Katrina: 13 Year Retrospect

By  | August 23, 2018 | Filed under: News

Everyone in this Generation will remember Hurricane Katrina.  The images of the devastation to the Gulf Coast, especially New Orleans will always be ingrained in our minds.  People lost their homes, family members, friends during this Hurricane.   It is believed that this Hurricane will change the way that the people of the United States look at and prepare for a Hurricane.

Hurricane Katrina was a destructive and deadly Category 5 Hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast of the United States in August of 2005.  The faulty engineering to parts of the levees around the City of New Orleans was a major cause of the flooding to the City and loss of property and lives.  Hurricane Katrina was the third major Hurricane of a record breaking Hurricane Season in 2005.

The Storm originated over the Bahama on August 23rd, 2005.  It was classified as a Hurricane only two hours before it made landfall onto Florida soil on August 25, 2005.  It weakened to a Tropical Storm before returning to Hurricane Status as it went into the Gulf of Mexico.  Ove the warm waters of the Gulf, it reached Category 5 Hurricane Status.  However, it did reduce to a Category 3 Status Hurricane before making landfall again at Mississippi and Louisiana.  The right front quadrant of the Hurricane where the strongest winds were devastated Gulfport, Mississippi, when it made landfall. 

Over 1,245 people died as a result of Hurricane Katrina, thus making it the deadliest Hurricane since 1928.  Property damage was widespread especially in the coastal areas.  It has been estimated that over $125 Billon Dollars of property damage occurred.

  It has been stated that over 50 breaches to the levees system surrounding New Orleans was the major cause of death and destruction in the City.  It has been recorded that 80 % of New Orleans as well as some of the surrounding Parishes were flooded.  The people in these areas that had not evacuated were stranded, some without water or food.  A huge rescue operation was launched consisting of the Military, Law Enforcement, Medical and Private Contractors.

A U.S. Coast Guard Member searches for survivors

  Katrina turned North, traveling into Alabama and up through Tennessee before weakening and disappearing.  However, the damage had been done.  On August 29, 2005, President of the United States George W. Bush declared parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as disaster areas.  He also asked for mandatory or voluntary evacuation of New Orleans.  The New Orleans Super Dome was used as a staging point for rescue operations.  However, it received damage also during the Hurricane.

Courtesy of NOAA

Summary of tropical cyclone warnings and watches associated with Hurricane Katrina hide
Date Time Warning type Areas
August 23 23:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning Central and northwest Bahamas
August 24 03:00 UTC Tropical Storm Watch Seven Mile Bridge to Vero Beach, Florida
15:00 UTC Tropical Storm Watch Seven Mile Bridge to Florida City, Florida
Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch Florida City to Vero Beach, Florida
21:00 UTC Tropical Storm Watch Vero Beach to Titusville, Florida
Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch Lake Okeechobee
August 25 03:00 UTC Hurricane Warning Florida City to Vero Beach, Florida, and Lake Okeechobee
09:00 UTC Tropical Storm Watch Florida City to Englewood, Florida, including Florida Bay
15:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning Grand Bahama, Bimini, and the Berry Islands, Bahamas
21:00 UTC Hurricane Warning Florida City to Jupiter Inlet, Florida
Tropical Storm Warning Jupiter Inlet to Florida Keys and Florida City to Longboat Key, Florida
Tropical Storm Watch Longboat Key to Anclote Key, Florida
23:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning discontinued Grand Bahama, Bimini, and the Berry Islands, Bahamas
August 26 03:00 UTC Tropical Storm Watch discontinued Vero Beach to Titusville, Florida
Tropical Storm Warning discontinued Jupiter Inlet to Vero Beach, Florida
05:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning Deerfield Beach to Florida City, Florida
Hurricane Warning discontinued Deerfield Beach to Jupiter, Florida, and Lake Okeechobee
Tropical Storm Warning Florida Keys including Florida Bay and Florida City to Longboat Key, Florida
15:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning Florida City to Longboat Key and all the Florida Keys and Florida Bay
21:00 UTC Tropical Storm Watch discontinued All
Tropical Storm Warning discontinued Florida City to Longboat Key, Florida
August 27 09:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning Dry Tortugas to Longboat Key, Florida
15:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning Dry Tortugas to Key West, Florida
Hurricane Watch Morgan City to Pearl River, Louisiana
21:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warnings discontinued All
Hurricane Watch Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Florida-Alabama border
August 28 03:00 UTC Hurricane Warning Morgan City, Louisiana, to Florida-Alabama border, including Lake Pontchartrain
Tropical Storm Warning Florida-Alabama border to Destin, Florida
Tropical Storm Warning Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana
Hurricane Watch Florida-Alabama border to Destin, Florida
09:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning Destin to Indian Pass, Florida, and Intracoastal City to Cameron, Louisiana
August 29 15:00 UTC Hurricane Watches discontinued All
21:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning Pearl River, Louisiana, to Florida-Alabama border
Tropical Storm and Hurricane Warning discontinued Cameron to Pearl River, Louisiana, and Florida-Alabama border to Destin, Florida
August 30 03:00 UTC Tropical Storm Warning discontinued All

 

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

As stated, the loss or breaches of the levees around New Orleans was the major cause of flooding to the City.  It has been reported that the failure of the levees were due to not being properly constructed by the United States Corps of Engineers decades earlier.  The City of New Orleans was underwater for weeks.  Rescue crews used boats to effect rescue operations.  These boats were driven down city streets that were underwater.  People that had not evacuated werespray painting “Help” messages on their houses to alert the rescuers.

Total Rainfall from Katrina

As people flooded into the Super Dome for safety and help, one of the major problems beside the flooding and damage was looting.  I have spoken to Police Officers that went to New Orleans that said that they were fired upon by looters as they entered the neighborhoods to try and rescue people.

 

From the CNN Website:

(CNN)Here’s a look at some Hurricane Katrina statistics.

August 29, 2005 – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall as a Category 3 storm with 127 mph winds between Grand Isle, Louisiana, and the mouth of the Mississippi River at about 6 a.m.
– Severe flooding damage to Gulfport, Mississippi, New Orleans, Louisiana, and areas in between.
– Some levees are overtopped in New Orleans, and there is extensive damage to the Superdome roof, where more than 10,000 people sought shelter from the storm.

According to FEMA, Katrina is, “the single most catastrophic natural disaster in US history.”

According to FEMA, the total damage for Katrina is estimated at $108 billion. This makes it the “costliest hurricane in US history.”

Fatalities: (directly or indirectly)
– Alabama: 2
– Florida: 14
– Georgia: 2
– Louisiana: 1,577
– Mississippi: 238
– Total: 1,833

Source: FEMA

Private Insurance Payments: 
Insurance companies have paid an estimated $41.1 billion on 1.7 million different claims for damage to vehicles, homes, and businesses in six states. 63% of the losses occurred in Louisiana and 34% occurred in Mississippi.

Hurricane Katrina is the costliest disaster in the history of the global insurance industry.

By 2007, 99% of the 1.2 million personal property claims had been settled by insurers.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, 2010

National Flood Insurance Payments: 
The National Flood Insurance Program paid out $16.3 billion in claims. $13 billion went to claims in Louisiana.

June 2006 – The Government Accountability Office releases a report that concludes at least $1 billion in disaster relief payments made by FEMA were improper and potentially fraudulent.

Impact on the Gulf Coast: 
More than one million people in the Gulf region were displaced by the storm. At their peak hurricane relief shelters housed 273,000 people. Later, approximately 114,000 households were housed in FEMA trailers.

FEMA has provided more than $15 billion to the four Gulf states for public works projects such as the repair and rebuilding of roads, schools, and buildings, in the 10 years since the storm, and $6.7 billion in recovery aid to more than one million people and households.

The majority of all federal aid, approximately $75 billion of $120.5 billion, went to emergency relief operations.

40% of the deaths in Louisiana were caused by drowning. 25% were caused by injury and trauma and 11% were caused by heart conditions.

Nearly half the fatalities in Louisiana were people over the age of 74.

Sources: The Data Center, FEMA

Impact on New Orleans:
80% of the city flooded after levees failed.

The population of New Orleans fell from 484,674 in April 2000 to 230,172 in July 2006, a decrease of over 50%. By 2015, the estimated population had increased to almost 390,000, according to the US Census Bureau.

70% of New Orleans’ occupied housing, 134,000 units, was damaged in the storm.

Sources: The Data Center, US Census Bureau

I was a Police Sergeant at the University of North Alabama Police Department when Katrina reached this area.  I remember the winds were severe.  We received large amounts of rain.  There was a lot of damage around the Campus mostly caused by falling limbs or trees.  Luckily no one hurt in our area.

As the 13th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, we must remember that this Great Nation came together to help those in need.  So many lost property while others lost their lives.  Hopefully this Great Country will never have to experience another Hurricane like Katrina.   But if we do, we will be there ready to help.

    Bobby Inman is retired from Law Enforcement after 21 years of Service.  He is a Consultant for Southern Heritage Gun & Pawn in Tuscumbia.   He has articles published in Law & Order Magazine, Police Marksman Magazine, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement Magazine as well as several published ebooks on Amazon, Kobo Writing, as well as Nook (Barnes & Noble).  He is owner of Poopiedog, an Animal Rescue Dachshund, who is his constant companion.   He is a Senior Investigative Reporter for the Quad Cities Daily.  Bobby is the Photographer for Continental Championship Wrestling. 

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