counties in Mississippi were declared disaster areas for federal assistance, 47 for full assistance.<ref name=HBrecov/>

After making a brief initial landfall in Louisiana, Katrina had made its final landfall near the state line, and the eyewall passed over the cities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland as a Category&nbsp;3 hurricane with sustained winds of 120&nbsp;mph (195&nbsp;km/h).<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/> Katrina's powerful right-front quadrant passed over the west and central Mississippi coast, causing a powerful 27-foot (8.2&nbsp;m) storm surge, which penetrated 6&nbsp;miles (10&nbsp;km) inland in many areas and up to 12&nbsp;miles (20&nbsp;km) inland along bays and rivers; in some areas, the surge crossed Interstate 10 for several miles.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/> Hurricane Katrina brought strong winds to Mississippi, which caused significant tree damage throughout the state. The highest unofficial reported wind gust recorded from Katrina was one of 135&nbsp;mph (217&nbsp;km/h) in Poplarville, in Pearl River County.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

following Hurricane Katrina]] The storm also brought heavy rains with 8&nbsp;– 10&nbsp;inches (200&nbsp;– 250&nbsp;mm) falling in southwestern Mississippi and rain in excess of 4&nbsp;inches (100&nbsp;mm) falling throughout the majority of the state. Katrina caused eleven tornadoes in Mississippi on August 29, some of which damaged trees and power lines.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/>

Battered by wind, rain and storm surge, some beachfront neighborhoods were completely leveled. Preliminary estimates by Mississippi officials calculated that 90% of the structures within half a mile of the coastline were completely destroyed,<ref name=“CBS Miss”>Staff Writer. ”Mississippi Coast Areas Wiped Out.“ CBS News. September 1, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> and that storm surges traveled as much as six&nbsp;miles (10&nbsp;km) inland in portions of the state's coast.<ref name=“katreport”/> One apartment complex with approximately thirty residents seeking shelter inside collapsed. More than half of the 13 casinos in the state, which were floated on barges to comply with Mississippi land-based gambling laws, were washed hundreds of yards inland by waves.<ref name=“CBS Miss”/>

Gulf Coast (early September 2005).]]

A number of streets and bridges were washed away. On U.S. Highway 90 along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, two major bridges were completely destroyed: the Bay St. Louis&nbsp;— Pass Christian<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/> bridge, and the Biloxi - Ocean Springs bridge. In addition, the eastbound span of the I-10 bridge over the Pascagoula River estuary was damaged. In the weeks after the storm, with the connectivity of the coastal U.S. Highway 90 shattered, traffic traveling parallel to the coast was reduced first to State Road 11 (parallel to I-10) then to two lanes on the remaining I-10 span when it was opened.

]] All three coastal counties of the state were severely affected by the storm. Katrina's surge was the most extensive, as well as the highest, in the documented history of the United States; large portions of both Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties were inundated by the storm surge, in all three cases affecting most of the populated areas.<ref>

</ref> Surge covered almost the entire lower half of Hancock County, destroying the coastal communities of Clermont Harbor and Waveland, much of Bay St. Louis, and flowed up the Jourdan River, flooding Diamondhead and Kiln. In Harrison County, Pass Christian was completely inundated, along with a narrow strip of land to the east along the coast, which includes the cities of Long Beach and Gulfport; the flooding was more extensive in communities such as D'Iberville, which borders Back Bay. Biloxi, on a peninsula between the Back Bay and the coast, was particularly hard hit, especially the low-lying Point Cadet area. In Jackson County, storm surge flowed up the wide river estuary, with the combined surge and freshwater flooding cutting the county in half. Remarkably, over 90% of Pascagoula, the easternmost coastal city in Mississippi, and about

east of Katrina's landfall near the Louisiana-Mississippi border, was flooded from surge at the height of the storm. Other large Jackson County neighborhoods such as Porteaux Bay and Gulf Hills were severely damaged with large portions being completely destroyed, and St. Martin was hard hit; Ocean Springs, Moss Point, Gautier, and Escatawpa also suffered major surge damage.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials also recorded deaths in Forrest, Hinds, Warren, and Leake counties. Over 900,000&nbsp;people throughout the state experienced power outages.<ref name=“Power failures”/>

Southeast United States

federal courthouse.]] Although Hurricane Katrina made landfall well to the west, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle were both affected by tropical-storm force winds and a storm surge varying from 12 to 16&nbsp;feet (3–5&nbsp;m) around Mobile Bay,<ref name=KatrinaTCR/> with higher waves on top. Sustained winds of 67&nbsp;mph (107&nbsp;km/h) were recorded in Mobile, Alabama, and the storm surge there was approximately 12&nbsp;feet (3.7&nbsp;m).<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/> The surge caused significant flooding several miles inland along Mobile Bay. Four tornadoes were also reported in Alabama.<ref name=KatrinaTCR/> Ships, oil rigs, boats and fishing piers were washed ashore along Mobile Bay: the cargo ship M/V Caribbean Clipper and many fishing boats were grounded at Bayou La Batre.

An oil rig under construction along the Mobile River broke its moorings and floated 1.5&nbsp;miles (2&nbsp;km) northwards before striking the Cochrane Bridge just outside Mobile. No significant damage resulted to the bridge and it was soon reopened. The damage on Dauphin Island was severe, with the surge destroying many houses and cutting a new canal through the western portion of the island. An offshore oil rig also became grounded on the island. As in Mississippi, the storm surge caused significant beach erosion along the Alabama coastline.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/> More than 600,000&nbsp;people lost power in Alabama as a result of Hurricane Katrina and two people died in a traffic accident in the state. Residents in some areas, such as Selma, were without power for several days.<ref name=“Power failures”/>

: cargo ship and fishing boats were grounded]] Along the Florida Panhandle the storm surge was typically about five&nbsp;feet (1.5&nbsp;m) and along the west-central Florida coast there was a minor surge of 1&nbsp;– 2&nbsp;feet (0.3&nbsp;– 0.6&nbsp;m). In Pensacola, Florida 56&nbsp;mph (90&nbsp;km/h) winds were recorded on August 29. The winds caused damage to some trees and structures and there was some minor flooding in the Panhandle. There were two indirect fatalities from Katrina in Walton County as a result of a traffic accident.<ref name=“KatrinaTCR”/> In the Florida Panhandle, 77,000 customers lost power.<ref>Associated Press, “Katrina at a Glance” (August 31, 2005), page 4A, Mobile Register, web: MobileRegister-083105-PDF.</ref>

Northern and central Georgia were affected by heavy rains and strong winds from Hurricane Katrina as the storm moved inland, with more than 3&nbsp;inches (75&nbsp;mm) of rain falling in several areas. At least 18 tornadoes formed in Georgia on August 29, the most on record in that state for one day in August. The most serious of these tornadoes was an F2 tornado which affected Heard County and Carroll County. This tornado caused three injuries and one fatality and damaged several houses. The other tornadoes caused significant damages to buildings and agricultural facilities. In addition to the fatality caused by the F2 tornado, there was another fatality in a traffic accident.<ref>Westbrook, Robby; WFO Peachtree City Staff. ”Katrina Spawns Tornadoes in Georgia - August 29, 2005.“ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. December 1, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref>

Other U.S. States and Canada

area is not available.]] Hurricane Katrina weakened as it moved inland, but tropical-storm force gusts were recorded as far north as Fort Campbell, Kentucky on August 30, and the winds damaged trees in New York. The remnants of the storm brought high levels of rainfall to a wide swath of the eastern United States, and rain in excess of 2&nbsp;inches (50&nbsp;mm) fell in parts of 20 states.<ref name=“HPCrainfall”>Staff Writer. ”Tropical Summary Message.“ The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. August 31, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> A number of tornadoes associated with Katrina formed on August 30 and August 31, which caused minor damages in several regions. In total, 62&nbsp;tornadoes formed in eight&nbsp;states as a result of Katrina.<ref name=“katreport”/>

Eastern Arkansas received light rain from the passage of Katrina.<ref name=“rain”>

</ref> Gusty winds downed some trees and power lines, though damage was minimal.<ref name=“ncdcark”>

</ref> In Kentucky, a storm that had moved through the weekend before had already produced flooding and the rainfall from Katrina added to this. As a result of the flooding, Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher declared three counties disaster areas and a statewide state of emergency.<ref>Staff Writer. ”Gov. Fletcher Declares Three Kentucky Counties Disaster Areas.“ WKYT. Accessed on April 18, 2006. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref><ref>Blanton, Carla; Goins, Michael; Whitaker, Jodi. ”Governor Fletcher declares state of emergency in Kentucky.“ Commonwealth of Kentucky (Press Release). August 30, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref> One person was killed in Hopkinsville, Kentucky and part of a high school collapsed.<ref>Staff Writer. ”Hopkinsville Swamped By Floodwaters; 10-Year-Old Drowns.“ WAVE (TV). September 6, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> Flooding also prompted a number of evacuations in West Virginia and Ohio, the rainfall in Ohio leading to two indirect deaths. Katrina also caused a number of power outages in many areas, with over 100,000 customers affected in Tennessee, primarily in the Memphis and Nashville areas.<ref>”Hurricane Katrina: Event Record Details

.“ Satellite and Information Service; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed May 30, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

The remnants of Katrina were absorbed by a new cyclone to its east across Pennsylvania. This second cyclone continued north and affected Canada on August 31. In Ontario there were a few isolated reports of rain in excess of 100&nbsp;mm (4&nbsp;inches) and there were a few reports of damage from fallen trees.<ref>Perreault, Bob. ”Brockville May Have Set Rain Record.“ CFRA (AM). September 1, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref> Flooding also occurred in both Ontario and Quebec, cutting off a number of isolated villages in Quebec, particularly in the Côte-Nord region.<ref>Staff Writer. ”Remnants of Hurricane Katrina washes out roads in Quebec's north shore.“ Canadian Press. September 1, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>


Economic effects

The economic effects of the storm were far-reaching. The Bush Administration sought $105&nbsp;billion for repairs and reconstruction in the region,<ref>St. Onge, Jeff; Epstein, Victor. ”Ex-chief says FEMA readiness even worse.“ April 1, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> which did not account for damage to the economy caused by potential interruption of the oil supply, destruction of the Gulf Coast's highway infrastructure, and exports of commodities such as grain. Katrina damaged or destroyed 30&nbsp;oil platforms and caused the closure of nine refineries;<ref name=“katreport”/> the total shut-in oil production from the Gulf of Mexico in the six-month period following Katrina was approximately 24% of the annual production and the shut-in gas production for the same period was about 18%.<ref>Fagot, Caryl; Winbush, Debra. ”Hurricane Katrina/Hurricane Rita Evacuation and Production Shut-in Statistics Report as of Wednesday, February 22, 2006.“ U.S. Government Minerals Management Service. February 22, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> The forestry industry in Mississippi was also affected, as 1.3&nbsp;million acres (5,300&nbsp;km2) of forest lands were destroyed.<ref name=“CRS environment”>

</ref> The total loss to the forestry industry from Katrina is calculated to rise to about $5&nbsp;billion.<ref name=“CRS environment”/> Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of local residents were left unemployed, which will have a trickle-down effect as fewer taxes are paid to local governments. Before the hurricane, the region supported approximately one million non-farm jobs, with 600,000 of them in New Orleans. It is estimated that the total economic impact in Louisiana and Mississippi may exceed $150&nbsp;billion.<ref>Burton, Mark L.; Hicks, Michael J. ”Hurricane Katrina: Preliminary Estimates of Commercial and Public Sector Damages.“ Marshall University: Center for Business and Economic Research. September 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

Katrina redistributed over one million people from the central Gulf coast elsewhere across the United States, which became the largest diaspora in the history of the United States.<ref>Anthony E. Ladd, John Marszalek, and Duane A. Gill. The Other Dispora: New Orleans Student Evacuation Impacts and Responses Surrounding Hurricane Katrina. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref> Houston, Texas, had an increase of 35,000&nbsp;people; Mobile, Alabama, gained over 24,000; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, over 15,000; and Hammond, Louisiana received over 10,000, nearly doubling its size. Chicago received over 6,000&nbsp;people, the most of any non-southern city.<ref>

</ref> By late January 2006, about 200,000&nbsp;people were once again living in New Orleans, less than half of the pre-storm population.<ref name=“popestimate”>

</ref> By July 1, 2006, when new population estimates were calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau, the state of Louisiana showed a population decline of 219,563, or 4.87%.<ref name=“popdecline”>Christie, Les. ”Growth states: Arizona overtakes Nevada: Texas adds most people overall; Louisiana population declines nearly 5%.“ CNN. December 22, 2006. Retrieved on December 22, 2006.</ref> Additionally, some insurance companies have stopped insuring homeowners in the area because of the high costs from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, or have raised homeowners' insurance premiums to cover their risk.<ref>Staff Writer. ”More Bad News Blows In From Katrina.“ CBS News. May 28, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

Environmental effects

, before Katrina (left) and after (right), showing the impact of the storm along coastal areas.]] 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&nbsp;miles (150&nbsp;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.<ref>

</ref> The storm surge and waves from Katrina also obliterated the Chandeleur Islands, which had been affected by Hurricane Ivan the previous year.<ref>

</ref> The US Geological Survey has estimated

of land was transformed to water by the hurricanes Katrina and Rita.<ref>"USGS Reports Latest Land Change Estimates for Louisiana Coast", USGS National Wetlands Research Center, Oct 3, 2006, accessed May 7, 2008</ref>

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.<ref name=“CRS environment”/> Overall, about 20% of the local marshes were permanently overrun by water as a result of the storm.<ref name=“CRS environment”/>

The damage from Katrina forced the closure of 16 National Wildlife Refuges. Breton National Wildlife Refuge lost half its area in the storm.<ref name=“FWS impact”>

</ref> As a result, the hurricane affected the habitats of sea turtles, Mississippi sandhill cranes, Red-cockaded woodpeckers and Alabama Beach mice.<ref name=“FWS impact”/>

Large oil spills caused by Hurricane Katrina<br><small>Spills exceeding

</small><ref name=“msnbcspills”/>

Spill Location Quantity
<small>(US gal)</small> <small>(L)</small>
Bass Enterprises (Cox Bay) 3,780,000

Shell (Pilot Town) 1,050,000

Chevron (Empire) 991,000

Murphy Oil (Meraux and Chalmette) 819,000

Bass Enterprises (Pointe à la Hache) 461,000

Chevron (Port Fourchon) 53,000

Venice Energy Services (Venice) 25,000

Shell Pipeline Oil (Nairn) 13,440

Sundown Energy (West Potash) 13,000

The storm caused oil spills from 44 facilities throughout southeastern Louisiana, which resulted in over 7&nbsp;million U.S. gallons (26&nbsp;million L) of oil being leaked. Some spills were as small as a few hundred gallons; the largest are tabulated to the right. While most of the spills were contained on-site, some oil entered the ecosystem, and the town of Meraux was flooded with a blend of water and oil.<ref name=“msnbcspills”>

</ref> Unlike Hurricane Ivan no offshore oil spills were officially reported after Hurricane Katrina. However, Skytruth reported some signs of surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico.<ref name=“msnbcspills”/>

Finally, as part of the cleanup effort, the flood waters that covered New Orleans were pumped into Lake Pontchartrain, a process that took 43&nbsp;days to complete.<ref name=“katreport”/> These residual waters contained a mix of raw sewage, bacteria, heavy metals, pesticides, toxic chemicals, and oil, which sparked fears in the scientific community of massive numbers of fish dying.<ref name=“CRS environment”/>

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.<ref>


Looting and violence

Special Response Team searches a hotel room-by-room in New Orleans in response to Hurricane Katrina.]]

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.<ref>KLRT FOX 16, ”Photos : Story in Pictures-- Hurricane Katrina : Aug 31: Looting in Mississippi.“ FOX16 Nowcaster Community (Little Rock, Arkansas). August 31, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-09-11.</ref>

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.<ref>

</ref> 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. “They have M16s and are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and I expect they will,” Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco said. Congressman Bill Jefferson (D-LA) told ABC News: “There was shooting going on. There was sniping going on. Over the first week of September, law and order were gradually restored to the city.”<ref>Tapper, Jake. ”Amid Katrina Chaos, Congressman Used National Guard to Visit Home.“ ABC News. September 13, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> Several shootings occurred between police and New Orleans residents, some involving police misconduct; including a fatal incident at Danziger Bridge.<ref>Staff Writer. ”Police kill at least 5 in New Orleans.“ MSNBC. September 4, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

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.<ref>Staff Writer. ”At the Train Station, New Orleans' Newest Jail is Open For Business.“ KOMO-TV. September 6, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

In Texas, where more than 300,000 refugees were located, local officials ran 20,000 criminal background checks on the refugees, as well as on the relief workers helping them and people who opened up their homes. The background checks found that 45% of the refugees had a criminal record of some nature, and that 22% had a violent criminal record.<ref name=“WBOY WV records”>Schubert, Elizabeth. ”Some Katrina Evacuees at Camp Dawson Have Criminal Records

.“ Associated Press. September 18, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> The number of homicides in Houston from September 2005 through February 22, 2006 went up by 23% relative to the same period a year before; 29 of the 170 murders involved displaced Louisianans as victims or suspects.<ref>”Louisiana Gangs That Fled Katrina Heighten Houston Murder Rate.“ March 3, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-07-15.</ref>

Government response

after Hurricane Katrina]]

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt during a press conference from the Rose Garden, regarding the devastation along the Gulf Coast caused by Katrina.]]

Within the United States and as delineated in the National Response Plan, disaster response and planning is first and foremost a local government responsibility. When local government exhausts its resources, it then requests specific additional resources from the county level. The request process proceeds similarly from the county to the state to the federal government as additional resource needs are identified. Many of the problems that arose developed from inadequate planning and back-up communication systems at various levels.<ref name=“usgovwh”/>

Some disaster recovery response to Katrina began before the storm, with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) preparations that ranged from logistical supply deployments to a mortuary team with refrigerated trucks. A network of volunteers began rendering assistance to local residents and residents emerging from New Orleans and surrounding parishes as soon as the storm made landfall (even though many were directed to not enter the area), and continued for more than six months after the storm.<ref name=“usgovwh”>


Of the 60,000&nbsp;people stranded in New Orleans, the Coast Guard rescued more than 33,500.<ref name=“GAO-06-903”>

</ref> Congress recognized the Coast Guard's response with an official entry in the Congressional Record,<ref name=“S. 246”>

</ref> and the Armed Service was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.<ref>


The United States Northern Command established Joint Task Force (JTF) Katrina based out of Camp Shelby, Mississippi, to act as the military's on-scene response on Sunday, August 28, with US Army Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré as commander.<ref>”Special Defense Department Briefing with Commander of Joint Task Force Katrina“. United States Department of Defense, News Transcript. September 1, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref> Approximately 58,000 National Guard personnel were activated to deal with the storm's aftermath, with troops coming from all 50 states.<ref>Phillips, Kyra. ”Bush Discusses Displaced Students; Department of Defense Briefs Press on Katrina Response (CNN Live Transcript).“ CNN. September 6, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> The Department of Defense also activated volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol.

Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, decided to take over the federal, state, and local operations officially on August 30, 2005, citing the National Response Plan.<ref>California Political Desk. ”Pelosi: Davis Report on Katrina Leaves Unfinished Business.“ California Chronicle. February 15, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> This was refused by Governor Blanco who indicated that her National Guard could manage. Early in September, Congress authorized a total of $62.3&nbsp;billion in aid for victims.<ref>Baker, Peter; Goldstein, Amy. ”Congress Approves $51.8&nbsp;Billion For Victims.“ Washington Post. September 9, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> Additionally, President Bush enlisted the help of former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush to raise additional voluntary contributions, much as they did after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.<ref>Bush, George W. ”President Asks Bush and Clinton to Assist in Hurricane Relief.“ White House, Press Release. September 1, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> American flags were also ordered to be half-staff from September 2, 2005 to September 20, 2005 in honor of the victims.<ref>


FEMA provided housing assistance (rental assistance, trailers, etc.) to more than 700,000 applicants—families and individuals. However, only one-fifth of the trailers requested in Orleans Parish were supplied, resulting in an enormous housing shortage in the city of New Orleans.<ref>Times-Picayune, September 26, 2005, page A-12. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> Many local areas voted to not allow the trailers, and many areas had no utilities, a requirement prior to placing the trailers. To provide for additional housing, FEMA has also paid for the hotel costs of 12,000 individuals and families displaced by Katrina through February 7, 2006, when a final deadline was set for the end of hotel cost coverage. After this deadline, evacuees were still eligible to receive federal assistance, which could be used towards either apartment rent, additional hotel stays, or fixing their ruined homes, although FEMA no longer paid for hotels directly.<ref>Foster, Mary. ”Judge: FEMA Off Hook For Hotel Costs.“ CBC News. February 13, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> As of March 30, 2010, there were still 260 families living in FEMA-provided trailers in Louisiana and Mississippi.<ref>


Law enforcement and public safety agencies, from across the United States, provided a ”mutual aid“ response to Louisiana and New Orleans in the weeks following the disaster. Many agencies responded with manpower and equipment from as far away as California, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Texas. This response was welcomed by local Louisiana authorities as their staff were either becoming fatigued, stretched too thin, or even quitting from the job.<ref>


Two weeks after the storm, more than half of the states were involved in providing shelter for evacuees. By four weeks after the storm, evacuees had been registered in all 50&nbsp;states and in 18,700&nbsp;zip codes—half of the nation's residential postal zones. Most evacuees had stayed within 250&nbsp;miles (400&nbsp;km), but 240,000&nbsp;households went to Houston and other cities over

away and another 60,000&nbsp;households went over 750&nbsp;miles (1,200&nbsp;km) away.<ref>


Criticism of government response

takes on supplies at Mayport, Florida en route to the Gulf Coast.]] The criticisms of the government's response to Hurricane Katrina primarily consisted of criticism of mismanagement and lack of leadership in the relief efforts in response to the storm and its aftermath. More specifically, the criticism focused on the delayed response to the flooding of New Orleans, and the subsequent state of chaos in the Crescent City.<ref name=“thevenot” /> The neologism Katrinagate was coined to refer to this controversy, and was a runner-up for “2005 word of the year.”<ref>Clark, Heather. ”Linguists Vote 'Truthiness' Word of 2005.“ ABC News. January 6, 2006. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref>

Within days of Katrina's August 29, 2005 landfall, public debate arose about the local, state and federal governments' role in the preparations for and response to the hurricane. Criticism was initially prompted by televised images of visibly shaken and frustrated political leaders, and of residents who remained stranded by flood waters without water, food or shelter. Deaths from thirst, exhaustion, and violence, days after the storm had passed, fueled the criticism, as did the dilemma of the evacuees at facilities such as the Louisiana Superdome (designed to handle 800, yet 30,000 arrived) and the New Orleans Civic Center (not designed as an evacuation center, yet 25,000 arrived). Some alleged that race, class, and other factors could have contributed to delays in government response.

In accordance with federal law, President George W. Bush directed the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, to coordinate the Federal response. Chertoff designated Michael D. Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as the Principal Federal Official to lead the deployment and coordination of all federal response resources and forces in the Gulf Coast region. However, the President and Secretary Chertoff initially came under harsh criticism for what some perceived as a lack of planning and coordination. Brown claimed that Governor Blanco resisted their efforts and was unhelpful. Governor Blanco and her staff disputed this.<ref>

</ref> Eight days later, Brown was recalled to Washington and Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen replaced him as chief of hurricane relief operations.<ref>Meserve, Jeanne; Barrett, Ted. ”Admiral takes over Katrina relief.“ CNN. September 9, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> Three days after the recall, Michael D. Brown resigned as director of FEMA in spite of having received recent praise from President Bush.<ref>


During A Concert for Hurricane Relief, a benefit concert for victims of the hurricane, rapper Kanye West veered off script and harshly criticized the government's response to the crisis, stating that “George Bush doesn't care about black people.” Although the camera quickly cut away, and the scene was deleted from delayed broadcasts, West's comments still reached the East Coast broadcasts, and were replayed and discussed afterwards.<ref>

</ref> Bush later called West's remarks 'the worst moment in his presidency', feeling he was unjustly accused of racism.<ref>


<!– Kanye West and Mike Myers met again on a brief sketch on Saturday Night Live, in which Myers joked that since the telethon, the government has stripped him of his American citizenship (“still got my Canadian citizenship to fall back on,” Myers joked), and placed him under heavy government surveillance.

–> Criticism from politicians, activists, pundits and journalists of all stripes was directed at the local and state governments headed by Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. Nagin and Blanco were criticized for failing to implement New Orleans' evacuation plan and for ordering residents to a shelter of last resort without any provisions for food, water, security, or sanitary conditions. Perhaps the most important criticism of Nagin was that he delayed his emergency evacuation order until 19 hours before landfall, which led to hundreds of deaths of people who (by that time) could not find any way out of the city.<ref name=“CongressInvestigation”/>

The destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina raised other, more general public policy issues about emergency management, environmental policy, poverty, and unemployment. The discussion of both the immediate response and of the broader public policy issues may have affected elections and legislation enacted at various levels of government. The storm's devastation also prompted a Congressional investigation, which found that FEMA and the Red Cross “did not have a logistics capacity sophisticated enough to fully support the massive number of Gulf coast victims.” Additionally, it placed responsibility for the disaster on all three levels of government.<ref name=“CongressInvestigation”/>

An ABC News poll conducted on September 2, 2005, showed more blame was being directed at state and local governments (75%) than at the Federal government (67%), with 44% blaming Bush's leadership directly.<ref name=“abcnewspoll”>Langer, Gary. ”Poll: Bush Not Taking Brunt of Katrina Criticism.“ ABC News. September 12, 2005. Retrieved on July 15, 2006.</ref> A later CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll showed that respondents disagreed widely on who was to blame for the problems in the city following the hurricane — 13% said Bush, 18% said federal agencies, 25% blamed state or local officials and 38% said no one was to blame.<ref name=“cnnpoll”>Staff Writer. ”Poll: Most Americans believe New Orleans will never recover.“ CNN. September 8, 2005. Retrieved on July 15, 2006.</ref>

Five former police officers have pleaded guilty to charges connected to the Danziger Bridge shootings in the aftermath of the hurricane. Six other former or current officers appeared in court in June 2011. Two unarmed civilians were killed and four others seriously wounded when police opened fire on people attempting to cross the bridge.<ref>


International response

personnel unload Canadian relief supplies from a Canadian Air Force transport aircraft in Pensacola, Florida.]]

Over seventy countries pledged monetary donations or other assistance. Notably, Cuba and Venezuela (both considered as hostile to US government interest) were the first countries to offer assistance, pledging over $1&nbsp;million, several mobile hospitals, water treatment plants, canned food, bottled water, heating oil, 1,100 doctors and 26.4 metric tons of medicine, though this aid was rejected by the U.S. government.<ref>”Venezuela and Cuba offer US aid .“ Al Jazeera, September 7, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref><ref>”Venezuela and Cuba offer aid to Katrina victims.“ The Free Press, Volume 1, Issue 4. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref><ref>”From abroad, offers of aid for Katrina victims.“ People's Weekly World, September 10, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref><ref>”France, Cuba, Venezuela among those offering aid.“ USA Today, Sept 2, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-08-05.</ref> Kuwait made the largest single pledge, $500&nbsp;million; other large donations were made by Qatar and United Arab Emirates (each $100&nbsp;million), South Korea ($30&nbsp;million), Australia ($10&nbsp;million), India, China (both $5&nbsp;million), New Zealand ($2&nbsp;million),<ref>

</ref> Pakistan ($1.5&nbsp;million),<ref>Staff Writer. ”U.S. Grateful for Pakistan's Assistance for Hurricane Katrina Victims.“Embassy of the United States. September 8, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref> Norway ($1.8 million),<ref></ref>and Bangladesh ($1&nbsp;million).<ref>Staff Writer. ”Asian nations offer U.S. assistance.“ BBC News. September 5, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

India sent tarps, blankets and hygiene kits. An Indian Air Force IL-76 aircraft delivered 25 tonnes of relief supplies for the Hurricane Katrina victims at the Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas on September 13, 2005.

Israel sent an IDF delegation to New Orleans to transport aid equipment including 80&nbsp;tons of food, disposable diapers, beds, blankets, generators and additional equipment which were donated from different governmental institutions, civilian institutions and the IDF.<ref>Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ”Israel Aids Hurricane Katrina Victims.“ MFA. September 5, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-12-17.</ref> The Bush Administration announced in mid-September that it did not need Israeli divers and physicians to come to the United States for search and rescue missions, but a small team landed in New Orleans on September 10 to give assistance to operations already under way. The team administered first aid to survivors, rescued abandoned pets and discovered hurricane victims.<ref>Jewish Virtual Library. ”Israel's Aid to Hurricane Katrina Victims.“ Jewish Virtual Library.</ref>

Countries like Sri Lanka, which was still recovering from the Indian Ocean Tsunami, also offered to help. Countries including Canada, Mexico, Singapore, and Germany sent supplies, relief personnel (like Technisches Hilfswerk), troops, ships and water pumps to aid in the disaster recovery. Belgium sent in a team of relief personnel. Britain's donation of 350,000 emergency meals did not reach victims because of laws regarding mad cow disease.<ref>Staff Writer. ”U.S. rejects British Katrina beef.“ BBC News. October 15, 2005.</ref> Russia's initial offer of two jets was declined by the U.S. State Department but accepted later. The French offer was also declined and requested later.<ref>Staff Writer. ”U.S. receives aid offers from around the world.“ CNN. September 4, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

In addition to receiving aid from around the world, there was criticism to go along with it, including accusations of racism. Quoted from the UK Mirror, “Many things about the United States are wonderful, but it has a vile underbelly which is usually kept well out of sight. Now in New Orleans it has been exposed to the world.”<ref>”KATRINA AND RACISM: The World View.“ September 19, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-08-28.</ref>

Non-governmental organization response

and being helped by the Red Cross and other agencies and associations.]] The American Red Cross, America's Second Harvest (now known as Feeding America), Southern Baptist Convention, Salvation Army, Oxfam, Common Ground Collective, Burners Without Borders,<ref name=“sfbg”>

</ref> Emergency Communities, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities, Service International, “A River of Hope”, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,<ref>



</ref> and many other charitable organizations provided help to the victims of the storm. They were not allowed into New Orleans proper by the National Guard for several days after the storm because of safety concerns. These organizations raised US$4.25&nbsp;billion in donations by the public, with the Red Cross receiving over half of the donations.<ref name = “Charity Navigator report”>

</ref> Some smaller organizations and individuals ignored the access restrictions and provided early relief. For example, two privately chartered planes from FasterCures evacuated 200 patents from Charity Hospital in New Orleans.<ref>


Volunteers from amateur radio's emergency service wing, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, provided communications in areas where the communications infrastructure had been damaged or totally destroyed, relaying everything from 911 traffic to messages home.<ref>

</ref> In Hancock County, Mississippi, ham radio operators provided the only communications into or out of the area, and even served as 911 dispatchers.<ref>Rick Palm. ”ARES E-Letter for September 22, 2005.“ The American Radio Relay League. September 22, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref>

Many corporations also contributed to relief efforts. On September 13, 2005, it was reported that corporate donations to the relief effort were $409&nbsp;million, and were expected to exceed $1&nbsp;billion.<ref>”Corporate Katrina gifts could top $1B.“ CNN. September 13, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

During and after the Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita, the American Red Cross had opened 1,470 different shelters across and registered 3.8&nbsp;million overnight stays. None were allowed in New Orleans however. A total of 244,000 Red Cross workers (95% of which were non-paid volunteers) were utilized throughout these three hurricanes. In addition, 346,980 comfort kits (such as toothpaste, soap, washcloths and toys for children) and 205,360 cleanup kits (containing brooms, mops and bleach) were distributed. For mass care, the organization served 68&nbsp;million snacks and meals to victims of the disasters and to rescue workers. The Red Cross also had its Disaster Health services meet 596,810 contacts, and Disaster Mental Health services met 826,590 contacts. Red Cross emergency financial assistance was provided to 1.4&nbsp;million families. Hurricane Katrina was the first natural disaster in the United States in which the American Red Cross utilized its “Safe and Well” family location website.<ref name=“ARC 1 yr”>

</ref><ref name = “ARC 2005AHS facts”>


In the year following Katrina's strike on the Gulf Coast, The Salvation Army allocated donations of more than $365&nbsp;million to serve more than 1.7&nbsp;million people in nearly every state. The organization's immediate response to Hurricane Katrina included more than 5.7&nbsp;million hot meals and about 8.3&nbsp;million sandwiches, snacks, and drinks served in and around New Orleans. Its SATERN network of amateur radio operators picked up where modern communications left off to help locate more than 25,000&nbsp;survivors. Salvation Army pastoral care counselors were on hand to comfort the emotional and spiritual needs of 277,000 individuals. As part of the overall effort, Salvation Army officers, employees, and volunteers contributed more than 900,000&nbsp;hours of service.<ref name=“Salvation Army”>


Analysis of New Orleans levee failures

WP-3D hurricane hunter aircraft before the storm made landfall on the United States Gulf Coast.]] A June 2007 report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers states that the failures of the locally built and federally funded levees in New Orleans were found to be primarily the result of system design flaws.<ref name=“ASCE HKERP report”/> The US Army Corps of Engineers who by federal mandate is responsible for the conception, design and construction of the region's flood-control system failed to pay sufficient attention to public safety.

According to modeling and field observations by a team from Louisiana State University, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), a 200-meter-wide (660-foot-wide) canal designed to provide a shortcut from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico, helped provide a funnel for the storm surge, making it 20% higher and 100%-200% faster as it crashed into the city. St. Bernard Parish, one of the more devastated areas, lies just south of the MRGO. The Corps of Engineers disputes this causality and maintains Katrina would have overwhelmed the levees with or without the contributing effect of the MRGO.<ref>Warrick, Joby; Grunwald, Michael. ”Investigators Link Levee Failures to Design Flaws.“ Washington Post. October 24, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref> The water flowing west from the storm surge was perpendicular to MRGO, and thus the canal had a negligible effect.

There was unfounded speculation made by residents concerning a possible planned levee breach. Many references are made to the 1927 flood in which a levee was breached south of New Orleans in order to divert floodwater to the Gulf of Mexico.<ref>

</ref> Recently,

the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy have developed a floodplain reconnection project in which the Ouachita River would be connected to its floodplain and the Gulf of Mexico.<ref>

</ref> A breach in the levee

caused the water level downstream to drop six inches (152&nbsp;mm) in a previous event in the early 1990s. Both cases show the many benefits of allowing the river to run its course.

On April 5, 2006, months after independent investigators had demonstrated that levee failures were not caused by natural forces beyond intended design strength, Lieutenant General Carl Strock, Chief of Engineers and Commander of the Corps of Engineers, testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Water that “We have now concluded we had problems with the design of the structure.”<ref>Staff Writers ”Problems with the design of levees.“ Unregistered News. September 29, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-04-14.</ref> He also testified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not know of this mechanism of failure prior to August 29, 2005. The claim of ignorance is refuted, however, by the National Science Foundation investigators hired by the Corps of Engineers, who point to a 1986 study by the Corps itself that such separations were possible in the I-wall design.<ref>


Many of the levees have been reconstructed since the time of Katrina. In reconstructing them, precautions were taken to bring the levees up to modern building code standards and to ensure their safety. For example, in every situation possible, the Corps of Engineers replaced I-walls with T-walls. T-walls have a horizontal concrete base that protects against soil erosion underneath the floodwalls.<ref name=Walls>


However, there are funding battles over the remaining levee improvements. In February 2008, the Bush administration requested that the state of Louisiana pay about $1.5&nbsp;billion of an estimated $7.2&nbsp;billion for Corps of Engineers levee work (in accordance with the principles of local cost sharing required by Congress as early as the Flood Control Act of 1928), a proposal which angered many Louisiana leaders.<ref name=funding>


On May 2, 2008, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal used a speech to The National Press Club to request that President Bush free up money to complete work on Louisiana's levees. Bush promised to include the levee funding in his 2009 budget, but rejected the idea of including the funding in a war bill, which would pass sooner.<ref name=BushJindal>


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.<ref>”Geraldo Rivera & Shepard Smith Unleashed

.“&nbsp;— Video. 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>

The storm also brought a dramatic rise in the role of Internet sites—especially blogging and community journalism. One example was the effort of, the web affiliate of New Orleans' Times-Picayune. A group of reporters from the paper including Doug MacCash, Manuel Torres, Trymaine Lee, and Mark Schleifstein were awarded the Breaking News Pulitzer Prize,<ref name=“Pulitzer BN”>

</ref> and the Times-Picayune shared the Public Service Pulitzer with the Biloxi-based Sun Herald.<ref name=“Pulitzer PS”>

</ref> The newspaper's coverage was carried for days only on NOLA's blogs, as the newspaper lost its presses and evacuated its building as water rose around it on August 30. The site became an international focal point for news by local media, and also became a vital link for rescue operations and later for reuniting scattered residents, as it accepted and posted thousands of individual pleas for rescue on its blogs and forums. NOLA was monitored constantly by an array of rescue teams—from individuals to the Coast Guard—which used information in rescue efforts. Much of this information was relayed from trapped victims via the SMS functions of their cell phones, to friends and relatives outside the area, who then relayed the information back to The aggregation of community journalism, user photos and the use of the internet site as a collaborative response to the storm attracted international attention, and was called a watershed moment in journalism.<ref name=“OJR NOLA”>

</ref> In the wake of these online-only efforts, the Pulitzer Committee for the first time opened all its categories to online entries.<ref name=“Pulitzer speech”>


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. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, radio station WWL-AM (New Orleans) was one of the few area radio stations in the area remaining on the air. The 870&nbsp;kHz frequency has a clear channel high power designation and the on-going nighttime broadcasts continued to be available up to

away. Announcers continued to broadcast from improvised studio facilities after the storm damaged their main studios.<ref>


During the period of several weeks when most area radio stations were off the air, WWL-AM's emergency coverage was simulcast on the frequencies of other area radio stations. This emergency service was named ”The United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans.“ To reach emergency radio operators in storm-ravaged areas, many of whom made their volunteer services available to the Red Cross and government entities, WWL-AM was simulcast on shortwave outlet WHRI, owned by World Harvest Radio International. 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.<ref name=“Media Ban”>Staff Writer. ”U.S. won't ban media from New Orleans searches.“ CNN. September 11, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.</ref>


Because of the large death toll and destruction of 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. The name will never again be used for another North Atlantic hurricane. It was replaced by Katia on List III of the Atlantic hurricane naming lists, which was used in the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.<ref>



in New Orleans, January 2006]] Reconstruction of each section of the southern portion of Louisiana has been addressed in the Army Corps LACPR (Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration) Final Technical Report, which identifies areas to not be rebuilt and areas where buildings need to be elevated.<ref name=“The LACPR Home Page”>


The Technical Report includes:

  • locations of possible new levees to be built
  • suggested existing levee modifications
  • “Inundation Zones”, “Water depths less than 14 feet, Raise-In-Place of Structures”, “Water depths greater than 14 feet, Buyout of Structures”, “Velocity Zones” and “Buyout of Structures” areas for five different scenarios.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted the report to the U.S. Congress for consideration, planning, and response in mid-2009.

Representation in other media

  • Hurricane Katrina has also been the subject of several documentary films, including Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke, and Darren Martinez's film, Hellp.<ref>Britt, M. “Las Vegas Teen Helps Hurricane Victims In New Orleans”, Las Vegas Daily Optic, December 19, 2005,</ref>
  • An episode of the Fox TV series House, first broadcast on May 16, 2006, featured a teenage victim of Hurricane Katrina in the medical storyline.
  • An episode of the BBC show Top Gear was praised for being one of the first to show the full scale of the destruction after the waters had receded.
  • David Eggars' non-fiction book, Zeitoun, featured an Arab-American family man caught in an anti-terrorist round-up as he was trying to help neighbors in the aftermath of the hurricane.
  • Paul Harris' non-fiction book, ”Diary From the Dome“ is a personal memoir of a tourist's account of his experience trapped in the Louisiana Superdome before and after Katrina and the flooding. 2008

See also



Further reading

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External links

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Disaster recovery:


Hurricane Katrina 2005 Atlantic hurricane season Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes Federal Emergency Management Agency critics George W. Bush administration controversies Retired Atlantic hurricanes Urban decay in the United States

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