Sunday marks the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in southeast Louisiana. Chief Meteorologist Jeff Cox looks back at the unforgettable storm.
This week marks the 5 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the costliest hurricane in U.S. history with damage costs topping an estimated 81 billion dollars. Impacts from Katrina led to at least 1800 deaths. It ranks as the sixth strongest storm in U.S. history.
Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23rd, 2005 before crossing Florida as a category one hurricane on August 25th, causing some deaths and flooding. After making the Florida landfall, Katrina quickly strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico, going from a category three storm to a category five storm in just nine hours. Katrina made a second landfall on Monday, August 29th, in southeast Louisiana. Maximum sustained winds topped out at 175 mph. Following the second landfall in New Orleans, Katrina quickly weakened after moving inland before fading into a rainmaker for the eastern half of the United States.
A major storm surge left behind devastation in New Orleans thanks to 53 different levee breaches, submerging 80% of the city under water. Parts of Louisiana received an average of 8 to 10 inches of rain with some isolated amounts up to 15 inches. The Gulf Coast of Mississippi suffered major damage at the hands of Katrina. 8 to 10 inches of rain fell along the Mississippi coast.
The southeast U.S. also felt impacts from Katrina, including north and central Georgia. At least 18 tornadoes formed in Georgia on August 29th, including one in the town of Helen, GA, that badly damaged an area hotel.
In response to the devastation, central Georgia played a huge role in the recovery efforts, including opening shelters for those escaping the Gulf Coast. Area schools organized donation drives and sent much needed items to the hardest hit areas. Mid-Georgia ambulance sent crews to aid in the recovery and cleanup efforts as well.
The World Meteorological Organization officially retired the name "Katrina" on April 6, 2006 at the request of the U.S. Government.