Katrina originated over the Bahamas on August 23rd and quickly intensified from a tropical depression into a tropical storm. It made landfall in the east coast of Florida by August 25th and tore a gash into the state, moving quickily into the Gulf of Mexico by August 26th and towards its fate in New Orleans. Over the next two days, what had been a category 3 hurricane intensified to a category 5 hurricane over the Gulf. Although it seems ironic to say it, thankfully, Hurricane Katrina weakened back to a category 3 hurricane before it made landfall -- striking the city of New Orleans with the full force of its power on at 7:10am on August 29th, 2005.
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 coat 50 hours before the start of a tropical storm and then moving inland in 10 hour increments. When Katrina started making its way across Florida, nothing happened in New Orleans. Many people criticize the local authorities because the private care facilities relied on private companies to move people -- as did many other areas in the city. And because the evacuation wasn't signaled on this schedule, it was too late by the time heavy winds and rain hit the city. As early as August 26th, the city was considering the potential for a major event to hit the city -- but they waited. It was not until 10AM on August 28th, less than 24 hours before Katrina would hit the city with its full force, did New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin order an evacuation of the city's almost 500,000 people. When you consider the surrounding area of New Orleans, that number of people to be
|Superdome Refuge Center|
By 7:40am the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans had every window blown out. The major issue in New Orleans stemmed from the fact that the city actually sits below sea level. The federal government had constructed a series of levees that were built to protect the city from storms just like Katrina. These were built to move water quickly around the city to locations in the surrounding wetlands to absorb water, and reduce the impact of flooding. However, because of the decimation of the wetlands surrounding New Orleans by the federal government, and the rerouting of the levee system -- the system was woefully inadequate for a storm of this magnitude. Katrina's storm surge cause 53 levees to breach in the system surrounding New Orleans. And ultimately, the 40 Arpent Canal
|40 Arpent Canal in 2010|
Deaths began to be reported before landfall, just after midnight on August 28th. Nursing home patients died during transit in an attempted evacuation to Baton Rouge, most likely from dehydration. While hundred thousands of others struggled to find safe haven or evacuate, there were large reports of death at the Superdome. However, officially only six people died at the Superdome -- one of which was confirmed as a drug overdose and another a suicide. Four other deaths were reported at the Convention Center -- one of which was a homicide. Among those who are not counted were prisoners in the prison. There is compelling evidence that prisoners were simply abandoned in their cells as guards ran for safety. Almost one thousand prisoners are listed as "unaccounted for" -- but not listed as dead. None of what I've detailed speaks to those who never got out of their homes. Those who were left to die by the local governments because of their bad decisions, and poor planning. It is estimated that up to 40% of dog owners refused to leave their canine companions behind when the city said that their pets could not
|I don't think I need to caption this...|
The failure of the New Orleans levee system resulted in over 80% of the land area in the New Orleans Metropolitan area being under water. Hurricane Katrina left 1,245 people officially dead (not accounting for many others who likely died and were unknown), making it the deadliest hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane. Katrina left an estimated $108 billion dollars in damage, roughly four times that of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It is considered the worst civil engineering disaster in American history and prompted a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who designed, built and maintained the system. The storm that formed on August 23rd, 2005 and ultimately dissipated on August 31st -- lasted 8 days in real time, but impacted the lives of millions forever.
|The Devastation of Katrina...|
|A look at the flooding...|
Bruce holds a degree in Computer Science from Temple University, a Graduate Certificate in Biblical History from Liberty University and is working towards a Masters Degree in American History at American Public University. He has worked in educational and technology for over 18 years, specializes in building infrastructures for schools that work to support the mission of technology in education in the classroom. He also has served as a classroom teacher in Computer Science, History and English classes.
Bruce is the author of five books: Sands of Time, Towering Pines Volume One:Room 509, The Star of Christmas, Philadelphia Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel and The Insider's Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel -- with a new book, Learn the Basics: Digital Forensics, due soon.
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