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Katrina made landfall near the mouth of the River in southern Plaquemines Parish.   Veering slightly east, the eye traversed the St. Bernard wetlands and Lake Borgne. Following a short trip across the Mississippi Sound, its destructive force blasted into the Mississippi Gulf Coast and crushed communities from Pearl River to Pascagoula. Storm surge of over 25 feet inundated buildings within a half mile of the coast.

You are looking at a Category 5 storm in this image just before it entered cooler waters and came ashore as a high end Category 3. The eye is sixty miles wide and hurricane force winds extend 250 miles from the center. The storm reaches from Houston to St. Augustine a distance of 900 miles.

Katrina continued inland, passing directly over Hattiesburg. Threading its way north between Jackson and Meridian, it caused power outages as a Category 1 storm 400 miles inland at Memphis.

Wind damage in New Orleans was substantial. Sustained winds across most of the city were 80-90 miles per hour with gusts to 120 mph.

On December 21st The National Hurricane Center concluded that Katrina came ashore as a Category 3 storm with 127 mph winds near Buras and 121 mph near the mouth of the Pearl River. Along the southern Lake Pontchartrain shoreline the storm barely exceeded Category 1 strength although the surge was typical of a Category 2. However to the east it was more typical of a Category 4.

Unfortunately enough of this surge funneled into New Orleans to breach some poorly maintained levees in the east and some ill conceived drainage canal levees along the lake shore. Water poured through these breaches for three days drowning half of the city and turning a mere natural disaster into the greatest civil engineering catastrophe in American history.

One thousand eight hundred thirty three (1,833 became the official toll including 256 outside Louisiana) people died as a direct result of this storm, hundreds more have died since from stress and related disorders. Evacuation of 1.1 million people before the storm prevented a much larger death toll. Although the official damage estimate from Katrina is $81 billion, property damage, business losses, infrastructure damage and flat out destruction of an American city will cost more like $300 billion to fix. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that losses of physical capital totaled between $70 and $130 billion. In Louisiana, 45% of these losses involved business structures or equipment, including resources owned by national concerns. This $300 billion loss dwarfs the damage from other hurricanes. (Hurricane Andrew in 1992 cost $52 billion 2005 dollars)

  • Highly anticipated : Years of studies, newspaper series, and near misses hearalded Katrina as one of the most likely disasters :: Continue reading...
  • The Storm : The chronology of the storm coupled with the decisions and dispositions :: Continue reading...
  • The Flood : Dozens of levee failures occurred at five major sites around :: Continue reading...
  • The Rescue : At first it seemed that the city might have avoided the worst but as :: Continue reading...
  • The Recovery : Once in the city, the Corps patched the levees and pumped the water out. Thousands of utility workers converged on the city clearing the streets, restoring power, water, and phone services. Firms with FEMA no bid contracts brought in thousands of Latino's with chainsaws. :: Continue reading...
  • Miscellaneous : Explore the stories of Hurricane Katrina and a few recurring themes emerge :: Continue reading...
  • More Resources : A few more goodies :: Continue reading...

  • Infrastructure Neighborhoods

    Created : 10/26/2005 8:46:26 AM Updated: 8/23/2013 4:31:44 PM

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