Case Study: Hurricane Katrina (Background Information (Air pressure had…
Case Study: Hurricane Katrina
Some coastal conservation areas were destroyed e.g. around half of Breton National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana was washed away.
Flooding damaged oil refineries in Louisiana, causing massive oil spills.
Coastal habitats such as sea turtle breeding beaches were damaged.
Permanent flooding of salt marshes in Louisiana caused loss of habitat.
Air pressure had dropped to as low as
Hurricane Katrina began as a very low-pressure weather system, which strengthened to become a tropical storm and eventually a hurricane as it moved west and neared the Florida on the evening of
25th August 2005
Maximum sustained winds were then
, with gusts of
It made its first landfall at
local time between Hallandale Beach and Aventura.
A NASA map for the time showed that over the whole of the Caribbean, sea surface water temperature was at least
, ideal for hurricanes to gather strength.
Katrina moved through levels 1-5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as it curved across the Gulf of Mexico towards the Louisiana coastline around New Orleans.
30 oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were damaged or destroyed and 9 oil refineries had to close, disrupting the oil industry.
5300km2 of forest was destroyed in Mississipi, severely affecting the logging industry (the loss of income was estimated to be about $5billion.
The total cost of damage is estimated at around $300 billion.
Many ports were damaged, e.g. Gulfport in Mississippi. This disrupted the shipping industry.
230,000 jobs were lost from businesses that were damaged or destroyed.
Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless.
3 million people were left without electricity.
300,000 houses were destroyed.
One of the main routes out of New Orleans was closed because parts of the 1-10 bridge collapsed.
1836 people were killed.
Water supplies were polluted with sewage, chemicals and dead bodies. 5 people died from bacterial infections caught from the contaminated water.
Law enforcement and public safety agencies responded with manpower and equipment from as far away as California, New York, and Texas. This response was welcomed by local Louisiana authorities as their staff were either becoming fatigued, stretched too thin, or even quitting from the job.
The US Coast Guard positioned helicopters and boats around the area likely to be affected.
FEMA organised teams and supplies e.g. mortuary teams with refrigerated trucks to deal with bodies.
On the morning of August 28th, the mayor of New Orleans ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city. It is estimated that around 80% of New Orleans residents were evacuated before the hurricane reached land. This reduced the number of people killed because lots of people had left the areas where the hurricane hit.
Emergency shelters were set up e.g. the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans sheltered 26,000 people during the hurricane.
The government provided $50 billion in aid.
Early in September, Congress authorised a total of $62.3 billion in aid for victims.
Charities collected $4 billion of donations from the public to provide aid to the victims to Katrina e.g. the Salvation Army provided 5.7 million hot meals to people in and around New Orleans in the days after the storm.
The coastguard, police, fire service and army rescued over 50,000 people after the hurricane hit.
58,000 National Guard troops were deployed from all over the US and were responsible for rescuing 17,000 people and evacuating 70,000.
FEMA sent search and rescue teams, medical teams, water, ice and ready meals.