The size of Hurricane Katrina (by wind strength) was 280 km/h (or 175 mph). The low pressure was at 902 mbar (hPa; 26.64 inHg). 1,836 were confirmed killed and 705 went missing. The damage was $89 billion, the worst in US history. The hurricane appeared over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005.
Places Hit by Hurricane Katrina
The most heavily hit area was New Orleans, where over 80% of the city was submerged in floodwaters. Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Cuba were also affected by the winds and rain. The storm went through southern Florida (Category 1).
By the time it got into New Orleans, it was a category 3 hurricane. The size of Hurricane Katrina and its power has made it the sixth most powerful Atlantic hurricane of all time. It is also one of the deadliest hurricanes to strike mainland America.
The official number of deaths in Louisiana is 1,577. In Mississippi, 238 were killed; 14 perished in Florida and 2 died in Alabama. 2 people were also killed in Georgia and Ohio. 1 was killed in Kentucky.
In terms of economic damage, Katrina cost $89.6 billion, the highest ever. In second place is Hurricane Andrew which cost $40.7 billion when it struck in 1992. Hurricane Ike (2008) is at number three at a cost of $24.0 billion. At number four is Hurricane Wilma (2005) which cost $22.7 billion. Charley (2004) cost $18.6 billion.
Damage to New Orleans
The size of Hurricane Katrina meant several states were affected, but New Orleans was the worst hit. There were a total of 53 levee breaches. Every levee in the city was penetrated, St. Bernard Parish in particular being heavily affected. The major breaches occurred in 17th Street Canal levee and the Industrial Canal.
The latter’s breaching caused the city to be submerged in floodwaters. The Huey P. Long Bridge collapsed and so did parts of the I-10 Twin Span Bridge. Hotels and buildings were heavily damaged. The Superdome which was providing shelter for people was also damaged.
Other Affected States
Mississippi was severely afflicted with 238 people dying as a result of the hurricane and flooding. The size of Hurricane Katrina resulted in all 82 counties being declared disaster areas.
Heavy rainfall (250 mm) was also recorded in several areas. Louisiana suffered from particularly heavy rains, with Slidell getting 380 mm of rain. All the parishes were flooded.
Storm surges as high as 16 ft were reported at St. Tammy Parish. At St. Bernard Parish, 80% of all homes were destroyed. In St. Tammy Parish, 70% of all residential homes were wrecked.
The same numbers and figures were reported for nearly all the other parishes. 16 ft storm surges were also reported in the Florida Panhandle and Alabama. Most of the eastern portions of the US also experienced heavy rains.
The size of Hurricane Katrina and its power resulted in a shakeup of the country’s emergency response program. Such was its impact the US government asked for the name to be removed from the World Meteorological Organization list.