It is hard to believe it has been ten years ago that Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. It remains the most costliest hurricane to this very day. The monsterous storm surge flooded Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. The same storm surge that caused flood walls and levees to fail in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish. The flooding caused New Orleans area to be uninhabitable for months.
So, how it all begin? Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) form over Central Africa. Than on August 8, 2005, the cluster of thunderstorms emerge over the Atlantic. It travels across the Atlantic Ocean. Than on August 11, 2005, the thunderstorms become better organized. It becomes Tropical Depression 10. Meanwhile, another tropical wave with the same origin as Tropical Depression 10 has emerged. It too started as a MCS over Central Africa. Both tropical waves are spawned by monsoons over Africa.
Tropical Depression 10 had to deal with strong wind shear from a tropospheric trough. The wind shear eventually killed Tropical Depression 10 by August 14. Had Tropical Depression 10 be named, it would have been Jose. The tropical wave that emerged on August 11 continues traveling towards the Bahamas.
Despite the wind shear, thunderstorms continue to persist in what was Tropical Depression 10. The remnant of Tropical Depression 10 dissipates on August 18. What remains of Tropical Depression 10 runs into a tropical wave that left Africa on August 11. The two systems with its origin in Africa begin to merge north of Puerto Rico on August 19. Tropical Depression 10 is being revived albeit without the lower level circulation. The two storms have merged and moving towards Bahamas. Than on August 23rd, the thunderstorms become better organized and becomes Tropical Depression 12.
Tropical Depression 12 becomes better organized and becomes Katrina. Katrina is rapidly intensifying. Had it had more time over the warm Atlantic, Katrina could have been a Category 3 hurricane. Katrina makes it first landfall on South Florida as a small Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds on August 25th at 7:25 PM. It had hurricane force winds extend up to 10 miles. It caught people off guard as Katrina traverses over South Florida with strong winds and heavy rain.
In South Florida, there is flooding and wind damage from Katrina. The highest wind on land from Katrina is 68 mph with gusts as high as 102 mph. Many areas see 10 to 15 inches of rain from Katrina. Katrina exits South Florida into the warm Gulf of Mexico was a tropical storm. The weakness is short lived as it becomes a hurricane again. 14 people lost their life from Katrina as it did $623 million in damages.
Hurricane Katrina is over the warm Gulf of Mexico intensifying and getting larger. The once midget hurricane is getting larger thanks to large area of humid airs and warm Gulf of Mexico. Than Katrina becomes a major hurricane with 115 mph on August 27. Katrina undergoes explosive intensification on the night of August 27 to 28. Waves are building up on the Gulf Coast as Katrina is making its presence felt.
By the morning of August 28, Katrina is a monsterous Category 5 hurricane with 175 mph winds. It has a central pressure of 902 millibars, making it the fourth strongest Atlantic hurricane at the time. It is a very large hurricane and has its sights on the Gulf Coast. Forecast models have it going near New Orleans.
New Orleans is below sea level and vulnerable to high storm surge. People have to evacuate the city to avoid the dangerous storm surge. NWS WFO in Slidell issued this dire weather bulletin as Katrina underwent explosive intensification.
WWUS74 KLIX 281550
URGENT — WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28, 2005
…DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED…
HURRICANE KATRINA…A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED
STRENGTH… RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS…PERHAPS LONGER. AT
LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL
FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL…LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY
DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL.
PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD
FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE
BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE…INCLUDING SOME
WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY…A
FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD…AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH
AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES
AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE
ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS…PETS…AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE
WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN
AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING
INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY
THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING…BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW
CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE
AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR
HURRICANE FORCE…OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE…ARE
CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.
ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET…DO NOT VENTURE
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for people in coastal areas including New Orleans. Some people who cannot evacuate end up at a refuge of last resort, the Superdome. About 14,000 people have taken up shelter at the Superdome. Something that would prove disasterous later on.
Katrina is barreling towards the Gulf Coast as a Category 5 hurricane. It weakens due to eyewall replacement cycle and dry air from America as it is now a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds. The outer bands of Katrina are affected Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The outer bands produce squally weather. Each feeder bands get more intense as Katrina gets closer. The Mississippi Delta is experiencing hurricane force winds with heavy rain and storm surge. Conditions are deteriorating throughout the Gulf Coast as Katrina is moving northwards.
Storm surge and waves are getting higher in Louisiana and Mississippi as the weather gets worse. People are hunkered down in hopes they survive. The winds get stronger and rain heavier as Katrina is getting closer and closer by the minute.
Than at 6:10 AM, Katrina makes it first landfall on Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds. On land, due to friction, the highest land wind is 106 mph with gust as high as 160 mph. It has a central pressure of 920 millibars, making it the third strongest hurricane to make landfall on America. Only 1935 Labor Day Hurricane and Camille are stronger. Interestingly, Camille made landfall in the same area as Katrina is about to on August 18, 1969. It could be said that Katrina is the cousin of Camille.
Storm surge is getting higher and higher in Louisiana as Katrina moves northward. It goes east of New Orleans a couple hours after it made its first landfall. New Orleans is on the west side of Katrina, which is the so called “clean” side of the storm. Regardless, storm surge is getting higher around New Orleans including Lake Ponchartrain to the north. As Katrina is heading towards Mississippi, the flood walls and levees begin to fail, allowing water to flood New Orleans and surrounding areas.
In St. Bernard Parish, flood waters are reaching up to roof level. The storm surge is from Mississippi River–Gulf Outlet Canal (MRGO) and Industrial Canal. It is the same storm surge that is heading towards Mississippi. The breached levees and flood walls flooding St. Bernard Parish is also flooding New Orleans.
Katrina makes it second landfall on the Gulf Coast at 9:45 AM. Katrina is still a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. The highest wind is 102 mph with gusts as high as 153 mph. Katrina’s central pressure rises to 927 millibars, a still very intense hurricane by all measures. It is over Coastal Mississippi, as it takes the full brunt from Katrina. Massive storm surge hammers the coast. Storm surge rises rapidly in Mississippi as anyone at the coast has very little time to escape. Storm surge as high as 35 feet flood the coast. Anyone who did not evacuate are in deep trouble. They could drown and be swept away by the deadly storm surge.
The strong winds and heavy rain are destroying buildings in Mississippi and Louisiana. Most of New Orleans is starting as water comes out of the drains as Katrina is going inland over Mississippi. Flood waters are rapidly rising in New Orleans and surrounding areas. By the evening of of August 29, Katrina is far inland over Mississippi as a Category 1 hurricane. Flood waters are continuing to rise in New Orleans and St Bernard Parish. This is on top of the heavy rain Katrina dumped on the Gulf Coast. Many areas see 8 to 12 inches of rain with amounts as high as 16 inches.
Storm surge has subsided in Mississippi as it reveals the catastrophic damage unleashed by Katrina. It looks like if a powerful nuclear bomb exploded over Mississippi. Meanwhile in Louisiana, the scene is similar in Slidell and Buras, leveled buildings from storm surge. New Orleans and St Bernard Parish are underwater as they lie below sea level from breached levees and flood walls meant to protect the area from storm surge. They failed and allowed the area to be inundated with flood water.
New Orleans became a ghost town as most of the city is rendered uninhabitable from the contaminated flood waters. The Superdome and New Orleans Morial Convention Center become scenes of refugees who lost everything from Katrina. The situation at the Superdome is getting worse and worse as more people come and supplies are almost non-existent. A scene only seen in Third World nations, happening in America. It becomes crowded with people who have nowhere to go.
There are many stranded people on roofs who are being rescued by helicopter or boat. Since, order has been lost, looting and crime become a serious problem in New Orleans. People have to be evacuated from the city to other cities throughout the South and America. Many are evacuated to Houston and many are in the Astrodome. Some go to Baton Rouge, Dallas, and Atlanta.
Katrina is the deadliest hurricane to strike America since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. It claimed over 4,000 lives in Florida and Puerto Rico. The deadliest American hurricane is the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The hurricane claimed 12,000 lives, mostly from storm surge. It remains America’s deadliest disaster to this very day.
Katrina is second disaster to kill over a thousand in America in the same decade of 2000s. The first disaster that claimed over a thousands lives in the 2000s is the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks that claimed 3,000 lives in 2001. Four hijacked airplanes crash into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A fourth hijacking, United Airlines Flight 93 is thwarted. The attack left the World Trade Center a toxic mess and Pentagon burning. The last time that happened in history is the 1900s, the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. They are in fact the deadliest disasters to strike America.
Top 10 Deadliest Disasters In America
1.) 1900 Galveston Hurricane September 8, 1900 12,000
2.) 1906 San Francisco Earthquake April 18, 1906 6,000
3.) 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane September 13 and 16, 1928 +4,078
4.) 9/11 Terrorist Attacks September 11, 2001 3,000
5.) Pearl Harbor Attack December 7, 1941 2,466
6.) Johnstown Flood May 31, 1889 2,209
7.) 1893 Cheniere Caminada Hurricane October 2, 1893 2,000
8.) Hurricane Katrina August 29, 2005 1,833
9.) SS Sultana April 27, 1865 1,700
10.) Peshtigo Fire October 8, 1871 +1,200